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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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  • Waiting for someone to make a good quality, aesthetically-pleasing and ergonomic tablet with Android as its OS. No tablet for me until then.

    • Re:Android please (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kilrah_il (1692978) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @01:52PM (#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 bhtooefr (649901)

        I had a Pre for about a week.

        Best mobile OS I've ever used.

        Worst smartphone hardware I've ever used.

        It wasn't just the marketing, it was the crap excuse for hardware that Palm spewed out.

        • by ckaminski (82854)
          It's like they built the hardware to only be used by really small people (women), and then forgot that most women have these things called nails, which makes half the keyboard (the side edges) impossible to use for their target market.

          Had the Pre been the size of the iPhone, and not the size of the iPhone's screen, it might have been usable by my fat geek fingers, and my gf's sleek yet heavily armored finger-tips.
    • WebOS gets a bad rap (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Junta (36770) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @02:29PM (#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 s73v3r (963317)
        I heard how easy it was to root a Pre, and thought it was kinda cool. You think HP is going to continue that, though?
        • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:42PM (#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 @05:42PM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

              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 goin
              • by dangitman (862676)

                Given that the quoted percentage of iDevices that are actually jailbroken tends to float between 5 and 10 percent

                Sorry, that's just a bullshit figure. There's no way that 1 in 10 to 1 in 20 iPhones are jailbroken. I'd be surprised if it approached 1 percent. Where are these figures from? How would you even get such figures reliably?

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  I believe that the numbers typically quoted come from Pinch Media, who is the fairly big player in 3rd party analytics on the various iDevices, and who attempts to collect numbers on jailbroken devices and pirated application installs, among numerous other variables.
                  • by dangitman (862676)

                    I believe that the numbers typically quoted come from Pinch Media, who is the fairly big player in 3rd party analytics on the various iDevices, and who attempts to collect numbers on jailbroken devices and pirated application installs, among numerous other variables.

                    And the methods they use to do so appear to be complete bullshit. It is actually collecting statistics on applications that "use the Pinch Media network." Which is pretty damn irrelevant. If you look at their reports, there is heavy spin on how they report their figures, and appear to be particularly weighted by figures from China and Russia.

    • Waiting for someone to make a good quality, aesthetically-pleasing and ergonomic tablet with Android as its OS. No tablet for me until then.

      Here you go http://wetab.mobi/en [wetab.mobi]

  • Apparently nobody bothered to read the first sentence of the article.

    "Ever since HP announced plans to acquire Palm a few weeks ago[...]"

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

    by alvinrod (889928) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @01:53PM (#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.
    • by macshit (157376)

      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.

      Sure, but that requires them to not fuck it up. And they're HP (a great company 30 years ago, but a pathetic shadow today).

      Apple has a bazillion times more UI (and design) chops, and Google has a bazillion times more technical chops (and more freedom to be open because of their somewhat unique position in the market), so betting on what HP "could do" seems a wee bit risky.

    • by gig (78408)

      No, you're missing something really important.

      C API:
      - Android: closed
      - WebOS: closed
      - iPhone OS: managed (250,000 apps with only 0.03% of apps rejected, which is a smaller percentage than the Windows blacklist or Google's Web blacklist)

      So it's great that you can replace the kernel on WebOS or Android if you want to. But if I'm the developer of a Mac/PC app or console game, iPhone OS is by far the most open mobile system because it speaks my C language, it can accommodate my existing C app 90% unchanged, and

  • Have you used webOS? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AFresh1 (1585149) <andrew+slashdot@ ... m ['sh1' in gap]> on Sunday May 23, 2010 @01:56PM (#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 @02:00PM (#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 alvinrod (889928) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @02:35PM (#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.

      • Which really isn't a terribly large prediction considering that the iPad has probably sold close to two million units already.

        It is a terribly large prediction, sorry. For the simple reason that HP is not Apple.

    • by MobyTurbo (537363) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @03:10PM (#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...)

    • WebOS has some open stuff in the base layer, but their entire GUI layer is pretty much closed, right?

      No. Their UI layer is Mojo -- an HTML + JavaScript engine. Their window manager is the only part of the GUI that you can call "closed", but it's hackable as all hell.

      And on top of that, Palm realises that they will live or die by their developer community. To homebrew on an iPhone, you need to void your warranty. (Yes, they might not call you on it -- but they CAN). To homebrew with the Pre, you just put the phone in developer mode, and you can do pretty much whatever you want.

      I'd wager that WebOS is i

      • by Qubit (100461)

        WebOS has some open stuff in the base layer, but their entire GUI layer is pretty much closed, right?

        No. Their UI layer is Mojo -- an HTML + JavaScript engine. Their window manager is the only part of the GUI that you can call "closed", but it's hackable as all hell.

        Okay, it's nice that the only piece of the GUI that's closed is the WM, and it's also beneficial that it's "hackable as all hell," but with fully-open platforms like Android, MeeGo, and Symbian available, I'm still reaching for a reason to use it.

        Is the WM the only closed piece in the unit?

        I'd wager that WebOS is in some ways more open than Android -- but I haven't peeked at Google's Android machine too closely.

        Ummmm... I think that the base Android system is (absent drivers and maybe some proprietary stuff like Flash/H.264 in the default browser) all BSD, GPL, or Apache licensed.

        WebOS has proprietary components, including (at l

  • http://www.slate.com/ [slate.com] is running the thing.
    HP contracted the thing out to Slate?
    Is there a lawsuit in the future?

  • At least on the OS front, all of the companies (including Apple) have taken the easy way out...

    Looking at the usability, and yes, sales, of Windows Tablet PCs, it wasn't rocket science to figure out that existing OS's just weren't going to work. They just weren't designed for touch, and add-on hack to try and accommodate it were clunky at best.

    Given the expense and size limitations of decent touch sensitive screens, and the increasing muscle available to smart phones, they were a natural place to build a to

    • by marmoset (3738) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @02:37PM (#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 drinkypoo (153816)

        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.

        Guess what? iPhone OS is OSX scaled down.

        Microsoft tried and failed to scale Windows down, but Apple has apparently succeeded going the other way.

        No, you have no idea what you're talking about, as we've already established; Windows CE is its own OS and not based on another Windows, so it's not scaled down from anything, while the iPhone/Pad/etc OS is based on OSX, so it's scaled down from something, which you claim is the inferior approach.

        It actually took corporate chutzpah for them to cancel the Windows 7 Slate after showing it.

        More products are probably cancelled than actually brought to market. Microsoft cancels things all the time. WinFS anyone? Oh wait, you're ignorant of history, sorry about

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)

      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 Locutus (9039) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @02:24PM (#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
    • They don't need to worry about Microsoft much since HP already cancelled [techcrunch.com] the WIndows version of the Slate.

    • 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.

      I think you've confused your monopolists ;) Intel stops giving out price breaks for Atom processors when the screen exceeds 10.1 inches. They've recently dropped that restriction for their fastest Atom (N550). At the same time they've set minimum limits for the amount of memory and storage space.

    • by MojoStan (776183)

      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.

      This claim is more than a year and a half out-of-date. Before September 2008, cheaper "netbook pricing" for Windows XP Home limited the screen size to 10.2", hard drive to 80GB, RAM to 1GB, and CPU to single-core. In September 2008, MS updated the screen limit ot 14.1" and hard drive to 160GB.

      Besides, Windows 7 Starter has gradually replaced Windows XP Home as the most popular pre-loaded netbook OS. Also, as another replier mentione

  • by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @02:29PM (#32316182) Journal

    I hear lots of bla bla tablets sucked before the iPad bla. But I had a Compaq TC1000 (2003 vintage) for a while and I fail to see what I was mising by not having an iPad. Stylus meant I could actually write, click on and move stuff around properly with it; lazy susan keyboard attachment meant I could treat it as a laptop. I had no need to fat-finger gestures when I had the precision of a pen-point - not that I'd have said no to gestures as an addition, but it's hardly a deal-breaker as far as being able to work and browse with a useful tablet device.

    FWIW, I'll admit that the stylus was heavy - but this was fixed with the TC1100, which also featured a faster non-Transmeta CPU.

    • by kwark (512736)

      Before I got my android phone I thought the same, but now I really miss things like fling and swipe on my tablet. Using a stylus to scroll is so much more cumbersome. My wish is a hybrid pen/finger display with a full OS.

    • by mgblst (80109)

      You are right, some people were happy with that. Most people did not see that it was worth the expense.

      I fail to see why people like you can't understand that. It is very fucking simple, just becaues you like something, doesn't mean everybody else does. Hey, the iPad might fail, and no doubt we will get some more morons like you, not understanding why it failed. If lots more people don't like it, it will fail. This is not complicated.

      • You display the behaviour of a religious zealot the originality of whose belief system has been questioned. Welcome to the Internet!

  • The iPad is successful, in part, due to the App Store and the large set of touch based applications already proven on other iPhone OS devices. I'm not familiar with the Palm Pre to know what kind of app selection it has and how well-done the UI is on them. Windows based touch devices have never taken off because it is Windows (a desktop, full PC based OS) with a thin touch veneer on top rather than a touch-based, thin client OS.

    I wish HP well expanding Web OS and developing it into a viable competitor to iP

  • by gig (78408) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @05:29PM (#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.

    • by rsborg (111459)
      All great questions, really.

      I envision the webOS tablet will compete with the iPad based on:

      1. price
      2. a freer marketplace
      3. a less restrictive user environment
      4. the best UI

      Looks like it only really bests Andrioid on the last point, but I think there is still room to grow in the tablet market.

    • by mobby_6kl (668092)

      >- 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)

      Real and useful multitasking. The cheap USB and SD card accessories suck by the virtue of being accessories, and having to plug in a webcam in such a portable device is even more ridiculous considering how cheap and easy it is to integrate one into a phone, not to mention a much larger tablet.

      - why wouldn't this just be iPod versus Zune all ov

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      They're blowing it completely by not going android. There's usually room in any given market for about three major competitors before consumers begin to get confused. So, Apple, Android, and Palm. Only, Palm is a distant third here and HP doesn't exactly have a good name any more. Average consumers think of them as a company that makes professional (read: expensive, ugly, and heavy) equipment and printers. Geeks are fucking over HP, which sells crap at a premium and proceeds to provide the worst service ima

  • We're talking about the HP that sold hundreds of thousands of laptops to consumers knowing that they had defective chipsets on the motherboard. They didn't discover this after shipping the laptops, they were aware of the problem before the first one was shipped and they had a choice: rework or repair the defective units before shipping, or ship them in defective condition and screw the customer.

    Being the HP that we know - the one that didn't see a problem with "pretexting" - no, let's call it spying / eave

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      We're talking about the HP that sold hundreds of thousands of laptops to consumers knowing that they had defective chipsets on the motherboard.

      Let's not forget their response to nVidia chips with die bonding problems. I had a machine with a FX1500M with the problem, and it took literally days on the phone to get a replacement machine. (The replacement MXM video boards had the same problem, so no help from MXM there. MXM is stupid, just adds cost to the system...) I will never ever buy anything from HP again, not a printer, not a laptop, not a photo frame. (I got an HP photo frame as a gift, it has a shitty interface. HP is just all bad. Don't get

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