HP officially launches webOS TouchPad ... again?

HP officially launches webOS TouchPad ... again?

Summary: In one of the most confusing mobile launches ever HP started selling the TouchPad webOS tablet on 1 July, but then said the official retail launch was 17 July.


When HP bought Palm last year I was hoping we would see less confusing messages and a more targeted focus for webOS with lots of resources to turn out great products. Instead, we end up with a rather lame tiny smartphone and then a tablet that was put on sale and then "officially launched" almost three weeks later. Yes, in case you didn't know HP's official launch for the HP TouchPad webOS tablet was yesterday, 17 July. I guess the 1 July release was just a practice run or something.

Joshua Topolsky was able to get both HP's Stephen DeWitt and Jon Rubinstein in the room together for an interview on webOS and they confirmed that the earlier launch was just a soft launch and that 17 July was the big date when you would see all the retail promotions, etc. While I did see a Best Buy ad this weekend, there is nothing about this official launch on the Official HP Palm Blog and I haven't seen any press releases or other promotion about this being the official launch date.

I think Josh did a good job in pressing both men in the interview, especially trying to find out why in the world they announced an upgraded model 14 days after they started selling them in stores. I thought most of their answers were just typical corporate promotion and they sounded defensive to me. The "Because we can." response from Jon about the TouchPad 4G was lame and is not helpful to those who spent $500+ on a TouchPad WiFi model who wanted a 3G one.

I still don't understand this dual launch strategy, but they should have held the "official launch" until they released their planned update that supposedly fixes a lot of the software issues buyers and reviewers have been complaining about.

Even though my podcast co-host, Kevin Tofel, doesn't agree with me I have a feeling webOS will be centered on printers and maybe netbook like devices rather than smartphones and tablets in the long term and bringing in a guy focused on delivering low cost laptops to consumers appears to confirm this idea. HP can't seem to get the Pre 3 out the door and they still haven't told us which carriers will be getting the device so my confidence in this platform is near zero at the moment. That's quite sad considering I started as a Palm guy in 1997 and tried to stick with them as long as I could.

See also:

Topics: Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Laptops, Mobile OS, Mobility, Operating Systems, Tablets

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: HP officially launches webOS TouchPad ... again?

    They are bringing in a guy with a successful track record on growing a market. Plus it only makes sense that a 4G/3G will follow the wifi one.
    • RE: HP officially launches webOS TouchPad ... again?

      @miles4000 <br>Yes, but introducing a "new" 4G model two weeks after the original model is just weird. Apple, started off with the wifi version as well, but they clearly announced that the 3G version would be coming in a couple months, it wasn't trotted out two weeks later. They really have just waited and rolled out everything this week.

      And yes, I also wonder why the first priority wasn't a best of class cell phone, not a slate or "mini-phone."
  • RE: HP officially launches webOS TouchPad ... again?

    They did say they were going to release a Touchpad with 4G/3G before the wifi one was released. As far as two launches go, meh. I'm not really concerned about it. I'm happy with my Touchpad and quite enjoy it. Can't wait for the updates!
  • stop whining about webOS

    if you don't like the tablet just return it and get the credit for the new one from Best Buy.
    July first was the 'launch' date and July 17 was the 'grand opening', you should know better what the difference is.
    Linux Geek
  • RE: HP officially launches webOS TouchPad ... again?

    The Touchpad will not be around in a year. HP went from one of the best companies in the world to one of the worst. Buying Compaq really took them downhill...buy an iPad, at least it has a strong eco-system and will be suppported for quite some time.
    • RE: HP officially launches webOS TouchPad ... again?

      I actually find it the other way. i always had issues with HP products but compaq was always rock solid and fast to fix any issues. HP drags their feet. I like the HP slate but not so much the WEB OS. I am happy with my xoom and my new Galaxy Tab 10.1 with my original Tab 7 inch in the car for on the go needs.Never an ipad unless you need a paper weight thats about all they are good for.
      • can't say I agree...

        But then you're happy with fewer useful apps made of lesser quality because the dev can't even make a living from it. Typical Android fan statement.
        As for the launch. They already lowered the price by 50$ here (CDN). And when they announce the 4G coming in a few weeks they also said it was going to have a faster processor.
    • Yeah, everybody buy an iPad

      Lord knows we don't need anything else other than what Steve Jobs provides. >_>;
      Michael Alan Goff
  • RE: HP officially launches webOS TouchPad ... again?

    Yes, can't agree more with your blog. HP are running around like headless chickens, not able to execute on their strategy which they are changing by the minute. They are desparately short of WebOS resources but are trying to manage two architecturally incompatible versions of it, failing miserably on both counts, and not even bothering to bug fix the devices they already have out the door. No wonder the carriers are not eager to take their phones anymore. I was silly enough to buy a Pre2, and HP cannot even fix a easy-fix big impact bug on the device that prevents its GPS from working in London or anywhere North or South of it. HP's culture is not up to competing with the likes of Apple and Google. They should sell Palm to Samsung, or Sony and then license the OS back from then to sell to corporate.
  • &quot;those who spent $500+ on a TouchPad WiFi model who wanted a 3G one.&quot;

    Then, why buy a WiFi model?..<br>Did someone put a gun to their heads?...
  • why would the LORDS of HP listen to Rubinstein the 'Apple Guy'?

    i've read bonks of articles on WebOS and HP. what people never seem to address is the politics in every company. <br><br>Will the entrenched managers and power brokers in HP in charge of the printers, windows PCs divisions etc cave in so easily and make Rubinstein ex-Apple ex-Palm chief of WebOS into a STAR and jeopardize their own positions? Give the Apple Guy' full support and let him grab the limelight, the bonuses and the promotions? <br>Don't think so unless you are Apple with Steve Jobs who can cut through the B.S (Jobs pushed iOS to equal standing or even ahead of Macs and iPods).<br><br>studies have shown that top managers spend 70% of their energy on promoting themselves (networking, kissing up to superiors, building alliances, turf fighting etc) and 30% on technical company business ('pure' lab rat engineers etc never get the top posts). Top managers will never just let outsiders walk onto their turf without major resistance.<br><br>GEEKY writers saying WebOS (because it's a cool tech) will transform HP easily without addressing internal politics are dumb, have little understanding of human nature. <br><br>I suspect New CEO Apoetaker an outsider who took over from Hurd who left under a cloud is himself on uncertain ground and doubtlessly afraid to push the established LORDS of Divisions too hard.<br><br>the HP touchPad disaster (fat clunky, no apps, buggy) is clear indication of lukewarm internal support. <br><br>look at Microsoft, the Lords of Windows Desktop and Office (the BIG Msft money earners) has whacked Win Mobile (peanut money division) for years, look at all the win Mo initiatives which went nowhere or died: Win Ce, Win Mobile 6, Zune, Zune Phone, Danger, Pink, Courier, Kin etc (yeah I know some of them are interlinked but I'm too confused to untangle the mess). Now the new tablet OS will be Windows DESKTOP 8!! Windows desktop guys will never cede power no matter how advantageous making new pure mobile OS is.
    • Davewrite, did write all of that specificlly to critisize MS?

      From what I just read, your entire speal was centered around MS, with the rest just an excuse to write about MS?

      No where in the article was Microsoft mentioned, so I'm wondering what your real agenda was.

      Please post honestly, without all the subterfuge, you make it all toc confusing to follow what you're really saying.
      William Pharaoh
      • what I'm saying is pretty clear to anyone with half a brain

        @William Pharaoh <br><br>perhaps it's your denial of reality that is confusing you? (what is a 'speal' by the way?) <br><br>my Microsoft section is just an example of how big company politics work, an illustration on what might be happening in HP. (you mean I can't use examples unless it is SPECIFICALLY mentioned in the article? That's 'subterfuge'? are you suffering conspiracy paranoid delusions? )
  • RE: HP officially launches webOS TouchPad ... again?

    Apple did not release their 3G iPad right away either, correct? SO why is HP's release of the 4G TouchPad so disturbing to this author? Seems like a whiner. And anyone "who spent $500+ on a TouchPad WiFi model who wanted a 3G one" are idiots if they thought it was 3G and still plunked down $500 without looking at the spec sheet. This guy's entire article is nonsensical.
  • RE: HP officially launches webOS TouchPad ... again?

    Well, at least, it is now visible and being actively promoted! Palm devices seemed like a geek's secret, at times. HP is running television ads, newspaper ads, and the Touchpad is on a special endcap display at our local Best Buy. I am still worried about the future of WebOS smartphones but this does show some commitment by HP to the future of WebOS devices. Maybe it will even convince the app developers. Maybe.
  • RE: HP officially launches webOS TouchPad ... again?

    You guys look hard and long to find things to criticize any product that does not fit into your apple fanboi world. The TouchPad is a failure because it does not look like an iPad, like Apple is perfect. The Touchpad will print which is something the first iPad would not do, but it was given a pass because oh no one using a tablet would want to print. Why don't you back off all the criticism of TouchPad and let the market decide if it's a failure. Your pages of failure will taste really bad when you have to eat crow.
    • RE: HP officially launches webOS TouchPad ... again?

      @skudera@... If the TP is a failure because of its looks, it is because it DOES look too much like an Apple product albeit an obsolete product called iPad 1.
      Funny how the most disliked aspect of the iPad was its weight, not its lack of ability to print... Innovation is good, it would be better if it was towards addressing more wanting issues... And no, I am not an Apple fan. I have a WebOS phone, I am just disappointed with HP lack of ability to concentrate and execute.
  • Let me ask you a question Matthew...

    do you also complain when a store/restaurant/casino/whatever has a "soft opening"?
  • RE: HP officially launches webOS TouchPad ... again?

    I no longer have faith in HP pulling this off, they will destroy the brand that is WebOS. The Palm brand that they killed probably had a more respected following in the consumer market than HP, with their race to the bottom shiny plastic wears. I could care less about my printers having WebOS, nor my PCs. I was hoping for a solid launch of the TouchPad and solid hardware, not a thick plastic clunker which look like it's ready to compete with the first gen iPad from last year. And even the first gen iPad hardware look better. I picked up the TouchPad and then went over to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 section, and what a difference it was in size, weight and sexyness.

    And how is it that Rim's Playbook performs better and smoother than the TouchPad? When Rim took the whole card UI thing from Palm!
  • RE: HP officially launches webOS TouchPad ... again?

    "AHEM, bzzz bzzz, we are launching the touchPAD!! Was the mic off?"