RAIN 2/11: HP unveils new webOS devices, hopes developers take notice
NEW TABLET ‘TOUCHPAD’ ARGUABLY MORE NET RADIO-FRIENDLY THAN iPAD WAS INITIALLYStay with me here, because this gets tricky. Back in 2009, Palm released its Pre smartphone which ran on the webOS operating system — back then its slick multitasking abilities were a boon to Internet radio apps and made the iPhone look feeble (RAIN coverage here and here). Now it’s 2011, Palm has been bought by HP and webOS has been all but abandoned by most developers and consumers.
Yesterday, HP unveiled a new range of webOS products including two new smartphones (the Pre 3 and the tiny Veer) along with an iPad-competitor tablet: the TouchPad (all pictured above). HP’s tablet boasts multitasking and Beats Audio, making it arguably friendlier to Internet radio than the iPad was initially. But the TouchPad doesn’t come out until summer — who knows what Apple will have on the market by then.
Plus, the smartphone market is much more crowded now than in 2009. Do developers — especially webcasters — really have the time and resources to create webOS apps? Seeing that problem, HP has hired a new developer relations guru, Richard Kerris (pictured left), formerly the chief technology officer at Lucasfilm and one of the “Top 10 Innovators to Watch” according to Variety (more here).
HP may be targeting BlackBerry’s dwindling market share with webOS, using its enterprise connections to get IT departments to replace RIM devices with HP smartphones. That would be a win for webcasters. HP’s webOS platform is more standardized across devices (so far) and easier to develop apps for than BlackBerrys. Time will tell. — MS
SLACKER RAISES $3m AS IT PREPS ON-DEMAND SERVICECustomizable streaming radio service Slacker has raised $3 million in debt funding. Slacker raised around $23 million back in 2009 (RAIN coverage here and here) and $2 million in 2010 (here)
Hypebot.com also reports that Slacker will launch its on-demand music service soon (RAIN coverage here), probably before Spotify comes to the U.S. “So far, no company has cracked the subscription music formula and excited fans in a big way,” writes Hypebot (here), “but Slacker is the outlier to watch in 2011.”
NOKIA ADOPTS WINDOWS PHONE 7; R.I.P. SYMBIANNokia and Microsoft announced last night that they would partner to bring the Windows Phone 7 onto Nokia smartphone devices. Up until recently, Nokia’s Symbian platform was the most popular in the world. But Nokia’s been losing ground fast to Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.
Nokia says Symbian will gradually be phased out (see chart above) and that 2011 and 2012 will be “transition years” for the company. Though relatively few webcasters have built apps for Windows Phone 7 (RAIN coverage here), increasing the app-friendly platform’s reach around the world would be a win for webcasters. Wired has more coverage here. — MS
WSJ: DISCOVR iPAD APP’S “MAPS” HELP YOU FIND NEW MUSICDiscovr is a $3 music app for the iPad, but its not really for listening to music. Rather, its interactive music “maps” help users discover new artists they may like. The Wall Street Journal has more coverage in the video embedded below.
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