From the sounds of this article - at least from my admittedly limited knowledge of electronics - it sounds like HP's tablet could be a competitor in the market, especially depending on what the price point was. If it was on the lower end, it would have been a great choice for someone who wants the technology, but can't afford the iPad or Samsung Galaxy. Any further word on why HP decided to scrap it?
It is unclear why HP has ultimately decided to get out of the tablet market. It could be that the Galaxy Tab, iPad, and other emerging competitors have made HP feel that they were "late to the gate".
One benefit of the exit by HP is that the tablets made are now on sale for the lowest prices seen in the tablet world. The last price listed was $99. This makes the unit a very good, albiet unsupported, device for those who are wanting to experience the tablet life.
I myself... I have an Android phone, and my laptop. I am happy as is ;)
As to why HP decided to exit the PC business (not just the tablet marketplace), there has been some good comments from a few bloggers - you might do a search for 'HP exit PC business' or something similar to that.
I think the general sense is that the exit is due to a general decision to NOT participate in the hardware side of the business. This was driven by the HP's new president and his vision. Time will tell if this is a good decision or not. As a long time user of HP (and Compaq) PCs, I will miss them!
Jenn: The TouchPad firesale is part of a larger move afoot at HP to divest itself of its entire PC business, a segment it got into in a big way with the acquisition of Compaq, one of the early leaders in the PC space. Along with announcing that it plans to exit the PC business, HP also announced the $10 billion acquisition of Autonomy, a maker of information management software. Pundits are saying HP plans to reinvent itself more along the lines of an IBM by providing software and consulting services, not commodity hardware. That said, the $99 TouchPads sold during this firesale were undoubtedly quite a bargain for those lucky buyers!
Truthfully, when we first took a look at the TouchPad when it was launched, we had a feeling it was DOA. Our first impressions were the units were extremely bulky in comparison to recent releases like the Motorola Xoom or the iPad 2. Secondly, it's price point wasn't competitive. It came it at $499 and $599, the same price as the iPad 2. In a spec-to-spec comparison, they were essentially the same type of product. Why would the average consumer pay what they can pay for an iPad 2 - with its vaunted Apple support and massive, well-developed library of applications, for a tablet with a unproven operating system in webOS.
Back in the mid 1990's I got hooked on Palm and have stayed loyal since then. When HP bought Palm I was delighted. By early 2010 my Palm Treo was starting to fail and I started looking for a replacement. For the first time I started looking at the I-phone. Then the first HP announcement back in December 2010 about new smart phones and tablets. So, I waited and waited and waited. Finally, the day came when I could call HP and order the Touchpad (at full price) So I order it with all the accessories.
When it came I found much of the important software I wanted really didn't work. It came with Quickoffice. But only viewing and not editing or creating Word, Excell or Power Point Files. BTW: "Documents to go" software that I purchased back in 2005 for my Palm smart phone does this very well. Yet HP choose to re-invent the wheel by installing Quickoffice. Next HP Movies is a real joke because you can't set up an account due to software issues and activate the service. However, since July 5, I've been assured they will fix the issue and I will be able to down load and watch movies within 24-48 hours. I'm still waiting.
Bottomline: I've given up on the Plam dream and headed for the local Apple Store. I'm never going back to Palm/HP or the next guy that talks OS. I do think OS is a powerful tool when compared to what's out there even today. But HP is now headed out to re-invent itself to look like big blue. I will not follow them off the clift.
P.S. I will also make sure my company runs away from any future product HP sales because HP dropped the Touchpad and PC business shows me they are not a reliable supplier.
Jamit: I have also been a long-time Palm fan, with my Palm IIIx back in the 90s. I currently have a Palm Pre+ and was excited when HP bought Palm and for the TouchPad. Unlike you, though, I did not buy one because it seemed too close to the iPad hardware, but at the price of an iPad2. I was really hoping for the TouchPad 2 in another year.
Anyhow, I wanted to point out that the reason Palm/HP ditched Documents to Go, which I also liked, is because RIM bought DataViz, the company responsible for Docs to Go. As such, RIM turned off all support and development for any OS besides their own (QNX). In a scramble, QuickOffice stepped forward to fill the void. While I think HP could have done more to help out QuickOffice by TP release time, I also think they did the best they could in the very short time they had since the RIM/DataViz announcement.
I'm not quite willing to give up on whatever the Palm spinoff becomes, as Palm has done this sort of thing in the past. (Remember when they threw off PalmOS to ACCESS, which seemed horrible. But we got webOS instead -- a MUCH better product!)
I also agree that the OS is a powerful tool. Unfortunately, the one thing webOS had going for it was the hardware -- in the form of the "gesture area". Software and OSes can be copied relatively easily (just take a look at the Playbook or the various Android themes that look like webOS), but the gesture area would have required a hardware change -- much more difficult. When they gave that up on the TouchPad, I was disappointed. And I think many webOS fans were, too, which is one (small) reason it didn't sell so well, IMO.
I talked with the folks at documents to go. They still support several palm applications. So it looks like a couple of lines of code would allow touchpad uses to use it today. But I guess HP pride stopped it. Yet iPad supports dos to go. BTW Sprint will get new iPhones in Oct. So I'm definently switching.
They still support PalmOS, but not webOS. It would be pretty much a complete rewrite from what I understand porting applications between the two. I'd guess that RIM was already in talks with DataViz when webOS debuted, so rewriting for a whole new platform was not resources they wanted to spend.
In any case, if you've not checked out the forums/news at PreCentral .net, you should. There's some good info for all things Palm/webOS, and especially for new TP owners -- as well as tear downs and other things of interest to DesignNews readers. Specifically for you though, I just read an article there about a VP at HP saying QuickOffice will be releasing their document editing version within a week. If the link comes through, it's on PreCentral's website at:
Unrelated to the previous thread, I just wanted to express how much I love the concept of this "Tear Down" section! If it were not for the watches, toasters, TV's around the house that I dissassembled as a kid, I would never have been the engineer I am today. Just as physicians begin their training in the "Cadaver Lab" I believe, as an educator, designers need to take things apart. And this series in Design News is the next-best thing. In fact, its even better in some respects.
Keep it up, Design News! (One day, you'll be able to put those devices back together! With only a few parts left over :-)
I was at a local Sam's Club last week, where they had a representative there to demonstrate (and hopefully sell)the tablets.
Unfortunately, the demo unit was locked-up with an error message on the otherwise blank screen. The unit wouldn't even power down, and had been in this state most of the day. The rep. hadn't been able to clear the fault, and his calls to the support center hadn't been able to provide an answer either.
Locking up was bad enough, but not getting an answer from HP's support center, for a representative in the field trying to show this in a very public location... This looks VERY bad for their support capabilities in general!
Fortunately for the sales rep. I was able to fix the problem for him. Unplugging the cable that was connected, and holding all three buttons down together for about 30-seconds while we chatted, forcing a hard reboot. It took several minutes to reinitialize everything, but after that it was working fine. (I didn't "know" that this might work, I simply took my best guess.)
I'm sorry to hear that Mr. Apotheker wants to take HP away from hardware and move to software development/support, but what do you expect from a former software company guy? (Not very good software either, from my experience...)From both a technology and business perspective I feel that this is a huge mistake. If he wants to do software and support, spin that part of the company off and name it something else... Leave the PC unit to someone who actually knows what they're doing, since he very obviously doesn't. He's just trying to justify his recent acquisitions, and will wreck the company in doing this. (Board of Directors and stockholders take note!)
Darn-it! I'll have my newly minted MBA to add to my BSEE in a couple of months, and I could already do a better job of running the company than this joker! I've revived one of their catatonic machines for them already, maybe I could do the same for the rest of the company. ;)
Several years ago, I purchased an HP plasma TV which was new technology for them at the time. Two warranty factory replacements and one additional service call later, the TV has been functioning without issue for the last few years. HP dropped out of the plasma TV market shortly after my purchase. With this lesson, I steer clear of new HP products until there is a lot of good data behind it.
I had an experience HP tech support for a printer/scanner a few years ago. Long story short, after several frustrating hours on the phone, the unit was in the dumpster. I haven't even considered buying any HP device since.
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