A Little bit of Mobile History

For the longest time I’ve been a fan of mobile computer. It started with devices like the Newton and RIM and now I’m building mobile apps for Android and iOS. Along the way I’ve had the fortune of watching history being made. One company that seem to have a very bright future was Palm.

In the beginning Palm was revolutionary for all the things it didn’t do. While the Newton tried to be a portable computer, Palm focused on phone numbers, calendars, etc. It didn’t try to do handwriting recognition but instead invented a new, simpler, letter set. With the introduction of the Palm V the Palm got sexy. Palm had the good sense to pair up with IDEO and the result was a thin PDA that people wanted to own.

Between then and now something happened. Actually quiet a bit happened. At one point an acquaintance moved his family out to CA so he could work for Palm. When I spoke with him about what was coming down the pipe he went on and on about the web and building on the web. At the time I didn’t quiet understan what he was going on about but then I saw webOS and the light went on.

I was impressed, the concept/implementation made sense and a moment later the company was snapped up by HP. I thought that HP saw the light too but the next moment HP decided to kill webOS and just as quickly webOS decided to open source webOS. Now, it’s all dead. The webOS team migrated to Google and it seems that the open source webOS is on the fast track to NO WHERE.

I got the chance to write some code for the HP TouchPad and it wasn’t half bad. It seemed like a fun platform that basically needed more work but had lot of potential. The Linux base made an interesting platform and I was looking forward to understanding webOS better.

All of this is a very long way of pointing to a rather interesting article written by the guys over at The Verge called Pre to postmortem: the inside story of the death of Palm and webOS. It details the ins and out/ups and downs of Palm/webOS. It’s well written and worth the time.

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