Hey, HP! Show us your apps!

Hey, HP! Show us your apps!

Summary: Today HP unveiled the device it will put in the ring with Apple's iPad. Called the TouchPad, it seems very much like the iPad, and on the face of it looks pretty awesome. But there's a possible Achilles' heel in HP's plan.

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Today HP unveiled the device it will put in the ring with Apple's iPad. Called the TouchPad, it seems very much like the iPad, and on the face of it looks pretty awesome. But there's a possible Achilles' heel in HP's plan.

Apps.

There's a lot to like about the TouchPad. It's small, it's light, it's thin, and it's pretty powerful thanks to its 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon CPU. It'll run HP's webOS operating system and feature an MPG (multi-touch, physics and gestures) user interface. In the demos webOS's multi-touch support looked breathtaking, blowing away anything Android has to offer, and comes close to the fit and finish of Apple's iOS.

Sure, there are plenty of mysteries. How much the thing will cost? What the battery life is like? Etc, etc ... These will play a key part in determining whether the TouchPad will sink or swim. But there's one aspect of the TouchPad that's even more pivotal to the device's success or failure - apps.

Apple has already built a huge app ecosystem for iOS. Android is far behind Apple, but there's still plenty of momentum there to make stuff happen.

What about HP? What's HP's plan for an app store and an app ecosystem? Where are the developers? Who will create the killer apps?

See, by taking the chance on webOS rather than Android or Windows, HP will have to make sure that TouchPad comes out of the gate backed up by a solid bouquet of apps, and developer commitment to create more.

Developing and fostering a new ecosystem is hard. Just ask Microsoft. Even with a massive wallet to throw at the problem, progress is slow. And don't think that HP can do what Apple did and release a device then work on the app ecosystem ... noooooo! That might have worked a few years ago, but with iOS and Android on the scene, people aren't going to take a chance on a new device with a new (to them at any rate) OS.

TouchPad is going to need apps. Without them, it's dead. Stone dead.

HP, show us your apps!

Topics: Processors, Apple, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Tablets

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19 comments
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  • RE: Hey, HP! Show us your apps!

    Well, we might know more tonight when the Dev event is being held.
    deesugar@...
    • No, they can not show apps -- as well as Google for Android 3.0

      @deesugar@... for the nearest couple of quarters (or more) iPad will be the only platform that makes sense for buyers to buy unless nearly <i>all</i> they want from a tablet is few more or less refined functions provided by built-in applications/hardware.<br><br>Microsoft is much richer than HP and still it could do <b>nothing</b> to make developers producing applications for Windows Phone in a large scale.<br><br><b>Android Market sold 6 times less applications in terms of monetary volume than Apple's AppStore in 2010Q4</b>, so even for Andoid 2.* platform developers know it makes much less sense for them to develop for this OS than for iOS platform.<br><br>Android 3.* (tablet form-factor) applications are non-existent (only few are shown by Google and its partners) a these will appear also at much slower rate than for iPad -- at least for few nearest quarters (and, most probably, years to come).<br><br>I mean that technical/hardware aspects aside, Apple is by far the strongest leader in terms of ecosystem/platform/software diversity (except for porno)/overall consistency of quality and user experience. Unless Apple will do something horribly wrong, it will lead in this <b>for years</b> no matter what competitors will do.
      DDERSSS
      • Well, duh!

        @denisrs <br>Ya' know, the iPad had barely any apps on it's launch too in comparison to it's iPhone counterpart. Android and WebOS will probably continue to have less applications then iOS on the iPad simply because it came shortly after. No surprise. I mean, Rome wasn't built in a day.<br><br>Even though they may not have as many apps, doesn't mean you won't find you need. In fact, it'll be easier to find applications on Android and WebOS tablets then iOS simply because your not overwhelmed with tones you don't even need.
        ZackCDLVI
      • Apple's App Store cut is their Achilles heel

        @denisrs <br><br>If you develop and sell apps for serious money, the bite that Apple takes out of app revenue is a big problem for a lot of people.<br><br>And I think that HP's relationship with Amazon might turn into something more ... interesting. That could completely change the game in the digital download ecosystem. I guess we'll see.
        terry flores
    • RE: Hey, HP! Show us your apps!

      @deesugar@...

      Yup, it's showcase of things to come. If you are worried abt not enough apps. You can always run Windows apps on your HP tablet by using ThinServer

      http://www,aikotech.com/thinserver.htm
      bojanwojan
  • They have 5 apps for the pPad so far

    At least they only had 5 in the slide show... And I agree Adrian... Without Apps the choice become very clear. The reasons doctors, lawyers, scientists, etc all use iPads is because Apple has the Apps... <br><br>I remember back in the late 90's/early 90's, Microsoft got all the developers on board with Windows... Now days they are all with Apple. I don't HPalm has a snowballs chance in hell. <br><br>Seriously... no one wants to dev for HP and the only way they will is as an afterthought (how easilty can I tweak my iApp to run on Palm)... But I don't think the pPad will be around long enough to see it. I will give them props for making a fairly acurate wannabe device tho.. But that's the real rub.. They can't price it competively and they will never get the ecosystem. and it's still just a wannabe device.
    i8thecat
  • personally

    First of all tablet and smart phone are at best communication devices at worst expensive toys .

    But lets keep in mind that 75% of user does email , web search , watch you tube , Facebook and stupidity like that . If web os does all that give it a chance .... we never know it could become a nice alternative to windows .

    Any ways we are going straight to a OS war will have a few interesting years in front of us
    Quebec-french
  • RE: Hey, HP! Show us your apps!

    This is why I insist on choosing ipad rather than tablets like TouchPad, even android tablets. <br><br>Third-party company such as ifunia dedicates to MAC, what's more this is their strategic choice which is hard to change.<br><br><a href="http://www.ifunia.com/ipad-column/index.html">You will interest in its list of Apps, Games and Wallpapers in ipad column</a>.
    pennwarren
  • WebOS App Catalog has over 6,000 apps

    For a tablet that's not even launched yet, that's pretty good. Angry Birds is in there. And a few others. Need for Speed. It won't really turn up the heat until you can actually download WebOS to your PC and install it.
    symbolset
  • I think this is why HP is doing WebOS PCs as well

    To entice apps builders to go for a potentially bigger market. But HP will have to provide incentives. I would expect free tools, free training, free support, and a smaller "transaction bite" to get me to build apps for WebOS. It will cost HP some money in the short term, but if they don't invest, Palm products are all dead meat like everybody else's wannabe iPads.
    terry flores
  • RE: Hey, HP! Show us your apps!

    What I would love to know is how many actual apps iOS and Android have because we all know they are inflated becasue iOS doesnt support Trials so each dev has to submit twice per app. Android, well, same goes + a lot of it isn't applications.

    Once the real number comes out then we can start comparing iOS, Android, WebOS and WP7 marketplaces on fair numbers.
    jhughesy
  • Where's the Stylus?

    When are the tablets going to start using handwriting recognition? Despite all the marketing hyperbole, they are still little more than toys. Can you imagine trying to type a real document on one of these? Hold it with one hand and hunt and peck at a virtual keyboard with another?? At the least there should be a One Note type app and a stylus to write things with.
    jpr75_z
    • Styli have never been that popular

      @jpr75_z

      They had a brief surge in the time of the PDA, but otherwise has disappeared in the age of multi-touch. Handwriting recognition is still iffy and takes a lot of computing power to return mediocre results. I used it for awhile on an older HP tablet PC, but I spent more time correcting mistakes that I would have just typing things.

      Tablets like the iPad and Touchpad all have accessory keyboards for hardcore use, and I think the keyboard will still be with us for a long time to come.
      terry flores
  • Yet another product brought to you by...

    Linux

    Choice is good.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
  • RE: Hey, HP! Show us your apps!

    Any chance my palm os 4.0 through palm Garnet apps will run?
    partman1969@...
  • @terry flores

    Apple's cut is less than what MS and Sony take for PS and Xbox titles. Given the worldwide distribution network the 30% entitles you to, it's a small consideration. My fart app provides me with a tidy little sum of money every month, and it was basically fire and forget thanks to Apple.
    Monkeypox
  • RE: Hey, HP! Show us your apps!

    A couple of reasons why I think that HP will do better than Microsoft in getting app developers interested in creating apps.

    First, WebOS is not just another boring flavor of Windows. Even though Windows phone 7 is new, Microsoft seems to be determined to run Windows 7 desktop on any tablets which is slow. Since apps developed for phones will not be interchangeable with tablets, developers will have to either choose to make two completely different apps or forgo one platform or the other. WebOS on the other hand is going to be used on several different platforms and will only require some interface tweaks to be able to display nicely on the different platforms. It is also designed to run on slower processors for phones, so it should be very snappy on a dual core snapdragon, while Windows 7 sucks on a low power Atom, limiting what a developer can do with a Win Tablet.

    Second, Richard Kerris is heading up app development for WebOS. With his ties both into geekdom and technology he will be the one to energize developers. If anyone can, Richard can.
    Brooks Fancher
  • RE: Hey, HP! Show us your apps!

    Apple is probably going to crush the tablet and mobile competition for awhile. Congats to the people who designed and created a product that millions want. If you begrudge them their do take a time machine back to the Stalinist Soviet Union. While all of this is great for the Apple stockholders unless you are one it should mean zippo for you. All a device needs to do is meet YOUR needs. If your needs include doing what everybody else does you already probably own an IPAD. But in my book the worst reason to do anything is because everybody else is doing it (with the exception of when it necessary to gain employment).
    edkollin
  • They should let developers program in objective C

    with a set of APIs that works like Cocoa. That way an existing iPad app should work on WebOS.

    After all, isn't that the point of high level languages, a program can be cross compiled onto multiple platforms.
    The Star King