We like Palm, and we like HP. We’re even partners with them on some levels. However, the failure to properly follow through on their commitment to deliver webOS 2.0 for all webOS devices keeps getting worse. We can only bullet-point the chain of events at this point, in “graphic” detail below:
* Palm commits to webOS 2.0 for all devices. Notes that original Pixi on Sprint won’t get Flash.
* HP acquires Palm.
* HP announces new devices and announces webOS 3.0. Later that night, HP says Pre, Pre Plus, Pixi, Pixi Plus won’t get webOS 2.0 as previously promised.
* HP explains the next day that the devices couldn’t handle webOS 2.0 well, promises “something special” to make up for it down the road.
* O2 issues Palm Pre Plus update to webOS 2.1 in Europe. Flash and Voice Dialing are missing from the update.
* HP changes position to saying that “some devices” will not be updated to webOS 2.x. HP tacitly acknowledges the O2 European Pre Plus has been updated to webOS 2.1.
* HP changes position again, saying that it is up to carriers to decide if their Palm Pre (Plus) will be updated to webOS 2.1.
* AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon all fail to respond to PhoneNews.com requests as to if they will offer webOS 2.1 on their Palm Pre (Plus).
And now, you’re up to date. User pressure will likely determine if HP will offer a webOS 2.1 upgrade for the Pre and Pixi family in the United States at this point. The code base is clearly there to do it, however, the lack of Flash, Voice Dialing, and some apparent wish to treat the software as unsupported have HP and carrier relations strained. Clearly, HP wishes to devote carrier testing time to new devices, and not exhaust it on old devices that sell for $49 on Woot-style sites.
Considering the PR blunder that HP has run into with this experience however, and customers whose first impression of webOS may be a $50 Palm Pixi Plus, it is our opinion that the best thing HP could do is offer an unofficial webOS Doctor on their web site… and let the users decide which webOS to run on their devices.
It is unlikely, again, in our opinion, that carriers would cry foul over such a resolution.