The Cloud Has a Dark Lining

How long do you think the webOS app catalog will continue to operate after the last #webOS device has been sold? - Rod Whitby of webosinternals!/webosinternals/status/132564454041858048

It’s something of a sobering wake up call which is happening more and more often these days. We’re becoming addicted to Cloud Computing; a concept which has a huge weakness in that it is heavily dependent on servers owned by companies which often prove to be unreliable.

Barring a sudden attack of competence from HP or a sale to a better company, webOS appears to be the latest cloud platform on the verge of being abandoned by its corporate master. If and when that happens things are going to get very hard for webOS users because webOS devices are heavily dependent on cloud services. They need HP’s servers for the App Catalog and for the Synergy synchronization system. And while webosinternals has worked hard to provide a “survival kit” for webOS hardware owners; this is very much a by geeks for geeks solution which most users will likely never use.

And it’s a shame because webOS has always had great advantages over other mobile platforms. More powerful than iOS and more intuitive than Android; webOS was probably the most most elegant mobile operating system ever created.

WebOS powers the last products put out by Palm which once dominated the mobile PDA and smartphone market with PalmOS. Ironically enough ancient PalmOS phones and PDAs are likely to outlast webOS devices since they don’t require any activation to be used. Even an unactivated PalmOS phone can serve as a powerful electronic organizer and modest, if outdated computer. An unactivated webOS phone or tablet by contrast is a rock - specifically a smooth, polished river stone. And therein lies the tyranny of the Cloud. Even as our gadgets become more connected and more powerful, they are less capable of serving as standalone computers. And that saddens me.

"If you want to buy a phone that is guaranteed to get system updates on the day they’re released, iOS is still the only option."

‘We Can’t Guarantee Anything’ « carpeaqua Justin Williams, who’s getting fed up with Microsoft’s persistent and embarrassing bungling of the Windows Phone update process. (via taylorcarrigan)

This isn’t entirely true. Or rather it wasn’t always true.

When the Palm Pre and Pixi debuted, Palm was highly committed to providing regular system updates for webOS. Between June 2009 and 2010, Palm provided ten updates for its webOS devices. Then they got bought out by HP and and the system updates dried up. And now people who bought the original Palm Pre on Sprint are left with nothing but webOS 1.4.5 and vague promises that someday HP will “make things right.”

It’s amazing to me that the biggest computer company in the world can be so incompetent. And it’s even more amazing to me that Microsoft seems bent on becoming even more incompetent than that….No wonder Apple is eating their lunch.

(via taylorcarrigan)