HP's TouchPad: No price, no deal and no interest

HP's TouchPad: No price, no deal and no interest

Summary: Hewlett-Packard's unveiling of the TouchPad was notable and many folks thought that the company got back into the tablet game. The problem: There's no pricing information and consumers aren't likely to wait around for details.

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Hewlett-Packard's unveiling of the TouchPad was notable and many folks thought that the company got back into the tablet game.

Indeed, HP's WebOS looked fluid and the TouchPad had a little elegance to it. For a few minutes there, I actually wanted one and so did others.

Also:

There's just one huge problem: Price. HP's TouchPad arrives this summer after a bevy of Android tablets hit the market and Apple's iPad 2 will be available. That's why HP was preannouncing products months in advance---it wanted you to know it had a cool tablet. All of those moving parts are fine, but the omission of a price---or even a range---hurts this unveiling.

As we all know, price matters. If HP's TouchPad price could match the $499 benchmark set by Apple rest assured the company would tell us. Price is everything. If Motorola's Xoom is checking in at a rumored $800 we instantly know it's going to be hard to compete with the iPad. HP has to at least match iPad pricing with better features.

Price is such a big deal because HP has no clout in the tablet market. HP can't really freeze the market like Apple did on Wednesday. In many respects, HP's TouchPad unveiling has Palm written all over it. Announce a product well in advance of ability, provide incremental updates and when it launches officially you pray that the device is still relevant. Sound familiar? It's the same playbook Palm used before it launched the Pre.

Looking at the pros and cons of the TouchPad it's clear price is the tiebreaker. Here's the ledger:

Pros:

  • The interface looks slick.
  • HP seems to have solved the keyboard issue for folks that need to create content.
  • The specs for the TouchPad sound promising.

Cons:

  • The TouchPad is still months away.
  • It's unclear whether developers will line up to create apps.
  • There will be plenty of TouchPad alternatives available and it's doubtful consumers will wait.

Bottom line: The tiebreaker is price. You can't make a decision about the TouchPad without knowing a price range. HP's TouchPad is a nice diversion, but little else without talking dollars.

Topics: Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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49 comments
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  • Message has been deleted.

    Web development company
    • RE: HP's TouchPad: No price, no deal and no interest

      @csdeejay
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      Scubajrr
      • ha ha!

        @Scubajrr :)
        John Zern
      • RE: HP's TouchPad: No price, no deal and no interest

        @Scubajrr - LOL that made my day.
        klockheed
  • Availability, Functionality and then Price the Issue

    Very good article. I am not sure the tie breaking is price. I believe HP is going after a slightly different, or a finer segment, within tablet buyers - "the business person who is trying to tie and integrate work and social life seamlessly, with the focus being work first, social life second." However, not mentioning price - but more importantly - saying that the tablet would be released in the summer really hurt.

    With the Xoom, the issue of price (or rumor of its price) is what might freeze the market (not Apple's iPad announcement or rumor). There is a large audience or population who really want a tablet - and not an iPad (or iPad 2) - who will not buy a tablet at all (including an iPad), if the Xoom or Toshiba Tablet prices come in too high.
    HeartStrong07
    • RE: HP's TouchPad: No price, no deal and no interest

      KACarter07 is more spot-on than the article is.
      If I can afford to shell out $500 for a tablet, but ponying up another $150-200 gets me a more compelling experience, I'd save up and go for it. I haven't yet lost faith in the old saying, "You get what you pay for."
      HP will not necessarily lose me on price alone.
      PScooter63
      • RE: HP's TouchPad: No price, no deal and no interest

        @PScooter63

        The average selling price of the iPad last quarter was $600, suggesting that the $499 model outsold all of the 3G models. To me, the 3G models are all more compelling than the wi-fi only models, but the market sees things differently. In other words, you should hesitate to assume that the market has the same approach you do. HP may not lose you, but if they don't have something down at $499, they will lose a good portion of the market.

        Isn't Apple supposed to be the overpriced product? How do you think people will respond if they find that the iPad is the most inexpensive of comparable tablets, especially compared the TouchPad, with one blog called "a plastic iPad"?

        I think the article is right, though. We didn't hear about price or battery life for a reason, namely that neither will be as good as the iPad.
        will.todd@...
      • "You get what you pay for."

        @PScooter63 ...that has been the Apple Fan's mantra all along. Glad to know you agree.
        levinson
      • Perhaps...

        @PScooter63 ...but even $500 is a lot more than I'd be willing to pay. I already have a phone, a laptop, and a desktop and a tablet would be in addition to not instead of all those devices. Its hard for me to imagine paying over $200 to $250 for a tablet no matter how good it is. What was brilliant about the iPad was that it created a market for this additional type of device - but that market isn't where I live.
        cornpie
      • RE: HP's TouchPad: No price, no deal and no interest

        @PScooter63 ... in agreement ... I think a lot of iPad supporters assume everyone wants an iPad and the competitors have to beat it in every dimension (and be cheaper) to make a buyer choose a tablet other than an iPad. All I am saying is that there are a lot of people who simply do not what iPad; they a tablet with one of the other operating systems that aligns and integrates better with work (makes them more mobile). And up until the Xoom and maybe the Toshiba Tablet and HP Touchpad, no one came close. iPad sold a lot of iPads because none of the competitors really came close. The Xoom is changing the equation a bit; the Xoom's price isn't what will turn me away ...
        HeartStrong07
  • Lets give HP a chance

    Pricing will come by summer
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
    • Well, as they say, time waits for nobody. Rather than wait for an unknown,

      at an unknown price, people will just buy iPad2, which I imagine will be a big step up from iPad1. That said, I AM rooting for HP and hoping that they will eventually put some competitive pressure on Apple.
      DonnieBoy
      • Choice is good

        @DonnieBoy
        nt
        Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
      • yes, choice is good.. BUT..

        @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate.. in order to be a choice you need to release your product.. right? at this point and for then next 4-5 months HP does not present choice.
        doctorSpoc
      • RE: HP's TouchPad: No price, no deal and no interest

        @DonnieBoy
        Also releasing the TouchPad in the May to July time frame has got to be the worst possible option. That's what Palm did with Pre and it was completely swallowed in the iPhoneGS mania.
        Synthmeister
      • RE: HP's TouchPad: No price, no deal and no interest

        @DonnieBoy .... I am rooting for HP, Motorola and Toshiba as well. The timing of the HP Touchpad, hurts, though ...
        HeartStrong07
      • RE: HP's TouchPad: No price, no deal and no interest

        So does that mean we're starting a pool to see who can guess when this (and all other former Palm devices) silently go away due to lack of sales in comparison to an 8 month old phone?
        nix_hed
  • read this before

    how did they solve the problem of typing on a virtual keyboard? all i saw was they've allowed you to resize it to 3 options (s, m, l?).
    perhaps it's me but i've never found the size of the virtual keyboard the problem, it's that it's a, well, virtual keyboard.

    a third size is going to change this?

    what am i missing?
    sportmac
    • RE: HP's TouchPad: No price, no deal and no interest

      @sportmac

      For one thing, they have a stand and wireless keyboard
      that look very nice for business use. Virtual keys are maybe tolerable for short messages or a few characters, but they have no tactile feedback for people who are good touch typists.
      terry flores
      • so...

        @terry flores <br>how is that "solving" the problem? apple has had a physical keyboard for the ipad from day one and also has their own little keyboard that the hp resembles very very much, and there are several third party options (zaggmate, clamcase, several folio types).<br><br>this is about the 3rd time i've read this and it strikes me as odd that it's considered a breakthrough or solution. that's why i think i'm missing something.
        sportmac