Question about

August 18th 2011 6:27 pm

Did webOS really ever have a chance to succeed in the mobile world?

It's sad news in the tech world today as HP kills of their tablet and smartphone development. Is this truly the end of webOS?

A common meme I've seen over the past year or so with regard to webOS is that "it has a lot of potential." This is something numerous users, critics, colleagues, and even myself have said. It seemed to have a lot of legitimately great ideas, but suffered from extremely poor execution and marketing.

It raises an interesting question though. Did webOS *really* ever have a chance to succeed in the mobile world? Or is the mobile world just way too crowded (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Meego, Symbian, etc...) -- too many platforms, too much competition?

What do you think?
top answers
community pick

I think the best way to answer this question is with another question:­/question­/who­-would­-have­-thought­-five­-year...

As Peter says it's a volatile market, you never know when somebody will come and revolutionize it or even define a new one.

The whole thing reminds me of the Zune though. Tons of potential, but the company refused to back the product financially.
mark as good answer

7 people like this answer

Clicking the mark as good answer button helps us highlight the best answers.

sort by

9 more answers
mark as good answer

4 people like this answer


of course it had a lot of potential, still does. The mobile world is new, and just like in the 70s and 80s when PCs first started appearing, there were a lot of different platforms available and trying to be different. From that era, only 2 companies survived in the consumer space, one of them barely. I think it's going to be similar now, but the outcome will be different. I'm sure that in the 10-15 there won't just be two major mobile companies. There will be a lot more. I think one of the main problems mobile companies have is really defining their target audience. They can't just pick to target every consumer, because every one has different needs and wants. They need to pick one or two types of consumers and go from there.

If webOS would somehow go open source, it would become more successful I think. It definitely still has potential to be the dominant mobile platform.
mark as good answer

2 people like this answer


I changed my mind while typing this answer. I was thinking, "Sure, almost anything has a chance as long the execution is good," but in retrospect webOS never had a chance. Palm and subsequently HP could not take a good mobile OS (when compared to iOS and Android) and claw out a decent percent of the market. They couldn't execute. Palm was on a downward slide (don't really know what was going on there) and maybe there was just a little too much turmoil at HP.

With RIM and Nokia handing out market share like the guys in Vegas hand out porn you would think that there would be room for webOS, but you can’t make mistakes. When you're late to the party your execution has to be damn near perfect or Microsoft, Google, and Apple are going to eat your lunch.

How well Nokia and Microsoft execute Windows Phone and Windows Phone (Windows 8 or whatever it's called) on tablets will determine their success. Like webOS we know Windows Phone is a viable OS but winning the hearts and minds with apps, hardware, and marketing will be what determines how successful it is.
mark as good answer

2 people like this answer


If they hadn't been plagued with so many delays I think they had a good chance of succeeding. When WebOS was first introduced, people got excited by the device. By the time the first Pre came out, however, people had pretty much jumped on either the iOS or Android bandwagon and had pretty much forgotten WebOS. The same pattern of behavior plagued them all the way through the release of the TouchPad. They were never able to catch up.
mark as good answer

1 person likes this answer


I want to believe it's not over, however the outlook is not promising. In the other hand, I think Palm will return, and notice I said Palm... I foresee that the Brand Will make its comeback some day, but only if WebOS survives this Curse adversity, and only if HP commits to make it work, which I believe deep down they will push for a greater implementation.
mark as good answer

1 person likes this answer


To tell you my honest opinion, The "mobile world" has just begun and is still growing at an unprecedented rate. HP is giving up on WebOS way too early in the game. There is still room for multiple players in this space. They could really make WebOS succeed if they put a stronger push on marketing and tried to attract a strong developer base. WebOS is a pretty advanced mobile operating system and is one that could gain some ground with the right people behind it.

And hey, it's better and more mature then anything RIM has right now.
mark as good answer

0 people like this answer


Apple changed the way phones are marketed with the App store and the way developers are compensated for their apps. And apps are what attract people to to smartphones. Android followed Apple's lead, and MS and RIM are desperately trying to play catch up. HP/Palm would have had to offer some pretty serious incentives to app developers to spend their time coding for another platform. In the end, it was too little, too late, too much competition. RIP Palm.

PS - Windows Phone 7 and RIM, watch your backs. The technology grim reaper is not far behind you.
mark as good answer

0 people like this answer


I firmly believe it's not over yet. Look to samsung as the next great hope for webos
mark as good answer

0 people like this answer


@fraseringermany--do they though? Doesn't Samsung have their own OS (Bada), and of course, Android? The Google-Motorola deal I don't think means that they'll pull the plug with Samsung, HTC, LG, etc.
mark as good answer

0 people like this answer


14 users following this question, including:

  • Ktulu1
  • EBone
  • photosban
  • danfowler
  • ArmpitOfDeath
  • luc
  • roberto
  • jlashley
  • dbag65
  • dave

This question has been viewed 1367 times.
Last activity .