By Geoff Mair
My last blog post called, “The Consequences of HP killing its TouchPad”, caused more of an uproar than I expected. It seems that there is a passionate community of webOS users ready to come to the mobile operating system’s defense because of the usability and utility of the device. Readers took issue with my opinion that webOS ultimately failed as a business device with many defending that webOS had “the best e-mail, calendar and contact data integration of any mobile phone around.”
Despite the outcry from impassioned webOS users, I stand by what I said. I maintain my view that if webOS truly had the winning combination of business usability, functionality, and mobile apps, it should have been at least successful enough for them not to kill it.
I believe HP killed webOS because it was not as successful in the market as the company needed it to be. There wasn’t enough market traction with webOS products for HP to see a way to catch up to the massive growth of Android and iOS devices (let’s forget the TouchPad as it never really even got off the ground). Given HP’s tremendous market reach and its marketing prowess, if webOS were truly the best device for business users, the vendor wouldn’t have correctly predicted its demise and therefore made the difficult decision to drop the product line.
While I completely respect people’s opinions that webOS is great to use, clearly it wasn’t universally applicable and useable enough for businesses to be successful in the B2B market. I think that it would be difficult for anyone to deny this and I believe that other companies who may be looking to pick up the webOS technology are probably heavily considering this in their decision making process. webOS simply wasn’t a winning product when it was Palm’s platform and HP wasn’t able to do much better with it.
It will be interesting to see what happens to webOS now that HP has shelved it. In a recent Gartner webinar about the future of the tablet market, Carolina Milanesi, research vice president with Gartner, said that lack of clarity on HP’s part on what it will do with webOS muddies an already murky picture.
Meanwhile, there are rumors that Samsung will take over webOS or perhaps another vendor will acquire the intellectual property and take it to market once more.
If a company does decide to take the webOS reins, I imagine they won’t be successful with it.
What do you anticipate the future of webOS will be?