Print 24 comment(s) - last by Mitch101.. on Aug 22 at 7:59 PM

WebOS only appeared unresponsive due to slow hardware

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.

surprising 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 (AAPLiPad 2.

The 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 hardware-wise.

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.

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How did HP run WebOS on iPad 2?
By Fox5 on 8/19/11, Rating: 0
RE: How did HP run WebOS on iPad 2?
By MrTeal on 8/19/2011 11:19:41 AM , Rating: 5
You only need to jailbreak if you want to keep iOS on the tablet. It's not as simple as loading a different OS on a PC, but do you need to hack Windows in order to install linux on a desktop?

RE: How did HP run WebOS on iPad 2?
By Aikouka on 8/19/2011 11:34:33 AM , Rating: 3
That was my first thought when I read this as well. I'm betting that they did not install it on an iPad 2, but perhaps a development board/kit using similar hardware.

RE: How did HP run WebOS on iPad 2?
By kmmatney on 8/19/2011 11:39:03 AM , Rating: 2
I was able to JB my iPad2 no problem - took about 1 minute, and I was good to go.

RE: How did HP run WebOS on iPad 2?
By kmmatney on 8/19/2011 11:40:32 AM , Rating: 1
meant to add, that there is really no reason at all to run WebOS (or Android) on an iPad, when you can Jailbreak iOS so easily (as long as you don't update the OS before you try to Jailbreak).

RE: How did HP run WebOS on iPad 2?
By Samus on 8/19/2011 12:52:40 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, right, and I'm running Windows 7 on my HTC G1 faster than my Quad-core PC can.

I don't know what they're trying to start with this, but even if WebOS ran on an iPad 2, the only way it could have been faster with half the RAM is if half the device drivers weren't loaded (which is likely to happen as the hardware specs are entirely different: wifi module, bluetooth, camera, sensors, audio, GPU acceleration, etc etc.)

Windows XP is really fast in safe-mode, too.

RE: How did HP run WebOS on iPad 2?
By theapparition on 8/22/2011 9:46:32 AM , Rating: 2
the only way it could have been faster with half the RAM is if half the device drivers weren't loaded

Only true if memory is the limiting factor. If RAM was never a factor, then doubling it does nothing.

I'd suspect that most of the speed increase would be due to the signifigantly better GPU in the iPad2. That is of course if you believe all the findings of this report.

By Mitch101 on 8/22/2011 7:59:36 PM , Rating: 2
The performance problem is HP has logging turned up way to high on the device.

How to improve the performance of your new HP TouchPad

Once these three homebrew patches are applied, and no problem is created when you do, the TouchPad becomes as fast as any tablet on the market based on my real-world experience.

When you done follow the article to overclock it.

RE: How did HP run WebOS on iPad 2?
By B-Unit on 8/19/11, Rating: 0
By zozzlhandler on 8/19/2011 10:33:16 AM , Rating: 2
Any chance I could buy one of these cheap and get Android running on it?

RE: Android?
By joedon3 on 8/19/2011 10:39:33 AM , Rating: 4
You did catch the part where it said that the OS was actually pretty darn good and the hardware was crap, right? Why would you want this hardware?

RE: Android?
By phatboye on 8/19/2011 10:49:07 AM , Rating: 3
Any chance I could buy one of these cheap and get Android running on it?

The keyword that he said was cheap

RE: Android?
By Taft12 on 8/19/2011 11:02:04 AM , Rating: 2
You'll be able to get one VERY cheap soon (I'll hold out for a $99 refurb)

A8 based?
By dagamer34 on 8/19/2011 10:47:12 AM , Rating: 3
I am pretty sure that the Qualcomm line of CPUs isn't A8 or A9 based at all. The long diverged from ARMs designs. They are ARM instruction-set compatible however.

Regardless, the slow performance of the TouchPad is NOT the CPU. AnandTech ran some benchmarks of the MSM8x60 a few months ago (note that the AQP8060 is the same as the MSM8x60 line, except it doesn't have the mobile baseband built into the SoC) and it was pretty good.

The results clearly show that a 1.5Ghz MSM8x60 chip handily beats all other SoCs out there (even down clocked to 1.2 Ghz which the TouchPad runs at, I think it'd be a respectible competitor).

Based on this evidence, it's reasonable to conclude that the hardware isn't at fault, but the software running on it.

RE: A8 based?
By cruisin3style on 8/19/2011 2:53:53 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you, I've owned both the Palm Pixi Plus and the LG Optimus V which apparently have the same 600mhz processor but the Palm w/ webOS stutters at times especially in games or apps, but the LG is smooth as butter (so far) running Android 2.2 (webOS is version 1.4.5 i think, or is it 1.45)

Noob Question
By ShaolinSoccer on 8/19/2011 11:05:18 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry for the nooby question but what is the FSB speed for these tablets? I see talk about CPU and memory but is there a difference in how fast the FSB is for each tablet? It does work similar to a regular PC, right?

RE: Noob Question
By Fritzr on 8/20/2011 12:07:41 AM , Rating: 2
Apple Insider is showing iPad as 100Mhz & iPad2 as 250Mhz memory clock

On the Palm Developer forum there is a statement that the Touchpad can be either 266Mhz or 333Mhz depending on the memory installed.

Both use LPDDR2 so the effective memory speed is double the clock speed

Touchpad's WebOS is apparently a Linux based OS, so this might be a good cheap tablet for Linux hackers also :)

By ltcommanderdata on 8/19/2011 10:51:05 AM , Rating: 3

In response to a direct question about licensing to HTC or Samsung, HP VP Todd Bradley pointed out that, to date, webOS is designed to work on a single set of silicon — Qualcomm — and that many potential licensees would likely want to see webOS support other chipsets. He did not elaborate further on potential partners.

Just yesterday HP said the limitation with licensing WebOS to third-paries is that it currently only supports Qualcomm SoCs. Snapdragon has a custom ARM architecture implementation different from Cortex A8 and Cortex A9, so this certainly limits portability without some rework. Now suddenly they have WebOS running on Apple's A5. Which is it? Unless HP management themselves don't know what hardware their OS can and can not run on, which would certainly explain complaints of lack of performance optimization.

HP Touchpad CPU
By SnapDragon429 on 8/19/2011 6:27:25 PM , Rating: 2
-The HTC EVO 3D is listed to use the 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 (MSM8660)

-Toucpad is listed to use the 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core APQ8060 processor

According to the June 2011 Qualcomm Snapdragon Product Brief, the MSM8660 and the APQ8060 are the identical processor, just under a different name:

The Touchpad and the EVO 3D have the same exact CPU and chipset in them, running at the exact same speed. Knowing this, I don't believe that HP Engineers were running Web OS twice as fast on an iPad 2. This story is BOGUS!!!!!

I have an EVO 3D and an iPad 2 and the 3D is just as fast, if not faster than the iPad 2, just as smooth, and just as crisp. Anybody with an EVO 3D will tell you how FAST it is.

What that also means, is that Web OS should install on an EVO 3D very easily.

PR nonsense
By Bozzified on 8/22/2011 2:03:29 AM , Rating: 2
It's not the hardware that's the problem. Anandtech has a great article showing that hardware is fantastic. This is all WebOS really.

This whole TouchPad hardware is crap is Apple PR campaign. They know that HP touchpad sales will kill a lot of ipad2 sales because nobody will be buying an ipad2 if they get touchpad for $99 and this is a big problem, so Apple PR shills and fanboys are working overtime crapping on touchpad and trying to spread fud so people would be hesitant to buy it.

Reality is that touchpad hardware is fantastic and for $99 its a steal, especially once android is ported to it as its already being done.

By melgross on 8/19/11, Rating: -1
RE: Bah!
By MrTeal on 8/19/2011 11:02:05 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, you completely missed the entire point of the discussion.

Reread, think and resubmit. The WebOS dev team claimed that WebOS ran faster on the iPad2 hardware than on the HP TouchPad hardware . iOS is nowhere in the comparison.

RE: Bah!
By MrBlastman on 8/19/2011 11:27:36 AM , Rating: 1
Who are you, Steve Jobs? With a quote like this I almost think you are:

Most multitasking on a tablet isn't required, despite what a few people want to believe.

Speak for yourself but don't try and speak for all of us. Some of us want to push our hardware to the limits and have it do many things at once. I'm one of them.

As such, I'm just going to continue waiting until a true predecessor to the tricorder is invented. ;)

RE: Bah!
By drycrust3 on 8/19/2011 5:59:34 PM , Rating: 1
A little anti iPad prejudice here?

Jason looked at the claim that WebOS (presumably the current version) ran faster on an iPad2 than on the current Touchpad (which was designed to run that software), and that this was because the hardware in the iPad was better than in the Touchpad.
HP has a tradition of priding itself on reliable and up to date hardware, so right away this claim sounds suspect, and Jason showed that as far as he could tell in the absence of any proof of the claim, that the hardware on the Touchpad was superior to that on the iPad2, so one would expect WebOS to have run better on the Touchpad than on the iPad2. Since they were designed and built in different years by teams with different design briefs, then that isn't bias, that is what everyone would expect. Bias would be if Jason claimed that an iPad2 with an inferior cpu and less memory to a Touchpad did indeed outperformed the Touchpad when running identical software without proving it.
I think Jason's article was about as fair and impartial as one could expect considering the claims made.
Sure, this is an emotional time for the employees involved, but HP has decided that this isn't a path it wants to go along, and in part the reason for this was the employees themselves. They needed to know what their competitors were doing and they needed to know why those products were getting rave reviews and theirs didn't, and they needed to listen to customers' complaints and why customers wanted to return recently bought products, but they didn't do those things. "The customer is always right" is an old cliché, and whether we like it or not they are the ones with the money, and customers voted with their feet and walked away from HP products, and voted with their money and gave it to Apple and Samsung.
The sad fact is that if HP want to be involved in consumer products (and it is looking like they don't) then they have to get this right because the mobile world is the world of the future. If HP don't have a "wow" tablet type computer in the stores by next Christmas (and a "I need that" smart phone as well) they could well be history as far as the general public are concerned.

"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs
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