Palm WebOS 1.4 Worked Wonders

HP Pre3 WebOS phone
HP Pre3 WebOS phone (Photo credit: Tom Raftery)

A big leap – from webOS to webOS 1.4 indeed. Had Palm bundled out this version initially when they launced the Palm Pre last June 2009, it could have probably taken some bite off Apple’s iPhone -or, even Blackberry’s – stranglehold on the smartphone market!

webOS 1.4 was the “real webOS” Palm was suppose to showcase their new smartphone at the 2009 CES in Las Vegas, but dwindling revenues and pressure from Palm’s biggest investor – Elevation Partners– to put out a product as soon as possible, probably resulted in the initial version that lacked a not only video recording capability but also was too slow and sucked-up power too quickly from the battery.

But, why is the iPhone still so popular compared to Palm’s Pre and Pixi running webOS 1.4  when the iPhone simply runs on a mobile version of Mac OS X?  Three reasons:

1) Long time Apple fans.  Apple had been in the personal computer business for too long and has an established cult following.  These are the same folks who bought iPhones when they were initially released.

2) Hardware elegance and software reliablity.  Like their iMacs, MacBooks and Mac Pros, the iPhone was so elegantly designed using top-notched materials.  While the Palm Pre could stand up to the iPhone with its well-conceived and elegant industrial design as well, the materials they used on the Pre could not.  The Pres used too much plastic & screens that cracked very easily when the USB charging cable was recklessly attached.

3) Steve Jobs.  Steve is the ultimate tech hardware showman.  And he really knows how to whet the appetites of long time Apple fans as well as new ones.