Is it smart for HP to exclude the existing Palm line from webOS 2.0?

Lauren Stern
Columnist from  Philadelphia, PA
| February 28, 2011

webOS 2.0

As I mull over the new webOS devices that will be hitting the market in the coming months and what I hope to be a successful “re-launch” of webOS under the auspices of HP, I can’t help but feel slightly stung in the process.   Being a webOS supporter, who has anxiously and patiently awaited the next generation of webOS and devices, the recent announcement of no 2.0 updates to the existing Pres and Pixis left me feeling disappointed.  In my attempt to comprehend this turn of events and find a justification that I can get on board with, here is the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, as I see it.

The Good

The official explanation for denying the update has been that the current devices don’t have the processing power or capability to run webOS 2.0.  Obviously, I am no techie, so this may very well be the case.   However, I do have some trouble really understanding this explanation because we have been hearing for months that the2.0 update was on its way, arriving in Spring or Q1 2011.  I find it hard to believe that if the current devices are not capable of running 2.0, we wouldn’t have known this months ago.  Why tell us one thing (i.e. webOS 2.0 updates coming soon), get us excited with all the flash of the newly announced webOS devices, and then seemingly pull the carpet out from under us when we least expect it?  Maybe the rumor-mill is to blame, but the timing of this not-so-good news for current webOS users is interesting to say the least.

Official statements aside, I can say that if webOS is going to succeed, it needs sales and it can certainly generate more sales if users feel the need to upgrade.  Also, if webOS is to break out from the shadows of its competitors, it needs consumers to see the latest version of webOS on the devices with the best specs.  This will lead to the greatest webOS experience and impression, for both current users and the users we hope to sway from other smartphones.  So maybe there is something to be said for some forward movement.

The Bad

No update means that current webOS users will be forced to make a decision over the next few months.  Upgrade or be left behind the technology curve.  Whether it’s financial reasons or principle holding you back, if you don’t upgrade, you’ll likely be watching the new possibilities for webOS unfold without the ability to experience them.

I don’t know about you, but I have been waiting for the opportunity to use Skype on my Pre Plus.  No 2.0 means no Skype … as well as many other features and applications.

The Ugly

The number one rule of business and marketing is that it’s easier to maintain customers than to get new ones.  So while many webOS users out there will surely upgrade once the new devices are released, how many will be left disgruntled, disillusioned and disappointed?  I would hate to see a lack of updates to the current devices turn users off from webOS altogether.

That being said, there is hope.  HP and Jon Rubinstein have announced that there will be "something special" for the current webOS users.  A rebate or special pricing on new devices?  I have no idea, but yet again, I am anxiously awaiting “something.”  Hasn’t that just been the story of webOS?

Image via Switched