Have you ever wondered how many webOS devices Palm and HP sold before unceremoniously cancelling the latest webOS phones and tablets this summer? About 4.2 million.
The folks at webOS Internals have put together an estimate of the number of webOS devices activated over time, and since 2009 it looks like that’s about how many people have created webOS profiles.
Unfortunately the number is far from official since it doesn’t come from HP — and there’s no way to tell how many people are actively using webOS phones or tablets today. But here’s how the figure was calculated.
When you fire up a webOS device for the first time it will ask you to create a profile. Each profile gets a unique number, and every new user gets a number that’s one higher than the last person to register.
While webOS Internals hasn’t looked at everyone’s numbers, they’ve asked users who have installed a homebrew app called Impostah to report their registration dates and numbers — and they’ve created a pretty nifty chart that shows the highest numbers they could find for each date, giving us an idea of how the platform grew over time.
WebOS may not have grown as fast as HP would have liked, but it’s interesting to see that in 2009 and 2010 there was a pretty steady growth in the number of people registering webOS devices. It started to taper off a bit in 2011, but there was a pretty healthy spike (or unhealthy, depending on how you look at it) this summer when the HP TouchPad tablet was sold off at fire-sale pricing.
The number might not get much higher. HP hasn’t yet completely killed off webOS, but the company won’t be producing any more hardware running the mobile operating system. Unless HP finds someone to license or buy webOS, it’s likely that the platform’s days are numbered.
It’s also possible that some (or many) of the folks represented by this chart may have stopped using those devices though, and moved onto Android, iOS, paper, or other platforms.