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HP GUI Handhelds Portables Linux Technology

HP Confirms Slate To Run WebOS 178

Posted by timothy
from the avoiding-cognitive-dissonance dept.
Kilrah_il writes "After HP bought Palm a few weeks ago, many rumors emerged regarding the new parent company's plans to further expand the scope of devices running WebOS. Now it appears that at least one of the rumors is true: The Slate will be running WebOS. 'Today an HP exec has confirmed that the company is developing a WebOS tablet which should be available by October.'"
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HP Confirms Slate To Run WebOS

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  • by uprise78 (1256084) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @02:40PM (#32315840)
    Tablets have been running full OS versions for years and they failed. Two thumbs up for HP figuring this out and moving forward with a proper touch based OS on their tablet.
  • Re:Meh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @02:47PM (#32315888) Journal
    If people were so serious about buying Windows based slates, the sales of "Tablet PCs" wouldn't have been sucking for the last decade.

    Also, "WebOS" implies that its UI layer is based on web technologies, not that it is browser-only. Support for local applications is pretty much exactly the same as Android. And, with native plugins, support for native code might even be said to be slightly better; but certainly no worse.
  • Re:Android please (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kilrah_il (1692978) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @02:52PM (#32315920)

    Did you ever see the WebOS? If you want aesthetically-pleasing, you don't want Android, you want WebOS. I know you were talking about the tablet itself, but if you have a beautiful tablet, you want it running the most aesthetic mobile OS possible, and right now it is the WebOS, IMHO. The fact that it not a success (yet) in smartphones is more a testament to Palm's horrible marketing skills than to WebOS's faults. Hope HP does better.

  • by s73v3r (963317) <s73v3r@noSPAM.gmail.com> on Sunday May 23, 2010 @02:57PM (#32315954)
    Probably going to be more successful than one running Windows.
  • by davester666 (731373) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @02:59PM (#32315972) Journal

    Which OS in particularly do you want them to use?

    I believe you can already get Linux and Windows 7-based tablets, and they haven't exactly been flying off the shelves.

    Are you saying you are in the market for a tablet, but you are just waiting for one with the right OS? Or are you waiting for Linux or Windows to be updated with a better touch interface? Or apps to be created/updated for these OS's to be better touch enabled?

    And are there enough copies of you that will buy this device to make it worthwhile?

    On another note, what specific problems do you have with PalmOS?

  • by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:02PM (#32316002)
    History and reality beg to differ. If anything, history has shown us that a "full" laptop or desktop OS is NOT what people want on a tablet. The UI for a tablet needs to be different than a desktop. Simply sticking windows or OS X onto a slate and substituting your finger or a stylus for a mouse and displaying an on screen keyboard is not, according to historic sales of tablets, and current sales of the iPad, what people want. I had a Windows tablet and the only thing it better at was browsing the web. For everything else it was worse and I ended up using my Thinkpad and lugging two machines home at the end of the day. I gave the Tablet back to IS after 3 weeks...
  • by Locutus (9039) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:24PM (#32316148)
    they said it would run on HP tablets but did not say it would be on the HP Slate they showed earlier this year. But the silence regarding that product means something too. They are probably having problems getting Windows 7 to run well enough on it to be competitive or you know they'd be taking the marketing $$ from Microsoft to be spreading the love for Windows 7.

    What is also interesting is how they are staying off of netbooks with WebOS. As you all know, Microsoft now owns and controls the netbook segment and they are doing a good job at killing it off. More specifically, they dictate what screen size a "netbook" has, what the maxium processor size can be and other specifics which pin the device down. And because Microsoft controls OEMs regarding netbooks, HP and others are not going to go up against Microsoft now that MS has stuck their flag into that segment. Only Google and a few independents have the balls to oppose MS there. Remember, the Thai manufacturing association said they fear Microsoft so they are staying away from putting Linux on anything which looks like a PC/notebook.

    HP has to dance lightly around what they do with WebOS for fear of upsetting Microsoft so don't expect too much from them. IMO

    LoB
  • by alvinrod (889928) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:35PM (#32316220)

    So why would anyone choose to develop for it?

    If HP sells a few million of these devices in the first year of sales (Which really isn't a terribly large prediction considering that the iPad has probably sold close to two million units already.) that's several million people who might be interested in paying for apps. Since developers are people and people need to eat, sometimes it's better to go where the money is rather than basing development off of reasons such as openness of the platform or ease of development. If Android and iPhone marketplaces get crowded, WebOS might be an attractive platform for new developers who don't want to compete against several established developers.

  • by davester666 (731373) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:39PM (#32316262) Journal

    1) So, basically you're waiting for somebody to come out with 'something' better, but you have no idea what features and/or capabilities it may have [other than it's not the iPad and doesn't use PalmOS].

    2) Given (1), you can't really say there are enough copies of you to make it worthwhile, unless you happen to be personally wealthy enough to create this magical device yourself. And fund the development of the OS. And fund the development of the apps you want.

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:44PM (#32316316)

    What is it you'd like to see in a tablet OS? iPhone OS is a pretty full featured version of OS X underneath and Android is a pretty full featured version of Linux underneath. Do you want more GUI elements? A task manager?

  • by s73v3r (963317) <s73v3r@noSPAM.gmail.com> on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:45PM (#32316330)
    The entire argument for running Windows 7 (a "real OS", for whatever that means) on a slate tablet is that you can run all your existing Windows programs, like Photoshop, on it. This guy has a tablet device, and is running Photoshop, and says it doesn't really work, due to lack of keyboard. Take away the stylus, and it'd get even worse, because Photoshop is in no way optimized for finger input. That's why I never get everyone being all excited about running existing Windows apps on a touchscreen slate. Almost none of those apps have any kind of support for touch, and have UIs optimized for keyboard/mouse input. There's an app running where I work on a touchscreen display. Its painfully obvious there was no thought of touchscreens when it was designed. Its so bad that someone hooked a mouse into the computer running it, so there could be some kind of control.
  • by s73v3r (963317) <s73v3r@noSPAM.gmail.com> on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:49PM (#32316352)
    The problem with that touchscreen UI layer that HP adds on is that, as soon as you go away from the few specialty apps they came up with for use with that layer, you see how painful it is to run regular desktop apps with a finger based interface. At least on Android, iPhoneOS, and WebOS, the apps are designed from the beginning to be used with a finger.
  • Re:Meh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by obarthelemy (160321) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:51PM (#32316370)

    We need to work out words for different degrees of Open, from Public Domain to Apple Playpen, with BSD, GPL, and "regular OS" stages (and certainly others).

    PalmOS is certainly neither Public Domain nor Open Source, I'm not sure if it goes for Regular OS (you may develop any Apps, but not really hack the OS), or Apple Playpen (You may do only what we like)

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @04:42PM (#32316764) Journal
    They might be control freaks just for the hell of it; but it would arguably be a quite irrational act on their part.

    If you are Apple, and have a potent mix of good marketshare and unbeatable mindshare, you can get away with pissing people off, if you think that it is in your interest.

    If you are a carrier, trying to whip every last nickel out of your "2 year contract and stiff ETF" serfs, you don't have to care, you're the phone company.

    If, on the other hand, you've just spent 1.2billion on a nice, but rather getting hammered in the marketplace, OS, it probably isn't a good time to upset that OS's most enthusiastic fanboys and developers.

    If they decide that prospective commercial developers want a War On Piracy(tm), or if they ink some sort of ghastly "Premium Content" deal, any amount of evil is possible; but so long as they are focused on "not losing", they should remain fairly cooperative.
  • by gig (78408) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @06:29PM (#32317604)

    So when this ships, iPad will be running iPhone OS v4.1 with multitasking of 300,000 C apps, including about 100,000 games, a game network, encryption with remote wipe, remote find, thousands of accessories, the whole iPod music and movies experience, about 25 bookstores, the fastest and most responsive mobile experience, and between 10 and 20 million installed base. Plus a line of iPhones and iPods that can run many of the same apps, and a line of Macs with the same core OS and free iPhone developer tools.

    So many questions:

    - how are they going to compete without apps?
    - are they going to expose a comprehensive C API so developers can port iPhone apps? (weird how the Android C API is locked down but people call it "open", huh?)
    - will they get 10 hours of battery life?
    - will they have Flash, will it work, will anybody care?
    - will the onscreen keyboard suck? (so far, all WebOS devices had hardware keyboards)
    - will there be a single feature that iPad doesn't have? (iPad already has cheap USB and SD card accessories and will likely have a video cam accessory by October)
    - will they have no contract unlimited data for $30/month?
    - will they have a 16GB Wi-Fi only model for less than $499? (an unsubsidized Pre is $599, the original HP Slate was $549, and Nexus One with 4GB costs $529)
    - why wouldn't this just be iPod versus Zune all over again?
    - will all the PC enthusiasts who are still at this time ranting about how "useless" iPad is and how much better the original HP Slate was going to be now rally behind this because it's from HP, even though it has many fewer uses (apps) than iPad and no longer runs Windows?

    I definitely think HP are going in the right direction dropping Windows for Unix and dropping 3rd party software for 1st party. But they are so far behind. Apple worked on iPad for 7 years before releasing it, and HP will have had less than 7 months. WebOS has been shipping for a year, but when Apple started iPad 7 years ago, OS X had been shipping for 3 years. Along the way, Apple started making their own batteries and CPU's to get to where they could make iPad.

    The key thing with iPad is the apps morph it into about 100,000 niche devices. So people buy them for very different reasons. It's like for any particular user, the killer app is completely different, but iPad has it. The killer app on iPad is apps. Not the Web, not email. All that stuff is a free extra. I know people who bought iPad just for WebEx, others who bought it just for the art tools, others purely as a camera accessory, and others who bought it only for Netflix and iTunes.

    Even though I have an iPad and am really happy with it, I can't help but sort of root for HP because at least they stopped, turned around, and starting going in the right direction. And it's kind of fun to see Microsoft jilted and Ballmer shown up as a stooge again. But they have a long way to go from generic DOS boxes to competing with iPad.

  • Re:Meh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Totenglocke (1291680) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @06:36PM (#32317662)

    If people were so serious about buying Windows based slates, the sales of "Tablet PCs" wouldn't have been sucking for the last decade.

    Wrong. If tablet pc prices weren't so much higher (on average 3-4 times higher) than a comparably priced laptop, then tablet pc sales wouldn't have sucked for the last decade. I get it, it costs more to add a touch screen - but it does NOT cost $1,000 more (as evidenced by the fact that the iPad with the traditional Apple mark-up starts at $499). The reason sales have sucked is that companies don't want to charge more for newer, superior technology - they want to charge obscenely more for it and the result is that the overwhelming majority of people just decide not to buy the device instead.

    I want a tablet running Windows (or even a full Linux distro with the ability for me to at least do hand written notes), but I'm NOT paying $1,000 or more for it. I'll pay in the $500-$600 price range for a tablet in the 10"-14" range, which is what I would pay for a laptop in the 15"-17" range.

  • by gig (78408) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @06:42PM (#32317726)

    > you can get away with pissing people off

    The number of iPhone users who are unhappy they can't root their phone is so small as to not be measurable. On the other hand, the number of iPhone administrators who are happy that users can't root their phones and neither can malicious interlopers is fairly high.

    So an un-rootable phone is indeed a feature.

  • Re:Maemo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gig (78408) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @06:53PM (#32317804)

    Yeah, but without C you can't port iPhone apps to WebOS. You can't port Windows apps, Mac apps, PlayStation apps, Wii apps, and so on. This is a full-size screen. There are many developers with full-size C apps.

    Also, on the tiny CPU's in mobile, the devices really benefit from highly-optimized, compiled C code. And if I want to run Web apps, I can do that with HTML5 and client-side storage on iPhone and Android already. We are long past the time when you can pretend that HTML+JS+CSS is a "native" app.

    The wall that all mobile systems are going to run right into as they go to 10-inch form factor is the lack of a desktop class API. Once your screen can support desktop class apps your API needs to be able to. The baby Java apps on most phones and fake Web apps on Palm are just not going to cut it on 10-inch screens. iPad has real PC and console apps on it and it runs at incredible speeds.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @07:26PM (#32318064) Journal
    Given that the quoted percentage of iDevices that are actually jailbroken tends to float between 5 and 10 percent(depending on how recently there has been a not-yet-jailbroken update, and how desirable that update is) "so small as to not be measurable" seems implausible.

    More to the point, though, there has definitely been some high-profile bitching from various developers, some of them fairly notable. That is exactly the sort of thing that you can get away with if you are well positioned(What're you going to do about it, huh? Go write for Windows mobile?) but have to pay attention to if you aren't.
  • by node 3 (115640) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @08:10PM (#32318384)

    Probably, but if any product is going to be able to compete with the iPad, it will have to be something where the same company controls both the hardware and the software. Consumers don't care about freedom in the FSF sense, they care about what works best for them. So HP is starting out on the right track. I don't think they will succeed, but at least they are starting (well, restarting) with the correctly by doing it themselves (through acquisition, though).

    For a WebOS tablet to reasonably take on the iPad, it will have to be top-notch hardware (no, that does not mean an SD card slot, or USB), and it will have to have top-notch software. I just don't see how HP will be able to get close enough to the iPad in either of those. If they market this as an iPad competitor and go after the average consumer, they will fail. If instead, they go after some other niche, they may certainly be able to gain some traction.

    I would absolutely love it if HP were to make this into a sort of engineering device, but sadly that HP is dead. They are a consumer company now, and there isn't a consumer company on the planet that can out-design and out-engineer Apple.

  • Re:Meh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by node 3 (115640) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @08:31PM (#32318550)

    Wrong. If tablet pc prices weren't so much higher (on average 3-4 times higher) than a comparably priced laptop, then tablet pc sales wouldn't have sucked for the last decade.

    Not at all. WIMP GUIs absolutely suck for tablets, and people hate styluses. I realize there are small niches where a stylus is useful and others where someone might want a touch-screen or pen-based Windows slate, but these markets are extremely limited.

    The fact is that there is absolutely no consumer market for a stylus or touch based Windows (or Linux or Mac OS X, with their normal GUIs) tablet. That's why those devices have failed.

    That's the reason Apple completely redesigned the interface for OS X for the iPhone, why MS has a completely new interface (finally, and most certainly too late) for Windows Mobile, and why Android is Linux with a completely custom interface.

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