webOS is a great mobile operating system. Even for those who aren’t a fan of the software, there’s no denying that webOS is a benchmark in its distinctiveness and creativity in the mobile OS market. Palm created something that bolsters multitasking, and released it at a time where the “King of Phones” wasn’t so thrilled to do more than one thing at a time. But, over the lifetime of webOS, the software has been marred by lackluster hardware. Or, perhaps more accurately, a lack of interesting hardware upgrades. And with the HP Veer and HP Pre 3 on the horizon, I can’t help but wonder if Palm’s strategy for smartphones since the launch of webOS, which I see as more hit-or-miss than anything else, has been carried over to HP.
The article would have been called “Palm’s hit-or-miss strategy,” but obviously Palm’s absorption into HP means this is now HP’s strategy. Or so it seems. Why am I saying it’s a hit or miss strategy? Because I feel like the higher-ups and designers at HP/Palm know, full well, that the Pre 2 wasn’t going to sell well. There’s no way they could have known it would have done as poorly as it did, especially when carriers started shying away from the handset entirely, but that’s what happened. It had upgraded internals, sure, but the design wasn’t unique anymore. Without hardware, you can’t sell the software.
And now we’ve got not only the Pre 3 coming out, but also the Veer; both of which take more than just inspiration from the original Pre, Pre Plus, and even the Pre 2. The differences come in the features. The Pre 3 is a bigger device, with a faster processor under the hood and webOS 3 running the show. While the Veer? That’s a smaller device, but with upgraded internals under the hood nevertheless. Upgraded when compared to the original Pre, but less so when put up against the Pre 3, or even the Pre 2. But, that may make sense considering the smaller form factor.
To me, the Veer is the miss, and the Pre 3 is the hit. Even if the Veer is meant to attract the attention of those who want a great mobile operating system in a smaller package, there’s no reason to throw a slower processor under the hood. Sure, there’s nothing really wrong with an 800MHz processor when it’s put to its full potential, and the operating system in question isn’t taxing it to death, but in today’s market the majority want a faster processor. The majority want high-end specifications even in a small package.
It’s almost like HP is ready to forfeit the Veer, because they know someone, several people maybe, will buy it. While the Pre 3 should do well in the global market, there’s no guarantee for its success. And then there’s the TouchPad – the first tablet device to feature webOS. These two latter devices are surely meant to be the selling point of webOS, while the Veer is just there to replace the Pixi and Pixi Plus, while still showcasing the design aesthetics of the Pre.
Before the end of 2011, I want to see HP come forward and showcase a new smartphone design. I want to see something in the hardware department from the company that bought up Palm that piques my interest just like the original Pre did. Truth is, I’m bored of the design, and I want something new to show off when I gloat about webOS.
What do you think of HP’s smartphone strategy? Are you hoping something new comes sooner rather than later? Let me know in the comments below.