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.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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