With the death of Hewlett-Packard
Comp.'s (HPQ) webOS project, the sharks
in the blogosphere are already circling eager to reveal unique aspects of the
story and what went on.
report surfaced on The Next Web, earlier today, claiming,
"[T]he company's webOS operating system was running 'over twice as fast' on
its rival’s iPad 2 tablet, a source close to the subject revealed."
The report goes on to argue that webOS' rough edges were largely an artifact of
its dated hardware.
Now this is somewhat plausible, were in not for the devices' actual hardware.
The biggest culprit of "slow" performance on a multi-tasking
device is typically the memory -- but the TouchPad had a full 1 GB of DDR2,
compared to the anemic 512 MB in Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPad 2.
TouchPad is equipped with a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) SnapDragon APQ8060,
a dual-core A8 architecture ARM chip. By contrast iPad 2 does pack a
more advanced A9 architecture dual-core design, but it's clocked at only 1 GHz.
It's very possible that webOS was tested on the iPad 2, and it's very possible
that with the A9 chip it ran slightly faster, particularly when only a few apps
were running (e.g. when CPU was the limiting factor, not memory). But
it's highly probable that The Next Web took what was likely an
off-the-cuff remark out of context.
We're not discounting HP and its webOS unit had some problems delivering
competitive hardware, which we
wrote was a major cause of the OS's sales failure and subsequent
demise. However, the TouchPad was arguably HP/webOS's strongest device
And no matter how slow it was, jilted webOS team members can't blame the bugs
and flaws reviewers found (including the generally pro-webOS reviewers
at AnandTech) in many apps on the hardware. In the wake
of the collapse, many will likely be playing the blame game, but in this case
there's plenty of blame to go around in all departments -- business planning,
hardware design, OS design, product testing, etc.