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Nikon interested in buying webOS from HP?

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According to this post by SlashGear, webOS is not dead yet and there is interest from several companies, including Nikon, to buy the mobile operating system from HP:

It also continues the confusion as to what HP plans to do with webOS, which it had initially insisted that it would continue to support and develop. But the company is looking more likely to sell the unit and has been in talks with HTC, LG, Nikon, and Amazon as potential buyers of the software platform.

More on webOS from Wikipedia:

HP webOS is a mobile operating system based on a Linux kernel, initially developed by Palm, which was later acquired by Hewlett-Packard.Palm, HP, and most commentators and sources write the name webOS, as shown in the adjacent logo, and in HP resources, rather than "WebOS".

webOS was introduced by Palm in January 2009. Various versions of webOS have been featured on several devices, including Pre, Pixi, and Veer phones and the HP Touchpad tablet. However, on August 18, 2011, HP announced that it would discontinue production of all webOS related hardware devices. HP is presently considering licensing webOS software to other manufacturers for placement on their hardware devices.

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  • broxibear

    This video popped up on youtube a few hours ago, it’s called “Nikon Behind The Cubes” about the design, presentation and marketing ideas at events like Photokina http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsqOo4JHWDs

  • broxibear

    Another new Nikon 1 advert from Japan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80yhR6j7JAI
    Nikon are really pushing the Nikon 1 cameras, here in the UK there are adverts everywhere in magazines, I’m sure the tv ads will kick in as we get closer to Christmas too.
    Here’s a video of the “Nikon 1 hands ” model being installed in Covent Garden, London http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1WTD4CMe9c

    • Ric

      Seen the TV comericals here un the US. A local So. Cal camera store chain has a radio ad for the 1. The World Series broadcast on Sunday had a feature spot on the 1.

      I played with a J1 yesterday for a few minutes. Small, easy to use. First impression is I like it.

      • Ric

        oops, it was the V1

  • Eric

    Considering Nikon’s dismal software, does anyone think they need to be distracting themselves with something like this? This is a really bad idea.

    Nikon, give us better cameras! All the rest is distracting cruft!

    • http://www.nikonnative.com heartyfisher

      lol and what do you thing runs all that hardware .. ? Operating systems and software..!

  • Michael

    I think it’s a typo and Nokia is meant, not Nikon…

  • broxibear

    Thailand Flood Update:
    pixiq had an article on the flooding on theor site that I didn’t come across until today and they’ve got images and far more detail about the Thailand factory.
    “Lens grinding at Nikon Thailand: this section of the factory is reported to be submerged”
    “Clean room conditions existed in many areas on the first floor of the nikon Thailand factory, which are now swamped by flood waters”
    “The main camera production lines are located on the second floor and may not have been submerged”
    Full article and images here http://www.pixiq.com/article/nikon-thailand-matters-go-from-bad-to-worse

    • Jabs

      @broxibear
      Thanks for this link and your constant updates plus links.

      Seems like Nikon removed stock from this Factory prior to the flooding and now has to do mere Distribution of existing stock, but continued Production will be a nightmare for a while unless they can rent or lease/share a new or existing Facility in another part of the country that is floodwater free, but still missing Supplies and Suppliers to deal with. They must be burning up travel and phone time trying to arrange new deals and continue Production, as the various holidays loom ahead. Yeah a real mess, but solvable in the short term.

      Nikon like most Manufacturers have duplicate Factory ‘spillover’ capacity somewhere else as a contingency Plan, so just a matter of time to do this, perhaps.

      Things are going to get expensive now – sigh!

    • D700guy

      “Nikon have issued a two statements so far concerning the situation at their Thailand factory, which has been in operation for over 20-years and where over 15,000 workers are employed producing around 300,000 camera units per month (D3100, D5100, D7000 and, D300s), along with most of the DX lens range and a few of FX zoom lenses (24-120, 28-300 and, 70-300). The plant is responsible for the production of a vast majority of Nikon D-SLR cameras and accounts for approximately 70% of the total SLR lens production.” (pixiq.com)

      If the above statement is true, then it seems that the Thailand plant doesnt have anything to do with FX cameras at all. Perhaps the delay in a product announcement is over the intended price of the unit, which, given the state of affairs may need to be adjusted to help Nikon make up some losses.

  • Jabs

    Great that this site has calmed down – lol

    WebOS is based upon Linux and so is lots of Nikon software, and that is why they rely so much on OpenGL.
    Going forward, Nikon needs Internet connectivity, sharing, streaming and such at all levels, so they need a wider Software Infrastructure for sure.
    Whether WebOS is it or not, remains to be seen but anything Linux will probably help them, as long as it is not Android, as that is semi-proprietary and tied to Google, so wrong move.

    Why would they need Android which also is Linux with another interface? People might not know that Linux’s variations are mainly interface differences and software function additions to the same basic OS with various Programs added.

    Both the old Palm and the newer WebOS has the richness of Interface and more importantly, Widgets that work and are available also in many languages, so you don’t have to start from scratch to do your work. Probably more Linux coders worldwide than almost any other platform maybe too, except Microsoft I think.

    HP messed up, mainly on the hardware side of things and perhaps tried to do too many things quickly and then failed, but that does not make WebOS a failure. It makes them clueless or too impatient, as in wanting too many varied results right away.

    WebOS might be a great way to integrate Wi-FI, Streaming, Content delivery from the cameras in a really secure manner like how most of the Routers and NAS boxes and just about all the various electronic devices are now using Linux as the basis of their behind the scenes processing and OS.

    Linux is also 64bit, small, compact in memory footprint and also very secure. HP’s idea of the Web connected printers that print anywhere via the Internet might be something for Nikon to look into instead of that dated Ethernet connectivity. Shoot now, send out to Editor or another Remote location and get there is a few seconds while beating or equaling the iPhone/smartphone crowd with bigger files or video clips. Linux does that best due to its’ real 64bit nature plus speed. Photo or Video shoot – upload to Editor/Client – instant feedback – yelled at in real time too – paid later maybe – LOL!

    Widgets and icons are another great area for Nikon plus Linux creator Linus Torvalds just said that they are going to do some stuff with embedded Linux to facilitate that Market in an upcoming Linux build and thus perfect for Nikon which makes a lot of embedded applications and basically that is what a camera sub-system does often.

    I don’t see Nikon going towards a Nikon branded smartphone like Sony or even a Tablet, but perhaps going towards a more modern Interface to put on their already in place Linux based software and even various interface thrusts.

    Let’s see what they do, as they already use Linux, so WebOS is merely the Web connection and interface part maybe. Imagine shooting and then sending your image directly from your camera to Headquarters from some remote location in a few seconds and then get screamed at across the world for blowing it as in too late – LOL.

    Yeah, got beaten by an amateur again with lousy but immediate pictures and semi-grainy video in ‘HD wannabe’ or when you actually delivered real high quality stills plus high quality HD video footage that can be instantly shown instead of being yelled at and now have been promoted to head nerd at a lowly desk instead of now stuck in the field in a swamp or such – lol.

    Game changer perhaps!

  • http://www.eduardocervantes.com Eduardo Cervantes

    With the 1 cameras Nikon demonstrated they have a lot of guts to try new things off the main trends. Now, Nikon wants to buy Hp WebOs. Lol, lol, lol. Webos sounds exactly just like eggs in spanish, same word for balls (cojones).

  • SNRatio

    Why webOS, and not Android? I guess Google would be just very happy to extend the scope of their Linux/Java derivative, and be willing to throw quite a bit of resources into it. And, as the wide range of Android smartphones and tablets shows, there is not a big problem with product differentiation. Differentiation at operating system level might not be a universally good idea – over time. And Nikon works over time.

    Furthermore, running a Linux kernel like a webOS kernel on a camera definitely makes it prone to hacking. No doubt both Meego and Android developers could make Linux ports. But that may be intentional.

    1. Linux kernels are “auto-updated”.
    2. They probably provide one of the cheapest and simplest ways to handle parallelism, a key to operating efficiency.
    3. More modular cameras would also have to be much more programmable, unless all necessary programming/firmware is provided with every module.
    4. Linux kernels are everywhere in the world of embedded devices – but so far not in digital cameras? (I haven’t seen anything about that, and I also don’t know if Android is that deeply involved in image processing in smartphones – seems to me it’s mostly involved in user interface-related operations.)

    The main reason for not goint the Android route is, I think, that Nikon is after something deeper than a user interface-oriented OS for their cameras. And a good patent portofolio and long (in this context) time market presence may be valuable features – therefore, looking at webOS. Which of course does not mean that they will end up following that route.

    But it tells something, and my interpretation is that Nikon is getting so badly hurt by their software Achilles heel that they have started to do something about it.

    • Jabs

      @SNRatio

      Good writeup – Linux is already used widely in the Industry and WebOS is a pretty interface for it – lol

      Yeah, you are right but do you know of the HP and now Canon Web connected printers? You are here and your printer is there and you still can print directly to them, as they are connected to the Internet. You could be in another country too while printing, as all you need is an Internet connection!

      VPN and such would now offer the privacy and security in a Production/Professional environment, maybe?

      That printing feature to me is a great idea for cameras as you now send your images like how people ‘print’ PDF’s with the various programs instead of Abode’s and then you basically are like emailing your files privately to a specific address. HP uses it to print from smartphones, computers and such, so maybe the same idea in uploading files or sending files somewhere securely in a Linux based system with a pretty interface.

      If you embed it, then you can also limit access to it and do a firmware update to also update that plus other things in the camera, but you know hackers – they will find a way to steal your files or brick your gear – lol.

      Maybe the WebOS is for software and widget use with Tablets and smartphones interconnecting with Nikon’s cameras? More people are using Tablets and smartphones, so any Manufacturer would be wise to offer integration into that.

      Remember OS-X and iOS are both based upon OpenBSD, a ‘Linux’ variant or fork in the road, as they say – so maybe a good move!

      • http://loewald.com/blog/ Tonio Loewald

        > Remember OS-X and iOS are both based upon OpenBSD, a ‘Linux’ variant or fork in the road, as they say – so maybe a good move!

        Linux and BSD are UNIX variants. BSD predates Linux. Furthermore, Linux itself is merely the kernel — the stuff that sits on top of the kernel is common to both but largely derives from the BSD project (which led to the FSF) which was a free, open-source clone of UNIX (which was proprietary and kind-of-closed source at the time).

        I think it would be a good idea for Nikon to start thinking of its cameras as “networked computers than happen to take photographs” but many phone manufacturers, notably Apple, already think that way. I think it would be a better idea for Nikon to sell a high-end camera that docks with an iPhone (or Android) — I’d suggest putting an interchangeable mount on the back of the camera that the iPhone / iPod / Android slides into.

        • Jabs

          @Tonio

          Yeah – you’re right – hence fork in the road – in my post – LOL

        • Jabs

          BSD might have predated Linux but not OPEN BSD, as I hear that is what OS-X is based upon and not BSD itself, hence my comment – fork in the road.

  • MB

    Nikon, and every other digital camera maker, are already using some kind of operating systems.
    The thing is up until now those were very simplified limited function embedded in house developed OSes and it is very time consuming to support them and add additional any feature.
    The future is more generalized and well supported OS with stable and well documented API, efficient multitasking capabilities, mature windowing and touch screen user interface, network and internet support and well developed image and video support.
    WebOS have all this and telephony is just a little bit of a whole system that could easily be striped off.
    Developing something similar in house would be costly and time consuming, and other alternatives like Android may be more expensive to customize at this moment.

  • Jabs

    Read up on embedded Linux before badmouthing something beyond your own grasp, for a change.

    http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/4730

  • BetaHal

    You’re right there, Jabs. WebOS –tough Eduardo Cervantes has a point there – WebOS = Balls in spanish, Webón=güebón=asshole– may in fact be a smart move from Nikon. Linux equals a stable, well tried platform. WebOS is a non-propietary flavor of it, which is good. Things that you can hack become an instant success worlwide (Iphone, Ipad anyone?) (Panasonic’s GH2?)

    By bringing Linux to a product, you’re opening it to developement from the community. I can’t think of a better way to make it an instant success. New features available through crowdsourcing = free added value for your product. This, though, might be a difficult conceptual transition. On one side, you may have those well trained japanese industrial designers, with degrees from the better japanese engineering universities and lots of years of experience working for Nikon. They have designed a product which (in their mindset) nearly reaches perfection. And then, out from nowhere, a bunch of hackers make nasty remarks about their brilliant design. And, what is much worse, outline a much better way to get things done.

    Are Nikon people really prepared for this kind of game?

    • Jabs

      @BetaHal

      I don’t know if Nikon is thinking of opening it up, but like all others, they can learn from a wider Community of developers or even hackers plus features might be easier to implement sooner.

      Embedded usually means that you can’t easily get to it, as making it available means that you might have a high warranty repair or return rate because some Internet “personality” might tell everyone on their Blog how to now enhance your low end Nikon to almost equal or surpass the higher end model and then ‘brick’ the thing and now embroil Nikon in frivolous lawsuits or they come on the Web and badmouth Nikon over their own stupidity or gullible expectations.

      Imagine the posts here saying something like – I updated (bricked it themselves too) my Nikon and Nikon won’t repair it or give me my money back as it is useless now or does not work properly.
      I’m going to Canon, Sony or back to a film camera, as these things are too complex and Nikon should have known better!!!
      Or you might hear – I put on this ‘X’ or ‘Y’ new BIOS, file or OS update/enhancer and now my Nikon does not spit out any RAW files and my lenses now will not focus properly – Ahhhhhhhhhh!

      Then you might have a bunch of bricked or ‘sick’ Nikon’s on E-Bay or such sites being sold to clueless people and then ruin Nikon’s reputation and killing the used Market too.

      I see enhanced performance and maybe more flexibility and adjustments needed for individual preferences or shooting styles as devices are asked more of them, but maybe it is best to hide the OS from us ‘experimental’ users.

      No comment on the ‘cojones’ – lol though, as I did not know that.

      Too shy and this is a family place too.

      WebOS could also end up on a Touch Screen enhanced camera with say a Remote Control picture or video taking system – you never know! Removable screen now becomes a Remote Control – cool indeed until you lose it.

  • By down

    Now I know Nikon has gone off the deep end…this ranks up near the dumbest things I have ever heard. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised…and I thought my opinion of Nikon lately couldn’t get any lower…

    • Jabs

      What did they say about most of the people considered genius?

      Weird, odd, off the deep end UNTIL what they produced shocked and revolutionized things.

      Steve Jobs for example in modern times.

      Perhaps you get up to speed Technically, as Nikon is doing fine it seems in spite of all the horrible tragedies and set backs. Insurance remember?

      Remember working Plants in China and delays in other areas plus something cooking in Japan.

      Visionaries are almost always laughed at – remember.

      Seeing the possibilities when others see nothing or insurmountable roadblocks is what make others innovators and then labeled genius plus successful at what they do.

      Nikon F to D3 series = pure genius.

      That’s why we love Nikon often even if they are quirky and drive us crazy with delays – lol.

  • trolo

    Webos in spanish is the most commonly used slang term for “testicles”…

  • SNRatio

    My personal guess re driving forces is that the Nikon engineers may actually work for such a move. Imagine their frustration when they build this very capable camera, but, for example, video processing is restricted by narrow bandwidth because of lack of parallelism. They need an OS built to handle multi-processor CPUs. And lots of other challenges.

    I also don’t think Nikon is very scared by the prospects of users bricking their low-end DSLRs. That’s just fine, they can only say “told you”, and charge quite a few bucks for getting it to work again. They can see now how this plays out on the smartphone arena, and I don’t think it scares them – rather the contrary.

    One reason for this, is that the user interface may not be the most important part here. I think embedded devices like wireless routers are better models than smartphones for thinking about this. Such devices are also hacked and modified, but to a far lesser extent than smartphones, and with much less fuss – competent modifiers may be very helpful. Think for example of someone being able to simulate a stronger CFA filter on the D7000, so you could get files with better color separation/precision at the expense of at little speed (and possibly dynamic range). I don’t know if that is possible, but some correction for known problems is at least possible. This is before a RAW file is created, and it might imply things like extra sensor readout (possible at low ISO). Personally, I would be very happy to tweak the JPEG-algorithm in my D700 a bit, having several alternatives.

    I doubt that differentiating pricewise by blocking existing functionality will be very important for Nikon in the future. Rather, the emphasis will be on getting the most out of the hardware components – just look at the D300/D90 and D7000/D5100 sensors. So, “unlocking” a camera may not be much of an issue.

    As for OS issues, lots of system calls, utilities and user space programs are common for many Unix varieties, thus making porting of programs and systems rather easy – except for the user interface. A systems administrator may use many of the same tools on BSD and Linux variants, the user interfaces can vary widely – compare a dedicated database server to a Nokia Meego smartphone – you can do systems manitenance on both through terminal windows, but most other capabilities (and UI problems) can’t be compared at all .

    One really great advantage of running a Linux kernel on the camera, is that there is such a great flexibility in communicating. For example, using web-based interfaces and standard technology, the problems of user interfaces on external devices like tablets can to a great extent be left to browser end plugin vendors. Also, using the camera as a server, RAW processing and video editing software can run there – after all, it already does, in some versions.

    • Jabs

      @SNRatio

      Great observations and arguments punctuated by reality too – lol.

      In ‘sue happy’ America, you brick an $800 dollar iPhone and you are to blame especially since many of them are sold with Carrier Contracts expressly forbidding modifications, but brick an $8,000 camera body and then lose a $50,000 shoot or a Million dollar Commercial or Movie shoot and heads will roll even in nuisance lawsuits directed at Nikon USA, their Subsidiaries and Dealers/Sellers.

      Everything else is great observations and thus thanks for your discussions, as enjoying it too – lol.

      Yeah possibilities boggles the mind.

      Maybe the new frontier in digital involves increased functionality via software and connectivity.

      Like the Music Industry where people can do collaborative Recordings in totally different locations in real time, maybe the time has come for that if it already has not begun (lol).

      Shoot in Europe, Asia and America plus combine the images seamlessly somewhere else in Real Time and no one knows that they were done in different locations.

      Reminds me of that Nat King Cole video and recording seamlessly meshed with his daughter’s Natalie’s video and recording of the same song a few years back – now that would be game changing indeed in photography.

      Looking towards the future with a bright smile on my face then – except for the anticipated costs – ouch!

  • SNRatio

    To illustrate some of the potential uses, imagine you have a 10″ tablet with USB3 and HDMI ports connected to the camera with USB3. For fast editing on the fly, you can use the tablet, for presision work, you can hook up a HDMI monitor. Still, nothing beyond the communication and browser basics needs to be installed on the tablet, everything important runs on the camera server. Equipped with a mobile broadband router, the camera can also very often do the distribution part, acting as a full-fledged, but narrow bandwidth website – very fine for personal or within-company use. Running a server, the camera can do all the traditionally hard parts. For example, after taking some video footage, you can check and possibly edit a bit from a browser interface on your smartphone, and then directly upload it to YouTube from the camera server, with no intermediate file handling or storage. Everything you can do in this respect with your smartphone, the camera can do too, and often simpler and better. Furthermore, software on the camera doesn’t have to be forced into any “app” format, so it will be very easy to develop and deploy new programs.

    One of the real nice things here, is that using a browser interface, any third-part vendor can develop user interfaces for the camera settings, which can provide support for help, learning and experimentation far beyond what Nikon can and will deliver out of the box. And this will be fully device-independent (as far as the browser interface is) . No need to discuss Windows, OS X, Linux, Android etc.

    • Jabs

      Nice – they ought to hire you in Product Assessment Planning – lol.

      You might scare some of the old thinkers though!

      A changed and inter-connected world for sure.

      Thanks.

      Sounds like Nikon 2.

  • Jabs

    Here are some of the reasons why Nikon has been so great over the years and these items are way beyond what they produce for both the Pro and Consumer Camera Markets. Like I say here often, I am behind the scenes in the Industry.

    1. http://www.nikon.com/products/instruments/lineup/index.htm

    2. http://www.nikon.com/products/instruments/lineup/bioscience/camera_microscopy/digital_sight/index.htm

    3. http://www.nis-elements.com/

    Comment:

    1. Shows the depth of Nikon’s capabilities.
    2. Shows maybe WHAT the D800 will be with the pixel shift Technology.
    3. Do you seriously believe that Nikon cannot make software or maybe not software at YOUR price point.

    Maybe you do some real Research and then see why the other Manufacturers got scared and perhaps pre-announced things.

    Do you see some of these very same Technologies trickling down into their DSLR lineup as in Nikon 1 and then now perhaps D800, D4, D4X and D400.

    Not some clueless fanboy or Internet wannabe ‘guru’ here!

    Nikon IS an Engineering Company and one of the best in the World at it and that is why I respect them so much.

    Cameras is a PART of their Business and not the whole enchilada.

    Maybe Nikon makes lots of the gear for their own Factories???

    • VJ

      Of course they can make software… but if they plan to interact with other hardware in an open platform, they either need other manufacturers to write interfaces to their software or write those interfaces themselves. Use of an existing platform will increase the probability that other manufacturers will interface with it.

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