Archive for WebOS

HP to ‘ultimately’ get back into the smartphone business

HP HP to ‘ultimately’ get back into the smartphone businessIn yet another case of a Hewlett-Packard CEO reversing the mistakes of her predecessor, Meg Whitman has told Fox Business that “we have to ultimately offer a smartphone” and “we are working on this.”

Former CEO Leo Apotheker discontinued operations for webOS in August 2011, which Whitman promptly turned into an open source platform upon assuming control of the company. In her most recent interview, Whitman admitted that HP “took a detour” with smartphones and that “we’ve got to get it right this time.” But it has to be good, not necessarily fast to market.

HP could be planning to use its webOS platform, or it might switch to one of the bigger operating systems like Windows Phone or Android. The company isn’t ready to say. But HP is definitely getting back into the smartphone business, regardless of which OS the devices end up running.

[Fox Business via Engadget]

Researchers blame flash memory for smartphone slowdowns

microSD Card Researchers blame flash memory for smartphone slowdownsFlash memory is all well and good, but what if it’s the cause of many smartphone performance issues? Researchers claim that there is a big link between poor performing smartphones and many of the top selling flash memory cards, causing slowdowns in WiFi connectivity. Results varied wildly, averaging a performance decline of between 100% and 300%, even plummeting 2,000% in one instance.

The reason for this is simple: there is little quality control when it comes to flash memory cards. Two identical cards will often have very different benchmarks, making it difficult to recommend a particular brand or class.

This, in fact, is the very reason why Microsoft has all but banned expandable memory via microSD cards in Windows Phone. A few select first-generation handsets–most notably the Samsung Focus–supported permanent expandable memory with microSD, but Microsoft refused to support that use case scenario and manufacturers let customers do it at their own risk. There are rumors that the Apollo update might usher in some form of official support, but it’s all rumor and speculation at this point.

Android, on the other hand, fully supports removable microSD cards. Unfortunately, the most popular 16GB embedded flash memory cards caused a wide variety of performance issues and drops in battery life. That’s not to say that all flash memory card are bad, but it’s certainly a somewhat risky scenario.

In a world where most people are concerned about the processor, screen, and battery life, it’s easy to overlook just how much flash memory can affect the device. Thankfully, the researchers have a few ideas on how to improve flash memory in the future. But until these issues are resolved and flash memory has better quality control, you should be wary of buying cheap flash memory. Unless, of course, you like a slow smartphone.

[Revisiting Storage for Smartphones via Computerworld]

Android and Windows Phone need a common denominator

044 2 Android and Windows Phone need a common denominator

It seems now more than ever that everyone you know has a big screen in their pocket. I’m not necessarily saying everyone has an HTC TITAN, rather that most people you come across have some sort of smartphone with a decently sized screen they enjoy watching movies on and listening to music. For a lot of people, it’s become their all in one device. Why carry another mp3 player (for most people) when you’ve got 8, 16, or 32GB of music available on your phone? After all, Windows Phones have Zune built in, and Android has Google Music among others. But, how many of you Android and Windows Phone users are able to plug your phones into your car, a stereo dock, an alarm clock, etc? This is where things get tricky for non-iOS users, and frankly this is one reason why people stick with Apple. Continue reading…

Open webOS 1.0 coming in September, Enyo source code available now

Enjo Open webOS 1.0 coming in September, Enyo source code available now2011 was a difficult year for webOS, due largely in part to HP’s sudden discontinuation and just as sudden revival of the platform. HP, however, hopes to help webOS compete in the smartphone market by releasing it to the open source community. The company announced its 2012 roadmap on Wednesday, starting with the release of the Enyo 2.0 application framework and culminating in the release of Open webOS 1.0 in September.

HP is replacing the current webOS kernel with a standard Linux kernel, allowing the operating system to run on nearly every Android handset with just a few driver updates. This will greatly simplify the lives of OEMs, and the development community should be able to throw webOS on any number of existing devices. The transition to the Linux standard kernel will happen in March, but those interested in the Open webOS beta will have to wait until August.

The changes to Enyo are just as massive. Version 2.0 eschews its reliance on WebKit in favor of complete browser-independence. As a result, users will be able to run webOS apps in any modern browser. That means webOS apps on Android, Windows Phone, and iPhone, as well as on any computer running a recent version of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.

Whether or not manufacturers will choose to adopt webOS is still unknown, but the platform certainly has potential. It could very well be a viable alternative for OEMs interested in an open source OS but hesitant to enter the patent infringement-laden world of Android.

[HP webOS Developer Blog via Pocketables]

HP revives webOS as an open source platform

HP webOS HP revives webOS as an open source platform

As with HP’s Personal Systems Group before it, webOS appears to have narrowly avoided discontinuation. In a Friday press release, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman announced her decision to turn webOS into an open source platform, allowing HP’s engineers and its dedicated community of developers to help shape the future of the mobile OS. This decision is a direct reversal of that of her predecessor, Leo Apotheker, who discontinued operations for webOS before he was replaced by the HP board of directors in September.

In her statement, Whitman touted the cloud connectivity and scalability of webOS, which the open source community will be able to leverage to “advance a new generation of applications and devices.” As part of this announcement, HP plans to release the webOS codebase under an open source license. It will do the same with ENYO, the webOS application framework, in the “near future.”

Of course, HP doesn’t plan to wash its hands of the platform. The company has promised to be an “active participant and investor in the project.” HP also aims to help the open source community avoid fragmentation while “accelerating the open development of the webOS platform.”

This is good news for many webOS developers, who may have been looking into investing their time and energy into other platforms. But will it make much of a difference in the long run? The webOS software lives, but a resurgence of webOS hardware from HP is highly unlikely. If HP wants to turn webOS into a viable competitor to Android and Windows Phone, it will have to convince a lot of hardware manufacturers to join its cause.

Update: We’re now receiving reports that, shockingly, HP is indeed considering webOS hardware. Tablets, to be exact. Things are still in flux at this point, but Whitman doesn’t believe the company’s line of webOS smartphones will return.

[HP via Nothing But Tablets]

HP preparing to separate webOS hardware and software divisions

HP webOS HP preparing to separate webOS hardware and software divisions

Hewlett-Packard is reportedly preparing to separate its webOS hardware and software divisions. Just over two weeks ago, the company announced that it would be “discontinuing operations for webOS” and looking into ways to detach itself from its PC division. Possible options include spinning it off into its own company, selling off the division, or shutting it down entirely.

The separation isn’t much of a surprise, but it shows that HP wants to keep webOS around on the software front. Splitting webOS and moving the software portion out of the Personal Systems Group (PSG) and into the Office of Strategy and Technology (OS&T) will allow HP to discard the webOS hardware alongside the PSG. HP plans to follow in IBM’s footsteps and reinvent itself as a software company. While it no longer wants to manufacture webOS devices, HP is very interested in licensing the platform to other companies.

“We have decided that we’ll be most effective in [leveraging the webOS software and growing its applications environment] by having the teams in webOS software engineering, worldwide developer relations, and webOS software product marketing join the Office of Strategy and Technology,” wrote Todd Bradley, the Vice President of the PSG. “This change is effective immediately.”

The full text of Bradley’s internal memo can be read after the break.  Continue reading…

Microsoft consoles webOS developers with free phones

Brandon Watson Speaks to webOS Devs Microsoft consoles webOS developers with free phones

Microsoft’s Brandon Watson, the Director of Developer Experience for Windows Phone, gave his support to webOS developers on Friday, offering to console them with anything they need to be successful on Microsoft’s platform. Any developer with a published webOS application is eligible for a free Windows Phone Mango handset, developer tools, training, and more.

HP, of course, sent shockwaves through the tech industry this week with the announcement that it is discontinuing operations for webOS and looking into getting rid of its PC unit. The Palo Alto hardware giant plans to keep the webOS brand, possibly licensing it to other companies like HTC. But developers are understandably worried.

A flood of webOS developers have already taken him up on his offer. The always-helpful Watson has promised to personally respond to each developer because “they deserve it.” Once a connection is established with the developer, they are turned over to one of Microsoft’s regional mobile champs for personal attention.

[Brandon Watson via CNET]

Hewlett-Packard discontinues operations for webOS

HP webOS Hewlett Packard discontinues operations for webOS

In a surprising move, Hewlett-Packard announced on Thursday that it plans to shut down operations for its webOS division. This news coincides with the company’s decision to “explore strategic alternatives” for its PC unit, be it selling or spinning off the business.

The world’s number one PC manufacturer brought in revenue of $32.1 billion last quarter, but it wasn’t enough. HP plans to wind down operations for webOS–specifically the Pre, TouchPad, and Veer product lines–by the end of the fourth quarter. Whether or not this refers to the end of HP’s fiscal year in September or the end of the calendar year was not specified. Depending on what happens, the Pre 3 might not be released in the US.

HP doesn’t intend to completely shut down webOS, which the company obtained as part of its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm last year. “HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.” Stephen DeWitt, Vice President of the webOS Global Business Unit, repeatedly reassured employees that “we are not walking away from webOS.” HP most likely intends to license the mobile operating system to other hardware manufacturers like Samsung and HTC. Of course, webOS would have to undergo some modifications, as it was designed for a specific Qualcomm chipset.

The discontinuation of webOS marks the second smartphone operating system to pull out of the market this year–Nokia is phasing out Symbian in favor of Windows Phone–leaving the mobile market with just four contenders: Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, and Windows Phone. It will be interesting to see what happens.

[Hewlett-Packard]

Eric Schmidt slams the competition, but should he?

ES 560x280 Eric Schmidt slams the competition, but should he?

A couple days ago, Eric Schmidt was speaking at a Google conference in Asia about the future of the company. Asia is a monster market that everyone has their eyes on for the foreseeable future. Google is putting a lot of effort into their entire ecosystem in the region, and it should pay off if they play their cards right.

However, the conversation soon drifted to Google’s, specifically Android’s competition in the mobile market. With lawsuits flying left and right against Android, but not directly linked to Google, the industry has been thrown into a huge melting pot. Schmidt had this to say: “competitors are responding with lawsuits as they cannot respond through innovations…….(he’s) not too worried about this.” In regards to the second lawsuit against HTC, Schmidt said ”we will make sure they don’t lose.” Does he have a case? Read on for one humble mans opinion. Continue reading…

IDC keeps Windows Phone in second place by 2015

IDC Logo 560x224 IDC keeps Windows Phone in second place by 2015

IDC shocked technology enthusiasts around the world by predicting that Windows Phone would surge from a low single-digit market share to more than 20% in just a few short years. The following weeks brought forth similar claims from two more analyst groups: Gartner and Pyramid Research. More than a few people scoffed at these numbers, but IDC’s latest report backs up their original claim.

Continue reading…