Ronnie05's Blog

WebOS: MIA but a force in reckoning

Posted in Computing and Operating Systems by Manas Ganguly on May 2, 2011

Even as iOS, Androids, WP7, Blackberry 7, Symbian and more are engaged in a bloody battle for supremacy in the OS space, Palm-HP’s WebOS, hasn’t really been the feature in any discussion and HP seems content at WebOS’s MIA status. Why would one be concerned with WebOS in the first place? That’s because Fanboys world over have been debating that the WebOS is the true blue competitor to Apple’s iOS in a digitally connected world. How can one compare an iOS that has an installed base of more than 10 million devices and has enabled 10 billion app downloads to a rookie OS which is yet to hit the road. More so, research agencies such as Gartner donot feature the WebOS as a sizeable competitor in forecasts up to 2015.

HP has already launched new generation WebOS products such as HP Veer, Pre 3 and Touchpad. The specs of Pre 3 and Touchpad are frighteningly close to the bests in the competition.

So what might the success factors for WebOS be?
1. WebOS is as optimized as it gets for touch screen devices and was built ground up for touch devices. That puts it beyond the reckoning of Symbian and BB already. This puts it in par with the iOS.
2. WebOS will feature across a cluster of device categories which would include the tablet, smartphone and laptop. (Would loved to have seen TV there as well)
3. Sharp features on the UI such as Cards (instead of home screens) to group apps. Again at par with iOS.
4. The WebOS will be cloud ready at launch and the Synergy feature would automatically back up data on the cloud eliminating the need of a synch.
5. Touchstone features such as bump to share and induction charging would be other differentiators in the pack.

WebOS’s weaknesses
1. Absence of an ecosystem to support the app hungry users. By the time, WebOS surfaces, developers would be more engrossed in Apple, Android and WP7 to cause a crisis of quality apps for WebOS.
2. While Palm has some presence in US, the game is to step it up world over and though HP has the muscle, this may take longer than expected.

The WebOS could be a huge threat to incumbents such as BB and Symbian. Even Android with its issues of fragmentation could feel the challenge from WebOS. With its bells and whistles, WebOS actually closes on the king, iOS and while many have written the WebOS off, it could really be the fight of this decade between WebOS and others going forward. HP needs to get the launch dates and pricing right….

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