webOS – now what’s next?

I am a die-hard user of Palm webOS from the start – I got a Palm Pre on its release day here in Germany and also got a Pre+, a Pre2, a HP Veer, Touchpad and a HP Pre3. After HP killed webOS, I also grabbed a Palm Pixi+ and another Pre as backup devices. Even though it sounds crazy, I have spent a lot of money on a discontinued operating system running on hardware which looks pretty dated in 2013.
Still, I love to use my Touchpad. The ui is still awesome, the user experience in the system and most apps are something I am missing with current systems. Still, the keyboard of the Touchpad is unmatched (just my personal view).

Last year in December my Pre3 died. It was horrible. I could not resist getting a more current model, so I ordered a Nokia Lumia 820 running Windows Phone 8. It is a cool device. The operating system shows that you do not need to copy from others to build a great user experience, the hardware is great – yes, its Nokia, so I should not need to mention that. The system runs fast and smooth, there are a lot of apps and many things important to me are built into the system – people hub, skydrive integration, a fast mail-client. Nevertheless the system just does not feel right to me, so I am always looking for alternatives. I will not run Android or iOS due to ‚religious reasons‘, so there are only a handful of options left.

I had high hopes in the BB10 devices coming from Blackberry. The OS looks great and took a lot of inspiration from webOS imho. It has a lot of nice features and app support seems to be sufficient for my needs. The devices, on the other side, were rather disapponting (for me). Z10 and Q10 have decent design, but they are way too huge. Although having the same screen size as my Lumia, they look like small tablets, so I did not get comfortable with them (as I feel my Lumia already is a bit too large).

FirefoxOS looks very promising – running on hardware with low specs and tightly integrating with the web, coming on a number of cheap devices. Many elements of the ui seem familiar from other systems like Symbian, Android or Meego. I do not know yet if this is working out for me personally, for a lot of other people it will do so for sure. On the plus side, closing an app by swiping it to the top of the screen is very appealing for a user of webOS, as well as sticking to web technology as far as possible. Now that these devices are available in Germany, I will check out the system in daily use – the phones are really very cheap even when compared to other low-end smartphones running Android or the Nokia Asha-series.

Then, there is SailfishOS running on a soon-to-come device built by Jolla. I would have loved to own a Nokia N9 – it just was not available in Germany officially – so this device is very tempting. The OS is looking impressive so far, taking new routes in user experience that seem to be very intuitive. I have reserved myself a preorder-number and will see if I can get a device as it arrives at the end of the year or the start of next year.

Until then, I will use my Lumia and take some stints with the Pre2 or the Veer. Sadly, I have now hopes in new webOS hardware coming from HP or LG…

And what about tablets? This is an even more complicated field. There are little true competitors to my Touchpad – assuming I do not want to use iOS or Android. If there would be a small tablet featuring mobile broadband connectivity running e.g. Windows 8.1, I could give it a try. I have no sightings of this by now, though.