Who Loves WebOS? Not Samsung, not anyone

The Korean company says it will "never" buy the operating system, casting doubt on its future

More and more, WebOS seems like an operating system that not even its own mother could love.

Samsung CEO Choi Gee Sung told reporters at the IFA consumer electronics conference in Berlin that his company will "never" consider purchasing WebOS from HP, which announced last month that it is discontinuing WebOS devices. Some analysts had speculated that the Korean device maker might be interested in picking up the essentially device-less platform.

While Samsung is perhaps best known for making certain Android phones, it does have its own OS, called Bada, which runs on a number of devices, including the newly announced Samsung Galaxy Note, Tab 7.7 and three new Wave smartphones.

But apparently we won't see a merging of Bada and WebOS anytime soon.

Despite being scorned by HP, WebOS did at one time have a loyal fan base, back when it was Palm's OS. HP bought out Palm in 2010 and morphed the mobile platform into WebOS. The HP Touchpad was positioned to be the signature WebOS device, but after only a month and half, HP killed it and its Palm phones.

What followed that announcement has turned the tablet world on its head and led to lots of confusion over the future of WebOS. HP dropped the price of TouchPads to as low as $99 to liquidate its WebOS inventory and they became a sensation, flying off online and brick-and-mortar shelves. Now HP says it will make one last run of the tablets to help satisfy demand and may extend support for a while, and the rumor mill about WebOS's future is at full speed.

Choi's quick dismissal of a possible WebOS acquisition helps put things back into perspective. A bunch of firesale tablets doesn't mean consumers have found new love for WebOS; it just means they've just found a great bargain. A TouchPad contains about $300 worth of hardware alone, after all. Given the buzz online about the possibility of porting Android onto those cheap TouchPads, it seems that their new owners could have even less love for WebOS than HP.

HTC and Facebook have not responded to speculation that they may be interested in buying the OS, and HP says it's still open to licensing deals and partnerships to advance WebOS. The day before announcing the discontinuation, HP said it was looking at applying WebOS to other home devices and automotive infotainment systems. If WebOS does become the leading operating system for blenders one day, it will be about as significant as being the top OS on Mars. It's time to let WebOS—and Palm—finally rest in peace.

Tags samsungwebOSIFAMobile OSesPhonesSamsung Electronicsmobile

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Eric Mack

PC World (US online)

9 Comments

Darkgift

1

FYI...it was webOS when Palm had it. They created webOS. Palm OS died in 2009.

Al

2

So let me get this articles point straight...the author wants webOS to finally die off and in turn consumers will end up with even less competition at the marketplace. So dumb....
For your information, competition is what drives innovation.

budotao

3

You Sir are full of crap...this OS is simply too good to just die...furthermore the WebOS community is strong and resolved to help this great and simple to use OS live on....I am not sure how...but it will live on...the GUI is just that good. Sorry bub..we won't go away that easily!!!

Vectre

4

While I understand that reviewers and tech pundits are living in their echo chamber. To say no one loves webOS is an exaggeration. Lots of people who actually use it, like it.

matt

5

Oh would you webos fan boys GTFO forever!?
NO ONE LIKES WEBOS.
AT NO POINT DID IT INCREASE IN MARKETSHARE. EVER. IT WAS ALWAYS LOSING FROM THE START.
Its over.
(Its been over since the start)

nosyferatu

6

OK, Matt
go back to that herd of sheep and revel in the mundane. Marketshare is only only a measure of sales, not talent. Snake Oil was real popular at one time, also.

nosyferatu

7

Good Gear Guide needs to actually try the OS before passing judgement, otherwise you're a movie reviewer that uses box office receipts instead of seeing the film before writing a favorable review. The OS & the community surrounding it are outstanding. The public are often guilty of the same sin, buying an iPad because its a best seller, instead of deciding if it merits the attention. WebOS is that good; and has been plagued by corporate mismanagement at Palm and HP. Without PC World & any other purveyor of the latest & greatest doing their due diligence, you're stifling innovation and helping to foster the mundane. I sincerely hope the next film you rent is "Tucker" and you pay attention to what the man was trying to offer America.

matt

8

@nosyferatu It doesn't really matter what your personal opinion about WEBOS is.
People have spoken... MULTIPLE TIMES.
Palm ruined it. HP made that even worse.
WebOS NEVER gained in marketshare. NOT ONCE.

Period.

noel

9

Matt,
You're wrong - mostly. Lots of people loved (past tense) WEBOS. It was slow to market, but it gained marketshare for the first year - and then Palm ran out of money, but Palm didn't ruin it, HP did.

Brilliant strategy, orphan all your existing users's devices and stop support, spend a mint trying to make a consumer internte appliance work on printers, then try to sell them a tablet that doesn't do documents, or work with their orphaned phones.

Then HP's brilliant new CEO thought if he couldn't deliver WEBOS software, HP must be the perfect software company so he decided to get HP out of the hardware business too.

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