Android vs. webOS

Orrett Morgan
Jul 9, 2009
Updated • Dec 1, 2012
Google Android

So far we’ve heard quite a bit of comparisons between the webOS platform and OSX (for the iPhone), as well as Android vs. OSX. But so far, comparisons between both Android and webOS have been nonexistent. What makes this lack of coverage quite interesting is the fact that both operating systems are built off similar frameworks and use similar languages for programming. So I think it’s only fair that both systems get compared side to side and see who wins.


Concerning UI, it’s pretty clear that both Google and Palm have taken two very different approaches. In fact Google’s approach is more in line with Microsoft in allowing OEM’s to customize the UI to their needs. Palm however has taken this into their hands and pitched a ball straight at Apple and their ever so flawless OSX user interface.
Unfortunately there is no clear winner or loser here as both offer advantages and disadvantages. One advantage of Android is that it can take on any shape it wants. This allows people to pick a UI based on their needs but more so likes. The disadvantage to this is that since the navigation can change drastically from device to device, it might be a little rough for those who are used to a specific layout and decide to change from let’s say an HTC Hero to a Sony or Samsung. On the other hand Palm has decided to use one UI for its entire fleet and since they will be the only ones manufacturing phones to run on webOS (at least for the time being) it will stay that way. This however leaves the problem of monotony, something that is plaguing the iPhone at the moment. It’s very interesting that Windows Mobile can take on so many different shapes and forms based on who makes the device running it. A classic example is the Samsung Omnia, Sony Xperia and HTC Touch Pro. So I will hand it to Palm for having the sleeker and better of the graphical interface, but Android has the upper hand on customizability and scalability.


Both Palm and Google have done a good job at bringing some well needed features to the smartphone arena. Both support such basic features as copy paste, Exchange support, emailing, productivity and more. But for now we’ll have to judge at what’s out there in terms of third party programs (apps), and Google is clearly the winner here. I’m not saying that Palm isn’t saying anything, but seeing how new webOS is, we’ll have to give it at least a year before we can really compare its developer community to that of Blackberry, OSX, WinMo and of course Android.
That said, built in features, webOS does have the upper hand as it has a much better browser, music player etc, then that on the Android OS. But third party apps is its weak point and as I said before we’ll have to wait a year or so before we see what people have done with the Mojo SDK.


It’s ironic that Android has been around for quite some time now and the only company who has a phone running on the OS is HTC. Yes we know Samsung, Motorola, Sony and a whole host of others are working behind the scenes but come on. Palm has just put out their Pre and we’re already hearing plans of the release of the EOS which would be the Centro replacer.
So who would win this round? Well clearly we’re seeing such things as OLED and Flash coming to Android in the near future, and with the stellar lineup of partners it’s not surprising that Apple is looking at Google as more of an enemy then a friend at the moment.

Concerning Palm, while they have not totally put off the idea about allowing third party manufacturers to run their webOS, they’re still on their first device so we can’t fault them too much in this area. But if both companies decide to keep on their course we will give this round to Android as more OEM’s has always spelled better products. Speaking of Flash, Palm is also on that list of manufacturers who will be getting a taste of Flash mobil this fall.


Yes you read right, I’m going to include this category because both Android and webOS run Linux on the Linux framework and so it’s only fair we compare what the hacking community has done for the systems to date. For an OS that is open source, we really have to chide Google on their lack of support in the hacking community. The Pre has been out for just over a month and already we have Bluetooth tethering hacks, PlayStation emulation hacks, web server hacks and a bunch of others that not only geeks but every day people would be interested in.

So far little to nothing has been done in the Android arena concerning major hacking. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the G1 (the first Android device) carries lower internal specs then that of the Pre. But whatever it is, Palm clearly has the upper hand. Things might change in the near future however as the devices which are making their way to Android are getting more powerful. But for now, Palm owns this scene.

Corporate Support

This is a major factor in smartphones these days. To date the dominators in this field have clearly been RIM and Microsoft. So far Apple has been making small strides into gaining corporate acceptance. That said, both Palm and Google have been courting IT departments to accept their OS as readily as they will accept a Blackberry Curve or HTC Touch Pro.

Right now it’s too early to say what will happen to both OS as there is a huge lock in this area (RIM and Microsoft) and to date, companies have been very cautious about adopting ant other operating system. As it stands Android and webOS are head to head with no apparent winner in sight. But depending on customizability and sheer support, Android just might pull out as the winner here although we cannot deny that Palm has been in the cellphone (and more so the smartphone) market before Google was born so they just might just have a few tricks up their sleeves.


Until today I would have given this round to Android, but after Google’s plans to scrape Android for netbooks, MID’s and UMPC’s I think it is a little harder to decide a winner. Clearly both systems excel at different things, but then again both are competing for the same type of customers, those who are not swayed by Apple’s iPhone but who want something different then the regular Blackberry Curve or HTC Touch Diamond.

Based on what webOS has to offer they have an advantage in online and location based apps and this is the future. But in uniqueness and lifestyle applications, Android does carry a little more weight in this area. However, it is too early to say. We’ll have to wait until both mature and of course the second version is released before we can make a final verdict on where we expect to see both of them in the next five or so years.


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  1. Albert said on August 18, 2023 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for the tip Martin.

    It is for these kinds of posts that I follow GHacks.

    1. Mike Williams said on August 26, 2023 at 8:55 pm

      What’s up with the generic comment, are you a bot?

  2. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:23 pm


    Where on the planet is that still in use? I was forced to give up using my RAZRV3 years ago because 2G was phased out by AT&T.

    1. arbuz said on August 20, 2023 at 5:02 pm

      Everywhere 3G has been turned off and you don’t have LTE coverage, and believe me there are many developed countries where this is the case and if it weren’t for 2G you wouldn’t even be able to make a phone call.

    2. Doc Fuddled said on August 31, 2023 at 5:55 pm

      Maybe I missed it, but I don’t believe tha term “2G” is in the article. Perhaps you are referring to “AGM G2”??

  3. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:27 pm


    Your website has gone insane.

    When I the post button I then saw my comment posted on a different article page. When I opened this article again, it is here.

    1. Martin P. said on August 31, 2023 at 4:39 pm

      @Tachy @Martin Brinkmann

      ” Your website has gone insane. ”

      Same here. Has happened several times.

      1. owl said on September 1, 2023 at 3:42 am

        @Martin P.,

        For over two weeks now,
        I’ve been seeing “Comments” posted by subscribers appearing in different, unrelated articles.
        For the time being,
        it would be better to specify the “article name and URL” at the beginning of the post.

  4. Anonymous said on August 18, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    @tachy a lot of non-phone devices with a sim in them rely on 2G, at least here in europe.
    Usually things reporting usage or errors/alarms on something remote that does not get day to day inspection in person. They are out there in vast numbers doing important work. Reliable, good range. The low datarate is no problem at all in those cases.
    3G is gone or on its last legs everywhere, but this stuff still has too much use to cancel.

    Anyhow, interesting that they would put that in. I can see the point if you suspect a hostile 2G environment (amateur eavesdroppers with laptop, ranging up to professional grade MITM fake towers while “strangely” not getting the stronger crypto voip 4G because it is being jammed, and back down to something as old ‘stingray’ devices fallen into the wrong hands).

    But does this also mean that they have handled and rolled out a fix for that nasty 4G ‘pwn by broadcast’ problem you reported earlier this year? I had 4G disabled due to that, on the off chance that some of the local criminals would buy some cheap chinese gear, download a working exploit and probe every phone in range all over town in the hope of getting into phones of the police.

  5. Andy Prough said on August 19, 2023 at 3:04 am

    >”While most may never be attacked in stingrays, it is still recommended to disable 2G cellular connections, especially since it does not have any downsides.”

    The downside would be losing connectivity. I spend a lot of time way out in the countryside where there’s often no service or almost none. My network allows 2G, and I need it sometimes. I have an option on the phone to disable 2G, I may do that when I’m in the city and I have good 5G connectivity, but not out in the country.

    I would imagine that the stingray exploits, like most of the bad things in this world, are probably things you will run into in the crowded big cities.

  6. owl said on August 21, 2023 at 3:40 am

    I stopped using it in a mobile (Wi-Fi line) environment, so I’m almost ignorant of the actual situation,
    But the recent reality in Japan makes me realize that “the infrastructure of the web is nothing more than a papier-mâché fiction”.

    It is already beyond the scope of what an individual can do.
    What we should be aware of is the reality that “governments and those in power want to control the world through the Web”, and efforts to counter (resist and prevent) such ambitions are necessary.

  7. Anonymous said on August 26, 2023 at 9:27 pm

    Why do you want people to disable the privacy features? Hmmmmm?

  8. Anonymous said on August 27, 2023 at 2:30 am

    Now You: do you plan to keep the Ads privacy features enabled?

    I’d like to tell you, but apparently if you make a post critical of Google, you get censored. * [Editor: removed, just try to bring your opinion across without attacking anyone]

  9. Tachy said on August 27, 2023 at 5:15 am


    You website is still psychotic. Comments attach to random stories.

  10. John G. said on August 28, 2023 at 2:46 pm

    @Martin please do fix the comments, it’s completely insane commenting here! :[

  11. ECJ said on August 28, 2023 at 5:37 pm


    The comments are seriously messed up on gHacks now. These comments are mixed with the article at the below URL.

    And comments on other articles are from as far back as 2010.

  12. Naimless said on August 29, 2023 at 12:57 am

    What does this article has anything to do with all the comments on this article? LOL I think this Websuite is ran by ChatGPT. every article is messed up. Some older comments from 2015 shown up in recant articles, LOL

  13. Paul Knight said on August 31, 2023 at 3:35 am

    The picture captioned “Clearing the Android Auto’s cache might resolve the issue” is from Apple Carplay ;)

  14. Anonymous said on August 31, 2023 at 9:57 pm

    How about other things that matter:
    Drop survival?
    Screen toughness?
    Degree of water and dust protection?

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