The death of Palm WebOS

August 21, 2011

Last week, HP announced that they were discontinuing the sale and development of HP/Palm WebOS devices. This includes both WebOS smartphones (Pre, Pre2, Pre3, Pixi) as well as the recently released Touchpad). The timing of this announcement was absolutely shocking, as even the direct Palm employees and management in the Sunnyvale, CA office didn’t see this coming. Aside from this, HP also is dumping their PC division which is also a shocker.

As a WebOS apps developer, I’m very sad to see this happen. I’ve been to two Palm Developers Day events in the Sunnyvale office, and I have to say that the Palm employees are great to work with. Palm really treated their developers well with support and hardware, so it’s a shame to see all of that disappear. HP is backpedaling a bit now, saying that WebOS will live on, but I highly doubt that. With no existing hardware, app developers jumping ship to Android, iOS, or Windows Phone 7 development, and Palm employees leaving for greener pastures, how will WebOS survive? It might go into hibernation, but over time that will most likely make it an extinct product.

This is unfortunate, as I believe that WebOS is the best smartphone OS currently available. It does do true multitasking, and their card concept works very well. Personally, I stopped my WebOS App development when Palm switched to the new Enyo SDK which required a fundamental shift in programming methodology from the previous Mojo SDK. In hindsight, it was a good move as it gave me time to spin up on Android OS development and get a head start in porting some of my existing apps to the Android platform.

Sorry to see you go, WebOS. RIP.