To cut the story short, the NV team appeared there, and in very arrogant manner told the Chinese side that they are a large US corporation, and that recompiling the Linux drivers would cost the Chinese a lot of money. The money that Chinese CPU team and the Academy of Science were supposed to fork out was to the tune of several million dollars in incentive that are typically referred to as NRE — Non-recurring Engineering."
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What happened next was a total mess - the biggest downfall was how they alienated developers by changing the SDK from Mojo to Enyo - possibly a required change but the way they handled it was appalling. There was a long period when Enyo was released but it was impossible to even buy a device that ran it and the SDK was not even available to devs without jumping through hoops to sign an NDA. They then made promises to bring Enyo to their first and second generation devices and subsequently changed their mind. They never got round to publishing a roadmap of which hardware would support which SDK or WebOS. Developers had the choice to develop for Mojo and hit the majority of devices, or blindly put their faith in Enyo and hope that someday HP/Palm would put out a decent device capable of running Enyo. But by this time nobody believed a word HP said... they had lost the trust of their own loyal fanbase. Eventually the Pre 3 and Touchpad came but by then the developers had left in droves. I bought a Pre 3 and the hardware was finally decent, but the OS was buggy and there were even fewer apps available for it than for the previous generation Pre and Pre 2. I sold it immediately.
The sell-out to HP could have given Palm the resources they needed to push WebOS but it turned Palm from a nimble company capable of doing some cool stuff into a massive lumbering mess with no clearly defined plans. The signs of the downfall were obvious - the good talent that Palm had hired left almost immediately leaving a skill vacuum at HP/Palm. HP needed to act quickly but they failed to do so. And we all saw the shambolic mess they made of the touchpad launch and subsequent fire sale. Open sourcing WebOS is meaningless because it is a failed project with very little interest except a small (and highly loyal) fan base at WebOS internals. Even those guys must be wondering why they bothered.
The only good thing to come of this is that I got a touchpad for £130 that now runs ICS very nicely. It's a great shame to see the Palm name die in such a catastrophic manner. HP should be ashamed of themselves. And one last thing... throughout all this I have often wondered what happened to Jon Rubinstein? Has he been paid off to keep quiet? I would imagine he is none too happy with the way things turned out but his silence is deafening.
after having downloaded a new title – whether paid or free – no aftermarket software would run properly
Not true. The software just downloaded would not run properly, but all other aftermarket software previously installed was unaffected.