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From Elated to Deflated

I’ve been on a technological roller coaster over the last few months. It started when some of the technology I relied on for day-to-day life — my laptop and my cell phone — both failed within days of each other. That experience was both frustrating and eye-opening. I never realized how much I used my smartphone, not just for texts, calls, and checking email — but for more mundane tasks like checking the time and acting as my alarm clock in the morning.

Being without a phone and a laptop at the same time also gave me a chance to ponder my options moving forward. And since I was already planning to add a tablet to my tech family, I began to consider two sets of options: Go with Apple (Macbook Pro / Iphone / Ipad) or go with HP (Envy / Pre / Touchpad). An Android family of options didn’t even make my list — my secondary cellphone is an Evo, a “top of the line” Android contender for its time, but it failed to impress me.

In the end, I went with my heart and my wallet. The biggest ticket item in this purchase trio by far was the laptop, and the bottom line was that I could get much more computing power for the same price if I went the PC route. And I had fallen in love with WebOS. It was so easy to use and intuitive for me.

In retrospect, I guess I should have realized that all was not well with HP when I attempted to buy a laptop from them. The Envy model that I wanted had been discontinued, and that same set of features was no longer available in any laptop system from HP. It struck me as odd… and seemed like a bad customer service / marketing move… but didn’t raise any major red flags at the time. In the end, my laptop business went to Dell.

I was also a little disappointed that the much-hyped Pre3, HP’s latest and greatest WebOS phone, was nowhere to be seen by midsummer. But as an original Pre owner, the year-old Pre2 was still an upgrade for me and I was excited to have it.

The 32-GB HP Touchpad rounded out my happy new tech family, and I was elated! WebOS doesn’t have the same number of apps available as Android or Apple, but I could do everything I wanted / needed to do with existing apps or “homebrew” offerings from other WebOS enthusiasts. It seemed like everything had fallen into place for me and I was looking forward to putting my new tech toys to the test with the start of the fall semester.

But while I was busy snapping pictures of hundreds of students during registration this past Thursday, HP was holding a company meeting to announce, among other things, the end of WebOS. (Really, the end of HP, as we’ve known it…)

And I was stunned. And deflated. I know it’s just technology, just something inanimate, just a tool… but it stung. And not just because I had made a financial investment in hardware that was now being liquidated for a fraction of what I had paid. I had also made an emotional investment — and I felt a little betrayed. I wasn’t just buying a tablet, I was buying HP’s commitment to future development of a platform I loved. HP did say that it wasn’t walking away from WebOS, but those words ring a bit hollow.

So now what?

Well, it’s not like I’ve been left with absolutely nothing. For better or for worse, I am the owner of two WebOS devices that, at the present time at least, work very well for me. I’ve been robbed of most of the joy of ownership… but I figure I have at least a year of usable life in these devices. That’s about a year to resign myself to the inevitable and save up for the transition to Apple.

Am I bitter? Well, that new printer I need to purchase? The new server I’ll be needing soon? They’re not gonna be from HP…

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