HP TouchPad app developers: Run to other platforms

Summary:HP is offering TouchPads to developers for $150. The question is why should anyone develop apps for a dead platform?

A likely result of canceling a new product and admitting you are trying to sell off the platform that runs it is the defection of app developers to other platforms. Developers are in business to make a living, and that requires a steady, continuous user base to buy their apps.

When HP dumped the TouchPad and it became evident it was having trouble getting interested suitors for the webOS platform, developers began to jump platforms. HP is now offering developers a 32GB TouchPad for $150 to entice them to keep building apps for the doomed tablet.

On the surface this seems like a half-hearted program to make it appear that HP is still supporting the longevity of the platform. That may even be the reasoning behind it, but the reality is it is an anemic attempt to get app developers to accept the large risk that they may never recover time invested in the platform.

If HP was serious about continuing long-term with webOS, it would surely have given those TouchPads to developers. We're likely not talking about a lot of TouchPads, and the investment by HP would be well worth it to keep developers building apps. Instead, offering those developers vital to the webOS effort a device at the same price they sold them to everyone else smacks of a program that HP really doesn't care about.

I am often asked by current TouchPad developers if they should continue for a while, hoping that something positive comes out of HP's desire to sell the platform. In good conscience I can't recommend developers do that, as it puts the risk that HP will be able to do the right thing with webOS firmly on the developers' backs. That's not something I can do.

My advice to budding TouchPad developers, and that would be all of them, is to switch to making apps for Android tablets or the iPad. Give yourself a chance to make a living. There is no reason to believe you can do that with webOS.

Image credit: Flickr user boetter

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Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Developer


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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