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PreCentral: What would a webOS smartphone need to be competitive today?

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What would a webOS smartphone need to be competitive today?

It's time for a webOS Nation brainstorming session. Late last week we were all some combination of perturbed, disturbed, hopeful, wistful, enraged, or just play befuddled when HP CEO Meg Whitman proclaimed that yes, HP eventually will have to make a smartphone. "But you already did that!" was the cry in all capital letters across the internet, followed by the cacophony of a million techies sighing at once.

But it got me thinking - is webOS as it stands right now really capable of standing up to the giants of the current smartphone industry? We all know the merits of webOS - multitasking, notifications, Synergy, Just Type, and so forth, but right now even the Open webOS that's coming up is looking to be seriously devoid of feature updates. So, if somebody - anybody - were to take webOS and make a smartphone out of it, what would it take for somebody to be willing to pick it up instead of the iPhone or Galaxy S or Droid or Lumia sitting elsewhere on the shelf in the carrier store? Let's delve into that, shall we?

We'll start with the assumption of webOS 3.0 melded with webOS 2.2.4 as our basepoint. Everything that webOS 3.0 can do, dropped down into the form factor of a webOS smartphone, essentially. Now sit this phone next to the Apple iPhone 5, Motorola RAZR HD, Nokia Lumia 920, and Samsung Galaxy S III. What's missing?

We could go on and on about hardware. A modern webOS device would need to have a higher resolution and larger screen (hell, even the iPhone 5 has a 4-inch screen now), an LTE radio, faster processor, more RAM, more storage, a bigger battery, a better camera, and maybe other extraneous bits like NFC, all crammed into an impossibly thin shell to be taken seriously at a glance. This thought exercise is more a matter of software. After all, Open webOS is open source - anybody can take it and put it onto whatever hypothetical hardware they want (with some work, clearly) - so let's focus on how the software can be improved to modern standards. I'll offer up two major points - application selection and camera software.

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