The Outlook for WebOS: Not Good

In the US Sprint reportedly won't be selling any more Palm Pre 1 devices and it may not support the forthcoming Palm Pre 2. Meanwhile the Pre 2 won't have any subsidized carrier support in the UK, although the device will go on sale. Regardless the public won't be interested in the Pre 2 unless it's much improved -- and cheap. 

HP bought Palm for roughly $1.2 billion earlier this year. The rationale was to get WebOS and build devices on top of it. First it didn't appear that smartphones were part of the picture for HP but then the company said it would continue to build smartphones as well as tablet devices. Meanwhile Palm has steadily been losing people. 

The combination of the fact that carriers are less and less interested in Palm smartphones with the leadership instability at HP and the loss of key personnel from Palm suggests that the outlook for WebOS and Palm devices is getting bleak. 

Palm/HP would need to introduce a totally new smartphone form factor to get carriers and consumers interested. It blew the Pre launch by underestimating the importance of apps and getting some UX elements very wrong. Beyond that it was a nice phone -- that I couldn't wait to get rid of. 

If HP doesn't act fairly decisively in the next year and put out a tablet and/or new smartphone(s) it may find that it has entirely wasted its $1.2 billion. 

Related: In direct contrast to the above, Palm chief Rubenstein offers very upbeat assessment of Palm's prospects going foward.