When is a WebOS “OK”?

So I’ve been wondering for a while now as product announcements get made and the online and press communities react: when is a WebOS a good thing?

Specifically, for instance, when Apple first announced the iPhone, it provided developers with a WebOS based API set for delivering applications to end users, including the ability to run multiple applications at once. This was immediately trashed by just about everyone.

However, when Palm announced they were ditching their traditional c/c++ based OS and replacing it with a WebOS, the same people who trashed Apple for the same decision were gushing over what a brilliant move Palm was making. And they are equally thrilled about Google’s WebOS announcement.

Perhaps it was because Apple didn’t try and come up with a clever marketing term (ie, WebOS) and instead just called it what it was, a development environment based on a Safari. Both Palm and Google are providing exactly the same thing, a traditional OS at the core with a sophisticated web browser as the “operating system” that the end-user and developers are sand-boxed in.

I’m not saying that a WebOS is not a good idea, I thought that Apple’s offering was pretty nice but admit that I wasn’t interested in developing for it until the Obj-c/c/c++ API was announced. By the exact same token, I’m not really interested in developing for the Palm or Google offerings for the same reason; the type of apps I develop are not that interesting from a developer standpoint on WebOS based API’s.

What I’m really wondering is why sometimes the general opinion is that a WebOS is great and other times the same general opinion is that a WebOS is terrible.

About Lane Roathe

I make my living designing, producing, and programming computer software. I have done work on numerous platforms, including MacOS, Win95/NT, Apple //, Super Nintendo, Sega, and others; writing mainly games but also operating systems, applications, utilities, etc. I have started and run several companies, currently operating Ideas From the Deep and working at Quicken, inc on Quicken for Mac.
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