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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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  • Best of both worlds (Score:4, Interesting)

    by alvinrod (889928) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @02:53PM (#32315926)
    Will be interesting to see what kind of approach HP takes with WebOS. They're in a unique position where they might have the best of both the iPad and Android tablet worlds in that they can provide a much more open experience akin to Android, but still be able to achieve the advantages Apple has from designing both the software and the hardware. Will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.
  • Have you used webOS? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AFresh1 (1585149) <andrew+slashdot@ ... om minus painter> on Sunday May 23, 2010 @02:56PM (#32315948) Homepage
    I for one welcome this new class of device. I have a Palm Pre running webOS and I can do probably 40% of my computer activities on it, but the larger screen would really improve that experience while sitting on the couch reading /.

    It isn't a computer replacement, the formfactor already limits the uses and so I like the limited software.

    However, the Palm homebrew comunity has X running on webOS so if you want, you can have "real" apps.

    I think you naysayers really need to try it, even if it isn't for everyone, it is going to be a great class of device for lots of people.

  • by Qubit (100461) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:00PM (#32315986) Homepage Journal

    For now I'd either go with Android, bank on Google and Java and that environment, or wait for MeeGo to grow up a bit and then develop what amounts to a standard Linux system (linux, GNU coreutils, etc...).

    Either way you'll need to write some code for touchscreen UIs, but at least both platforms are pretty darn open.

    WebOS has some open stuff in the base layer, but their entire GUI layer is pretty much closed, right? So why would anyone choose to develop for it? I mean, if you want a closed-source environment, why wouldn't you just go with Apple's offerings?

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:07PM (#32316036) Homepage
    That. I recently broke down and bought an Axiotron Modbook [axiotron.com]. This is a standard MacBook that has a Wacom tablet stapled on the top of the machine. Runs real-live OS X (cue snarky comment about 'real' OS. Just note, it does run EMACS).

    A very mixed bag. Using a stylus is hampered by the poor decision to run a low end Wacom product with a terrible pen and software that is unable to change the very limited button repertoire based on application. Hardware / Software integration is poor. Support is pretty weak (the company rarely shows up in the forums). Nice idea, but it just "Doesn't work". At best it will be a very niche product - it's fun to work Photoshop in your lap - but actually frustrating because PS really needs a keyboard to be productive.

    So, in short, it's just like every other full OS tablet that litters the landscape. Neither fish nor fowl, never really tuned up, never really achieve any market success. This is why the future of tablets is a limited OS with finger touch as the main input.

    Now, there isn't anything (at least to my knowledge) that prevents His Jobness to release an iPad pro (aka 'the MaxiPad') that lets you get out on a real USB ports, runs CUPS, runs Terminal, comes with a Pony, etc.
  • WebOS gets a bad rap (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Junta (36770) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:29PM (#32316184)

    To 'root' my pre on the first day involved only downloading the official development platform from Palm for Linux. I didn't have to go to Windows or OSX or wait for someone in the community to 'jailbreak'. Meanwhile, Android phones from most manufacturers take a few weeks for the community to jailbreak before the fun begins. I'd rather go with a platform where the manufacturer blatantly allows the users the power Palm does. I find it ironic as the base platform is more closed in theory, but in practice is a bit more amenable to hacking.

    Though I'm personally not enthused about their HTML5/Javascript 'premiere' approach to applications, I do like the simplicity of SDL/GL/C code to develop other apps.

    As a user, I find WebOS' current interface a bit slicker on the multitasking front.

    Of course, all this said I don't think I'll ever be interested in a tablet. It's in a useless spot for me of not being as useful as a laptop yet not as convenient as my 'phone'.

  • by marmoset (3738) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:37PM (#32316244) Homepage Journal

    It’s become pretty clear at this point that scaling a smartphone OS up, rather than scaling a desktop OS down, is the better approach. Someone had to stick their necks out and try it. Microsoft tried and failed to scale Windows down, but Apple has apparently succeeded going the other way. Let’s not forget that the outcomes were far from obvious even as recently as a few months ago. HP getting on stage with Microsoft in January was their throwing in their lot with the desktop approach. I think they’ll ultimately come out happier having reconsidered. It actually took corporate chutzpah for them to cancel the Windows 7 Slate after showing it.

    It is a stopgap, at best. Someone needs to take the time, do the research, and do the work to write an OS for these devices instead of trying to patchwork add and remove bits and pieces of systems clearly designed for other purposes.

    You may be right, but remember: shipping is a feature, and, IMO, the most important one.
    (disclaimer: happy iPad owner here...)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 23, 2010 @04:10PM (#32316516)

    Maybe a Thinkpad convertible like x61 tablet or x200t would have been good for you? I've been thinking about getting one but would like to know how well linux works with those.

    I have enough stuff to tinker with my n900 at the moment though so will probably wait until I can get x60/x61 tablet for 200€ or so from ebay :D

  • by MobyTurbo (537363) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @04:10PM (#32316518) Homepage

    For now I'd either go with Android, bank on Google and Java and that environment, or wait for MeeGo to grow up a bit and then develop what amounts to a standard Linux system (linux, GNU coreutils, etc...).

    Either way you'll need to write some code for touchscreen UIs, but at least both platforms are pretty darn open.

    WebOS has some open stuff in the base layer, but their entire GUI layer is pretty much closed, right? So why would anyone choose to develop for it? I mean, if you want a closed-source environment, why wouldn't you just go with Apple's offerings?

    If you haven't used it, grab the free SDK (works on Linux, Mac, and Windows) and take a look at the emulator or take a look at a Palm Pre/Pre Plus. Palm's WebOS has a very smooth interface, something Android is missing to some extent. Also, programming for WebOS is quite open and they allow and even *encourage* modifications and unofficial applications outside the "app catalog", which makes it a lot more open than the iPad.

    Unless you want to modify the GUI engine itself (which is basically just a way to throw pixels for a WebKit/V8-based Javascript engine, and for PDK apps, a way to manage slightly SDL, and OpenGLES, and the SDL is part of the GUI that is open source....) WebOS is just as open from a practical standpoint as Android if not slightly more open since no rooting is needed whatsoever. Also, one can modify apps and make themes easily since everything is just Javascript text files basically. (You get a root prompt to do what you want with with the SDK!) When's the last time you could modify Google Maps on Android, for just one example? You can do that with WebOS, closed source or no closed source, the source is there. :-) Homebrewers have added features to it, such as Google Latitude, that Google disabled on WebOS because they have a bit of preferential treatment to Android and their former board member Apple rather than little rival Palm. ;-) Also, many other included apps have all sorts of modifications available for them called "patches". It's very much in the spirit of open source. You can even grab alternative kernels, and enhance the performance of your Pre or Pre Plus (I don't know if they bothered making alternative kernels for the Pixi yet, though that could be interesting...)

    It also resembles a standard Linux distro more under the hood than Android really, which is a very good thing, almost all the frameworks you'd find on a Linux desktop, like gstreamer, are there, and the file system hierarchy should be familiar as well. Only the N900 really has it beat as far as that goes, and the N900 is a little *too* Unixy in the interface department unlike WebOS. (Though if you insist, the Homebrew folks have developed Qt and X11 for WebOS too, which makes a wealth of ugly apps such as even OpenOffice, if you want to really torture yourself trying to run it ;-), available for WebOS. ;-) Maybe OpenOffice will run better on the HP Slate though...)

  • Re:Meh... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 23, 2010 @04:32PM (#32316676)
    It pretty much says that these devices are not meant as a general purpose computer and are really something better named a "content consumption device". Neither a general purpose computer (although it has the core of one and you can come close by adding keyboards and all), nor a phone they have a small niche market today. Putting a full OS like Windows, OSX, or even Linux on them is really not a great idea. All three of those are full fledged operating systems designed to do general purpose computing and are really mouse / keyboard centric. That's just not the space that a slate plays in today. They can do less, so they need less - and that "less" gives them more battery life and a more "designed for touch" interface.
  • Re:Meh... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mantis2009 (1557343) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @04:46PM (#32316806)
    I think worrying about webOS not working on a slate PC is exactly the wrong thing to worry about.

    The much bigger question is whether moving webOS off of the smartphone will dilute and fragment the operating system too much.

    I think webOS is the best designed OS for a phone because it's designed to work with both touch and a fully qwerty keyboard. Looking up contacts, searching for apps, sending a message -- webOS is optimized to do that in the shortest number of "clicks." Better than iPhone OS, better than Android, better than Blackberry. I like that. I want webOS to stay that way.

    If webOS is moved to a slate PC -- with no keyboard and no phone -- I fear that webOS will lose its advantages as the smartest smartphone OS. And webOS developers would start writing more for slate apps, not smartphone apps. That would suck, especially for those of us who took the plunge and signed up for a 2 year contract with a Palm Pre.
  • Re:Meh... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gig (78408) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @06:40PM (#32317688)

    WebOS has such a small installed base, and so few apps, fragmentation is not at all their chief concern. HP needs to outsell all previous WebOS devices by far in the first few months just to keep making HP Slate. They need to get more apps made for Slate than have ever been made so far for WebOS or the project is a failure.

    When Pre first shipped, iPhone 3G was $399. Then just a few days after Pre shipped at $299, Apple introduced iPhone 3GS for $199 and iPhone 3G for $99. That was Apple killing Palm for the second time.

    So if you are a Palm user, this is another rebirth for Palm, as part of HP. Things not only will change dramatically, they have to change dramatically.

    The killer app on phones is calls. On tablets, it's apps. If they don't expose a full C API, they will ultimately be toast. Developers need to be able to port their big screen Windows, Mac, iPhone, and PlayStation apps to HP Slate. All of those are written in C.

  • Re:Meh... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by narrowhouse (1949) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @07:10PM (#32317930) Homepage
    Anyone looking at my posting history will see I am not a huge MS fan, but in this case I really think the biggest problem is that you can't have a touch based GUI and still be what most people think of as "Windows". A well executed touch based OS takes away almost all of Microsoft's market advantages, i.e. familiarity and application availability. Even if the OS GUI were completely converted to a nice touch interface, almost all existing windows apps would be clumsy to use. This is the closest thing to a level playing field MS has tried to get into in some time. Just look at the phone market, their current premium offering uses the HTC sense GUI bolted on top of WinCE 6.5. It's almost completely unlike "Windows" for the first several steps of any given operation, so why would the average user prefer windows over android/webos?
  • Re:Android please (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:33AM (#32319960)
    Man, you obviously like WebOS so I hate to break this to you but I think I have to anyway. WebOS from HP is doomed. For one very simple reason. That reason being that HP is utterly and hopelessly dependant on Microsoft to remain a viable business. Anything they do that jeopordizes MS's profits in any serious way will cause Ballmer to come down on them like a metric shit-ton of bricks. I'm sorry, but that is just reality. While HP remains MS's lapdogs, that situation will not change, i.e. don't hold your breath.
  • Then get ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DrYak (748999) on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:07AM (#32321562) Homepage

    I want a tablet running {...} even a full Linux distro {...} I'll pay in the $500-$600 price range for a tablet in the 10"-14" range

    Then get a Touch Book [alwaysinnovating.com]. Has more or less everything you need (minus perhaps a good support for Flash, due to adobe not releasing support for ARM-based CPUs).

    And technically WebOS is Linux at its core, with "dev-mode" (i.e.: installing software from things other than the official application store) available out-of-the-box, and a bunch of various Linux stuff already compiled from Optware. The only limitations are its non standart graphic interface: it's Web-based instead of X-based (but still has SDL support if you want full screen games and the like).
    Also doesn't feature a decent note-taking application (unlike the PalmOS), only a post-it application.

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