Before being acquired by HP, Palm promised that all current model webOS phones, the Pre 2 and earlier, would receive a webOS 2 upgrade. After the acquisition, the story hadn't changed until HP's webOS event last week.
On the HP Palm blog, the following was posted:
"And we also heard some concerns and frustration about a few specific issues, such as a lack of detail around product availability timing and pricing, and especially about the absence of future over-the-air updates for older webOS phones.Ok, I get it. This is a business, and a lot of money was put up to purchase Palm's assets. But we're not kids and HP isn't fooling anyone. This is about getting people to buy new phones, and rolling out webOS 2.x and 3.x for future devices; not the phones that Palm rolled during the past two years.
Rest assured that the HP team has been hearing these concerns. To make the experience you’ll have with the Veer, Pre 3, and TouchPad as powerful as possible, we’ve had to make some tough decisions that had an impact on our earlier webOS devices.
Our original expectation was that we’d be able to support older phones as well as the new product line. But ultimately it became clear that we would need to choose between supporting the past with over-the-air updates and ensuring that our upcoming devices would live up to your hopes and expectations for them. It was a difficult and, frankly, painful decision for us, and we realize it was a frustrating outcome for many of you."
What gets me worked up is that webOS 2.x for "[our] earlier webOS devices" is nearly complete. In fact, I already have webOS 2.0.1 installed on my original stood-in-line-at-5am-June-2009 Sprint Palm Pre. I received the software as part of an HP beta program that I'm participating in. The software wasn't delivered via a OTA update -- so that much is true -- rather it was delivered as a cabled webOS Doctor package. And so, I have to ask the question: If webOS 2.0.1 is already 85%+ complete in a webOS Doctor update, why not just suck it up, and finish the package as the last update for the Pre and Pre Plus?
And since I'm on a rant now, the thing that really hurts is being a loyal Palm fan for so long (1999) and having to keep waiting for the next platform. How long did we have to wait for the Palm OS 6/Palm OS Cobalt/Palm OS for Linux vaporware before we finally got webOS?
How long did we have to wait for the Pre after Palm was coasting on fumes from Treo 750 and Centro sales?
And now, HP is asking us to stick with webOS for one more hardware/software cycle and then everything will be fine. I'm just thinking about what happens two years from now when webOS 4 is just about done and the Pre 5 hardware is ready to go. What kind of support will HP be providing the early Pre 3 owners?
I honestly don't know. I'll be using an Apple iPhone 5 on Verizon Wireless by then because Apple has proven that each device will receive at least one major OS upgrade beyond the major OS release the device shipped with.
HP, this webOS 2 decision will go down as an epic fail in my book. Sorry. Just thought you would want to know.