Is there any reason to purchase an HP TouchPad?

Is there any reason to purchase an HP TouchPad?

Summary: I buy lots of tablets, but honestly I don't see enough apps and services for webOS making the HP TouchPad a compelling choice.


I started using Palm devices in 1997 and was a major fan for years, but finally grew tired of them when the Palm Pre became a rather stagnant smartphone. I have been buying lots of tablets lately, including the iPad 2, BlackBerry PlayBook, and HTC Flyer, but now that the HP TouchPad is available for pre-order I find I have no real urge to buy one. One of the major reasons I love my iPad and am likely going to get rid of my PlayBook is the number and quality of available applications and services so when I look at webOS and their Palm Catalog of smartphone apps at something over 5,000 after 2 years I don't see developers jumping on the TouchPad for quite some time.

I gave up on my original iPad, but went back to the iPad 2 when I found I really did miss the applications and services available on iOS. I don't find much use for tablets like the PlayBook with a very limited selection of applications and am feeling more strongly each week that the number and quality of apps is key to tablet success. Harry McCracken has a good article asking "Why Should Somebody Buy This Instead of an iPad?" in reference to other tablets.

Jason actually declared the HP TouchPad dead on arrival while James believes it may be the last stand for iPad competitors given that Honeycomb tablets have been mostly lackluster, in large part due to a small selection of available tablet applications. The HP TouchPad is launching at the same price as the cheapest iPad, PlayBook and most other tablets, which is not really a surprise to me. However, like Jason stated HP has a LOT more work to convince people the TouchPad is a compelling device and with price not being a differentiator I really don't see why you wouldn't just get an iPad 2.

We are starting to see that James' theory that there is not a viable tablet market outside the iPad may be a very true statement. Before the iPad launch everyone seemed to say the iPad was just a convenience device for those with too much money in their pockets, but Apple has shown the iPad reaches much further than such a small group of people. However, no other tablet has yet been able to achieve even close to the sales of the iPad and there really may not be a market for such devices. Apple succeeds with the iPad thanks in large part to the hundreds of thousands of apps and an ecosystem that makes the experience easy and enjoyable.

Palm and now HP has let webOS languish without advancing it much and I personally think HP will eventually let the smartphone business die out as they focus on tablets. However, to have any chance of succeeding with webOS tablets they need to get developers on board fast. Do you think there is a market for the HP TouchPad or even tablets other than the iPad?

Topics: iPad, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Laptops, Mobility, Operating Systems, Smartphones, Tablets

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  • RE: Is there any reason to purchase an HP TouchPad?

    There is a market. I don't want an iPad because I don't like the closed Apple ecosystem. Having to jailbreak a new device to do simple things as using your bluetooth with skype isn't what I call ease of use. So I'm gonna buy the tablet that offers me the right amount of hardware and performance for a price. I don't need 300 thousand apps to be happy... I might be needing 20- 30 apps tops. The rest is bloatware. I hope the fruit fanboys won't rip my head off after this...
    • RE: Is there any reason to purchase an HP TouchPad?


      The trouble, young padawan, is that people who want to jailbreak a device, or even care whether or not an ecosystem is "closed", simply don't represent a market worth selling to.

      The iPad does 99% of the tasks that 99% of the non-jedi population of planet Earth need a computer to do: store and play music & movies, view photos, email, surf, do word processing, facebooking, read books magazines and newspapers, go online shopping & banking and playing games.

      That's before we get into complex document creation or video-editing, building spreadsheets or creating advanced presentations and everything else it does - even the people who still say the iPad is a consumption-only device don't really believe that any more.

      Anyone who has any real heavy-lifting to be done won't be using a tablet of any kind (at least until iPad 4 or 5 anyway) but a computer. And that - along with less battery life, thicker form factor, lower build quality, malware - is where the problem lies for iPad competitors; which is, after all, the point of the above article.

      So there you are: no ripping off of heads, simply a real-world assessment of the tablet market as it stands today. A world which will only become more difficult for other tablets to survive in now that, with the arrival of iOS5 in the Autumn, people (real, everyday people) can buy iPads without needing a computer alongside it.

      I hope this brings you enlightenment and greater understanding.

      • RE: Is there any reason to purchase an HP TouchPad?

        @Englishmole Crazy talk! Don't try any of your Jedi mind tricks on me..... oh wait, you are right.
      • RE: Is there any reason to purchase an HP TouchPad?

        @Englishmole <br><br>LOL<br>Jedis. Great metaphor. Thanks for saying perfectly what I've been trying to say for a while now: Non-Jedis just don't give a s--t!
      • RE: Is there any reason to purchase an HP TouchPad?

        Eventually, when a significant portion of the iPad consumers feel tired of iPad (in truth, it has many things lacking) because so many people have it, when anyone from the Apple's competitors start to truly innovate and understand the importance of offering a complete solution (i.e. HW & OS are only two pieces of the solution), consumers will see multiple choices. If history repeats itself, Apple will eventually have to share the market with others. After all, can Apple keep winning when so many others want to take the throne? Nobody can defy history and physics.
      • RE: Is there any reason to purchase an HP TouchPad?

        @Englishmole<br><br>Although the iPad has apps for creation, its OS is inherently unsuited for heavy lifting. Single tasking is not the most ideal of situations. I find that in navigation of iOS that I get lost and forget what I was doing last. Its easy to do when you have information overload apps at your disposal such as RSS readers and Twitter readers.<br><br>An OS such as webOS is truly capable of heavy lifting simply due to the fact that it has side-by-side multitasking. A window/card opens up right next to the window you were previously working on when you click on a link. This is why HP is taglining the phrase "Works like you do"<br><br>I find this a compelling case for the Touchpad. Not to mention "Inductive Charging", "Synergy", "Just-Type", "Cloud-based setup and account sync" etc.


        I too am looking for a tablet that has this middleground closed/open system that HP is offering. I seen the potential with the original Palm Pre. @Englishmole, I agree with your statement that 99% of the population could care less due to the fact the iPad does 99% of everything they need. The Touchpad, I would guess, would cover 99% of that as well. Having the ability to add functionality to an OS is golden IMHO.
  • It is just the beginning Matt of a new era of touch devices

    It's not a problem for HP or any other vendor to withdraw a model from production and reintroduce a new model that corrects defects, provides enhancements that put a product on a better footing for sale.

    That's how it works. Now we can just sit back and enjoy all the choice we have that didn't exist only to until recently--brought to you by:

    Dietrich T. Schmitz, *~* Your Linux Advocate
  • RE: Is there any reason to purchase an HP TouchPad?

    Well, I want one, and over the iPad or myriad of Androids I've seen and played with at kiosks.
    Lack of apps doesn't bother me, who would really want or use 300,000 apps. Any that I'd like to have, but mot available for my business use, I'll write.
    • RE: Is there any reason to purchase an HP TouchPad?

      @dalspartan I would have to agree. The HP Touchpad looks like a more compelling tablet compared to the iPad 2. I would want it primarily for leisurely surfing the internet browser and what makes the HP Touchpad desirable compared to the iPad 2 is Flash. I want to see movie reviews that are mostly made in Flash, I also want to play Flash games and Flash-based apps and tools. I want the FULL web experience...and I think HP Touchpad's 1.4GHz dual core processor beats the iPad 2's processor just on performance.

      When iPhone first came out, it had only a fraction of apps that the Palm Treo smartphones had. So this just shows that having many apps on any platform doesn't necessarily always win in the end. I think the new experience that the first iPhone delivered will have the same impact the HP Touchpad with webOS will bring.

      I gotta buy the HP Touchpad with an HP smartphone just to own the "touch to share" feature and convenience.
    • How funny

      The old and tired excuse that there weren't enough apps for the Mac was spewed endlessly, even though nobody needed all the crapware that ran on Windows. The new argument against Apple's iOS is who needs all those apps.
  • The global market will finally decide the winners

    Last time around (in the Windows vs Mac fight), it was the US that decided Windows was a winner. However, it is a global economy now with Europe, China and India counting towards the final numbers. Android does have a nice voice command that is pretty close to American accents, but fails in other English speaking countries including India. BTW, if these tablets are aimed at the general public, Android fails even the simplest of tasks - web browsing. Go to any Asian site ( for instance) and all you see are boxes instead of proper characters. So how do the non techies users know they have to download a font? What is a font? Where do you go to get one? Why all these complicated items? Now compare this with any iOS device. Go to any Asian web site (such as and it displays proper characters instead of boxes. Does it mean that you have to be a techie/semi techie to use Android? I am not an Apple or MS fan, I am a Linux techie and I like the fact that Android is built on Linux. However, when it comes to UX (User Experience) and usability, Apple leads out there in the front. Android has "nice looking" icons, no doubt as they copy the iOS, but how usable is it by a non techie? How would a generic user know that he/she may have to kill apps running/lurking in the background? These apps could be consuming resources such as battery or memory, and the end user would be blaming either Android or the device maker. I think Apple got it perfectly right on multi tasking AND not allowing interpreted environments such as Flash, Java or .NET
    • RE: Is there any reason to purchase an HP TouchPad?

      You are right on. I would recommend that HP fires their marketeers who take care of TouchPad lauch. Intead, HP should hire you to lead the marketing effort. Like-wise, you can perhaps moon-light for Motorola and Dell.
  • RE: Is there any reason to purchase an HP TouchPad?

    If you want an ipad youd probably already have it. There are plenty of people who like the tablet form factor and do not want an ipad. It doesnt mean HP will compete with the ipad in total sales number out of the gate. But they can be profitable and get the ball rolling with the touchpad.

    Secondly there are reasons to buy a Touchpad. The operating system is fantastic (superior to iOS) and does true multitasking. For actual work it looks like a superior product.(Keep in mind im writing all this from an iPad).

    As for the number of apps... As long as they have apps that matter available the sheer number of apps is sort of a silly spec.

    How about we wait for the Touchpad to hit the market before we declareit dead.
    • Yeah sure

      And three years ago people like yourself were saying, "If you wanted an iPhone you probably already have one", Doh!
  • Yes. the HP Touchpad is the Un-Cola

    IOS is the new Windows, and WebOS is the new OSX.

    Windows did everything, but OSX always did it better, cleaner, neater and easier. That's how WebOS is. It will do things better.

    They are building an ecosystem to support it. They have the muscle to support it and it's a great alternative to the mainstream ipad2. I am a huge Apple fan too, I have had one since 2000. I grew up on them in school. I had a early generation ipod. I have had a Palm device since the late '90's. It's all about the user experience. that was what drew me to Apple. It's what now draws me to the TouchPad. The rest of the ecosystem will come along. As is, and what they have advertised I would have 96% of my needs covered. I can't even find hardly any apps worth using on the Apple App store because there are so many. I won't even bother with android. It's the enthusiast platform and clearly not ready to be taken seriously as a great user experience.
    • RE: Is there any reason to purchase an HP TouchPad?


      If the UI is as good as the iPad AND if I can get apps that I can NOT get for iOS (i.e. Torrent-FU) I'd definitely consider an HP TouchPad.
      • RE: Is there any reason to purchase an HP TouchPad?

        @Maconvert The UI is aesthetically better than the iPad. webOS has a lot of style...from being the first OS to implement simple swiping to terminate apps to having button and screen elements with rounded-off corners. Android is blocky...iOS is a little less blocky, but webOS is sexy.
  • RE: Is there any reason to purchase an HP TouchPad?

    My take is that HP's focus is primarily the corporate market with this device. It's the one space where Apple's current advantages don't necessarily come into play. While some companies are letting people use their Apple devices at work, there has not been a big jump in corporate buys of Apple computers/laptops/tablets. I think that's why they showed the ability to run Citrix on their ads. If HP can get corporate buyers to get on board (like IBM did when the PC revolution started), they will be able to grab enough market share to continue to develop and improve WebOS.
  • RE: Is there any reason to purchase an HP TouchPad?

    If you follow the same reasoning (number of apps) then why would anyone buy a Macbook instead of a windows laptop?
    • RE: Is there any reason to purchase an HP TouchPad?


      Thats a really good analogy.