I just finished reading the Lumia 900 review, and I knew what Josh meant. WinPhone seems like a good OS, but there's no support for it yet. But I didn't realize how much I knew what he meant until a single line.
In some ways, I feel like I'm reviewing a webOS device again (but with much, much nicer hardware).
That was painful for me. I was a latecomer to the webOS party, picking up a Verizon Palm Pre Plus in late July of 2010. I remember reading through Josh's review on Engadget, (here if anyone's interested) and his love of the operating system, if not the phone. The focus was on the little issues then, too. webOS had just about quashed all of its bugs at the time, and nothing was really fundamentally wrong with the OS. (I looked at his list of complaints just today, and I wouldn't personally want any of them. I've run into bigger problems in Android 4.0, seriously.)
That said, the startup time? If your Pre was dead, you're not using it for another 30 minutes. It wouldn't boot at all until the battery reached 4% (even on a charger), and then it would take a good 7-10 minutes to start up after that. App launching speed was also abysmal, often taking a minute to load any sizable app.
And the apps actually weren't as limited as you might think from the numbers, as the webOS review said, it's a question of whether you wanted to deal with well made, but priced, apps, or ad-ridden free apps. (The small battery on the Pre made it so you barely got through a day either way.) The ecosystem was flushed out and solid, and I never really had a problem finding an app that I actually needed. There weren't terribly many that inspired a wow, but I'm having trouble finding those on Android as well.
What I miss most about my webOS days? The community. No one ever mentions the community, but PreCentral was the reason I never took my aunt up on an offer for a Droid Eris for the same price. Preware kept a large patch repository that will tweak anything you need. Threaded messaging? It's in there somewhere. Facebook chat integration? Available first on webOS, far as I can tell. Want a quick menu accessible anywhere in the phone for checking your schedule? Overlays your currently running app, no problem. Want your battery to be in blue, not green? Right in there. Even changing the font used for the time was in there somewhere, I'm sure.
And when HP dropped us old users without webOS 2.0, the community pulled through with FrankenDoctors that brought us up to speed, and even kept access to the App Catalog for us.
So, I think it's a misrepresentation to both OS's to say that they are very similar. There's no way WinPhone has the kind of community we had, because I've yet to find anything close on even Android, the most "open" OS. I con't even find patches of any sort to change functionality of any of the open sourced AOSP apps. Nothing actually exists. There are ROM hackers, dedicated to increasing the "speed" of your device, but nothing anywhere near when I downloaded UberKernel for the first time, and witnessed a new revolution of speed, without losing any data. No one in those communities works together to do things, it's every man and ROM for himself. Nothing, even on a single device, is guaranteed to work. It's hideous is what it is.
So, I pine for webOS. I see the truth in his statement, and feel the pain for WinPhone users facing the same type of problems I used to. But I can't feel too sad. Because I only switched a well-supported headache with a less supported one when I got my Galaxy Nexus. So you'll find me among the first batch for testing Open webOS on Android phones, and once it works, I will not look back. I've tried my best, Android, but you feel worse than a webOS device.