As far as developers are concerned, webOS is dead, and HP’s decision to stop production of tablets and phones based on the operating system should not affect the company in the least, according to Ken Dulaney, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.
“We have told enterprise developers to not build for one specific OS. They should use a mobile consumer app platform, like Appcelerator and others, or a mobile enterprise app platform like Sybase and Antenna,” he said.
Stu Stern, president and CEO of service provider Gorilla Logic, said that “No one jumped on the webOS train. There won’t be a mass exodus to push the needle forward for Microsoft or RIM.” He does not believe the OS could form the basis for another company to compete any more successfully against Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.
Dulaney explained that the app platforms he named add a layer between the application code and the hardware to make the application device-specific, something that does not affect performance in the eyes of the consumer, according to Sacha Labourey, CEO and founder of CloudBees, a cloud service provider for mobile applications.
“End users can’t tell which applications are created using the application layer. Complex applications, like games, do need to be coded natively,” he said.
Labourey also said that the death of webOS isn’t something that will affect most developers.
“This helps developers narrow their focus. There are three tiers of operating systems: iOS and Android lead the race, with Windows Phone and BlackBerry following on the second tier, and webOS and MeeGo on the third,” he said, adding that HP might go to the server-side of mobile applications with it’s new, refocused enterprise strategy.
Stern said the biggest concern for developers is the lack of competition, which in his mind hampers innovation.
“I was hoping the TouchPad and webOS ecosystem would succeed because competition is essential for innovation,” he said. “It is, however, a non-event for developers. HP didn’t want to publicize and grow the webOS system. It wasn’t that they couldn’t do it; they didn’t want to.”