BlackBerry PlayBook vs. HP TouchPad: A tale of two failures

BlackBerry PlayBook vs. HP TouchPad: A tale of two failures

Summary: Both Research in Motion and Hewlett-Packard failed to properly execute the launch of their flagship Tablet products. Why? It's a case of management foul-ups versus engineering snafus.

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Both Research in Motion and Hewlett-Packard failed to properly execute the launch of their flagship Tablet products. Why? It's a case of management foul-ups versus engineering snafus.

Someday, not very far in the future, in business school, the tales of both the BlackBerry PlayBook and the HP TouchPad will both be told. It will be recounted that when it finally came time for both of these companies to execute in their attempts to adequately compete with Apple's iPad and Google Android Tablets, they both failed miserably.

But RIM and HP's tablet failures were conceived in two completely different ways, even though both companies' products and launch strategies had some overlap in terms of what they both tried and failed to accomplish.

RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook: A Failure of Management

RIM had all of the ingredients to make the PlayBook a viable, healthy competitor to Apple's iPad. The objective was to make the device the "Enterprise Tablet", the one that busy jet-setting executives would carry in their vest as a pocket powerhouse and access all sorts of corporate apps with.

Besides the iPad 2, the PlayBook was probably one of the most anticipated mobile computing products of 2011. Its hardware and well as its core operating system, QNX, is considered by many technologists and analysts covering the embedded systems/consumer electronics space (including myself) to be best of breed.

Also Read: iPad 2 vs BlackBerry Playbook -- Of Course You Realize, This Means War.

In addition to having overall excellent build quality, the device's OS is extremely responsive, stable, and features perhaps the highest performing and most compatible web browser on any tablet platform shipping to date.

QNX's multi-tasking on the PlayBook has to be seen to be believed. It is astounding.

The PlayBook's video capture using its integrated front-facing 3MP and rear-facing 5MP cameras as well as its on-board video conferencing software is also considered to be the best of all of the tablets currently on the market. There is absolutely nothing in terms of tablet or smartphone video chat that can be compared to it in terms of video and sound quality, and that includes Apple's own FaceTime.

Also Read: BlackBerry PlayBook Video Chat Hands-On: Best in Class?

However, despite the extreme care put into the actual engineering of the product, the launch of the PlayBook is widely considered to have been a failure, due to a lack of good applications seeded into the BlackBerry App World and the product's lack of a native email and calendaring client.

Only a third of PlayBooks were sold in the second quarter of 2011 than were originally expected, according to reports prepared by Asian consumer electronics research firm DigiTimes.

While I have no doubt that RIM employs a great deal of engineering talent that is capable of developing fantastic products, the company has made a number of strategic management errors that likely have doomed the PlayBook platform to failure.

To begin, somewhere along the line, a management decision was made not to ship the product with native email and calendaring, and requiring the BlackBerry Bridge software and a RIM BlackBerry handset activated on BIS or BES in order to access email or calendaring.

BlackBerry Bridge was only recently allowed to be used on AT&T BlackBerry handsets. Up until July 1st, its use was prohibited on that network since the PlayBook's launch on April 19th.

It has been alluded to by Business Insider that this key deficit on the PlayBook may have been a necessary trade-off in order to launch the product within the time frame of the release of competing products such as the iPad 2 and various Android Honeycomb tablets, due to architectural limitations in RIM's centralized messaging infrastructure that needed to be fixed.

While these limitations in the messaging infrastructure do point to a failure to properly engineer the required back-end services to support the product, ultimately this boils down to a failure in management.

RIM could have waited until the product was ready and waited for a native client and back-end support to materialize prior to launch, if in fact the messaging infrastructure issues needed to be solved.

The second major management failure points to a lack of a clear application development roadmap as well as a failure to supply the appropriate developer tools required in order to properly seed the BlackBerry App World with good applications prior to launch.

This clearly evident due to the fact that RIM has announced no fewer than five different APIs for writing PlayBook applications: Adobe AIR, Webworks, Java, Android and Native C++. The last three of which have not yet been released to the balance of RIM's 3rd-party developers yet.

The problem is that RIM decided to go with the least desirable application programming environment first, Adobe AIR. Not only did RIM's key developer base not have core competency in Adobe AIR, but there were few good Adobe AIR or Flash-based apps to port over to the PlayBook, period.

All of the existing apps for Blackberry handsets are written in Java. Not AIR.

RIM announcing support for Android apps via a "player" shortly after product launch at BlackBerry World also added additional confusion and can be counted as a third management failure. If RIM had intended to provide Android/Dalvik VM support for the PlayBook in the first place, then why not provide those tools prior to launch?

Indeed, RIM had failed to foresee the problems of an "App Gap" on the PlayBook and were scrambling to provide tools and methods for leveraging the existing and very popular Android ecosystem.

Also Read: RIM's Android Compatibility for BlackBerry PlayBook Will Be a Big Game of Chase

The Java/Android environment and the native messaging/calendaring apps aren't due until later this summer, and the native C++ PlayBook development environment for QNX (which would truly allow the hardware to be exploited) isn't due until around the fall, when Apple is expected to launch its highly-awaited iOS 5 update for the iPhone and iPad that will include support for the new iCloud service.

[HP's TouchPad: A poor clone rushed to production, that crashes and burns]»

Hewlett-Packard: A Failure to Engineer

Like the PlayBook, the TouchPad was also a very highly-anticipated product. While Palm was never particularly successful with its line of WebOS-based smartphones, there was never any doubt that Palm's next-generation OS itself had extremely compelling technology and the polish that was necessary to attract both consumers and also enterprise users to a tablet which used it, at least on paper.

The HP TouchPad was actually Hewlett-Packard's second attempt to enter the tablet market in less than two years, following an extremely unsuccessful and delayed launch of the HP Slate 500 in early 2010, which ran on Windows 7.

Also Read: HP's Slate Was an Ugly Baby With Windows 7

The Slate was heavy, had poor battery life, and did not have a tablet-optimized user interface. While some units were bought by enterprise customers and for vertical-market applications, the Slate was an engineering dud.

It was a sign of things to come.

Shortly after the introduction of the first Apple iPad, HP purchased Palm, Inc for $1.2 Billion, rescuing the dying company from certain oblivion.

While this came as a shock to many industry observers including myself, the purchase was regarded as a good management decision because WebOS had a lot of good technology in it, as well as talented software developers at Palm that could build an extremely compelling WebOS-based tablet if they had the right engineering effort put behind them.

So we waited, patiently, for signs of this mythical WebOS-based tablet, for over a year. In that time, the competition released a number of impressive tablets if you look at them in terms of raw engineering.

The iPad 2 obviously took everyone by surprise in terms of how thin and powerful the device could be without sacrificing battery or processor/graphics performance.

The BlackBerry PlayBook, while beset with a bunch of problems described above caused by management foul-ups, is still very much a technological marvel, featuring an extremely powerful Texas Instruments dual-core OMAP 4430 with sophisticated graphics rendering and multimedia capabilities, dual HD cameras and native 1080p video output.

Similarly, a bevy of nVidia Tegra 2-based Android Honeycomb devices, which included the Motorola XOOM, the Acer Iconia A500, the Asus Transformer and the razor-thin Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 set the benchmark in terms of what customers expected out of competing/alternative tablets to Apple's offering -- powerful, thin, light, long battery life, and responsive software.

Not to mention memory expandability via MicroSD cards, which is a prime differentiator from the iPad.

So what did HP finally unveil in June 2011, after over a year of wait-and-see for WebOS? A bad clone of the original Apple iPad. To put it bluntly, if the iPad 2 was the sleek and sexy Concorde, the HP TouchPad was the Tupolev Tu-144.

The "iPadski" if you will.

Clearly, HP's hardware engineers thought that copying the form factor of the original iPad is what would attract consumers. Heck, if a customer can't tell the difference between an iPad and a TouchPad, chances are they might actually buy a TouchPad, right? Wrong.

With the TouchPad, HP's engineers gave us identical screen resolution and aspect ratio to the iPad 2 (1024x768) as well as a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, but the device is just as heavy and as thick as the first-generation iPad.

The HP TouchPad sports a single 1.3MP forward-facing camera, compared to the twin cameras on the iPad (VGA forward-facing, 1MP in rear) and on many other competing Android tablets and the PlayBook which sport dual HD cameras.

The device appears to only have a 6 to 8 hour battery life, compared to the iPad's 10 hours, based on the observations of mainstream consumer electronics columnists such as the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg that have formally reviewed the device.

My own personal observations of the device's battery performance with my own use of the TouchPad during the 4th of July weekend are in line with Mr. Mossberg's.

As if the weight and the battery life were not reasons alone to give the device a pass, the device is made out of plastic and has a cheap construction with no friction pad on the rear or rubberized coating.

I can actually feel the casing give way to my thumbs when they depress on it and if you have a tendency to get sweaty palms, the device gets slippery and grimy with bodily oils very quickly.

TechRepublic's teardown of the innards of the HP TouchPad also reveal inferior manufacturing and component integration processes compared to its competitors.

Also Read: Teardown of HP TouchPad (TechRepublic)

As to the beautiful and innovative WebOS HP purchased with their Palm acquisition? While the multitasking UI is visually impressive and is similar to what exists on the BlackBerry PlayBook, unlike RIM's device, it's very sluggish and applications frequently hang and crash, not to mention are very slow to load, including the HP App Catalog.

For example, while I was listening to a podcast today, if you attempt to switch to the email client or another resource intensive app like Spaz HD, the background audio playback will stutter for several seconds until the system releases resources or recovers.

The video/audio chat capability built-into the device is also practically useless. In various tests that I performed between TouchPads as well as TouchPad to PCs using Skype protocol, audio was completely garbled.

When doing similar tests over the same Optimum Online Ultra network link in Northern New Jersey with a Mac Mini Server and an iPad 2 using Skype and FaceTime to various geographies, and the BlackBerry PlayBook using its native video chat to another PlayBook 1,800 miles away in Austin, TX, there were no such issues.

My test subjects, James Kendrick (Houston, TX), Zack Whittaker (United Kingdom), Veeam's Rick Vanover (Columbus, OH) and AMD's Patrick Moorhead (Austin, TX) can attest to this. In James' case, he actually had to reboot his TouchPad because the Video/Audio chat application went haywire and locked up his device.

Rick Vanover provided me with recordings of what transpired during the attempted audio chats. It's not pretty, folks.

The TouchPad's WebOS 3.0 also appears to have shipped with a memory leak which severely degrades performance until the device is rebooted, as observed by Walt Mossberg and myself.

HP is scrambling to get out a patch to deal with this memory leak and all the other performance issues over the next several weeks.

I have no doubt these initial software issues will be addressed and that WebOS is probably here to stay for at least several iterations of the TouchPad and related HP consumer electronics products.

However, I believe the company ultimately failed to execute in terms of engineering a device that would appeal to both consumers and enterprises alike, especially given such a long lead time and the advantage of being able to watch its competitors release premature products to market first.

Who failed to execute the worst with their tablet offerings? Hewlett-Packard or Research In Motion? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

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

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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222 comments
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  • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook vs. HP TouchPad: A tale of two failures

    Today I've been able to edit a presentation, video chat with my wife, videos on YouTube, record a high definition video clip and upload it to Google+, check my email, read and edit Spreadsheets and read your biased and defamatory article...ALL ON MY PLAYBOOK. How is that a failure???!!! RIM should take you to court for writing this article!!
    mam@...
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook vs. HP TouchPad: A tale of two failures

      @mam [b]"RIM should take you to court for writing this article!!"[/b]

      For what, telling the truth?
      jperlow
      • I agree that they can't sue you

        But you also have to realize that saying something is a failure so shortly after the launch is something that is neither a "truth" or "lie".

        Nobody remembers the shaky start of the Android Smartphone. This is a new market, it's only been around for a whole. The Playbook has only been around for... even less time.

        If we went by the advice of ZDnet, we'd all have iPad 2s and there'd be no competition.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook vs. HP TouchPad: A tale of two failures

        @goff256 Forget New Media like ZDNet. EVERY mainstream technology journalist, be it David Pogue at the NY Times, Walt Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and the Associated Press has said point blank DO NOT BUY THE TOUCHPAD due to the problems I have outlined. If HP drops the price of the product to a more reasonable number, say $300, they might be able to rescue it. But there is no way they can attract buyers for the same price as an iPad with LESS capabilities and sluggish performance. The launch this weekend at Best Buy was utterly abysmal. There's no way HP can recover from this launch and restore consumer confidence in it. They could launch another TouchPad, but I seriously doubt the developers will even bother to write apps for the platform if the sales of the first one are God-awful.
        jperlow
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook vs. HP TouchPad: A tale of two failures

        @jperlow

        I can't speak for the TouchPad, my local BB didn't have them out when I went there. I can only speak for the Playbook that I used there. It was a very smooth experience, one that made me almost pick it over the Xoom that I eventually went with.

        The TouchPad may, indeed, flop. But after such a short time, it's premature to call it a flop. If you asked people about Android, they'd have said the same thing in 2007. There was a time when OS# was seen as the winner without Windows having a chance.

        Everyone who made those predictions were wrong. I just don't think it's smart to make such large leaps. I plan on buying a TouchPad in the future, about three or four months from now. HP is working frantically to fix the bugs that they've had slammed in their faces.

        This is HP, though. They're going to fix them.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook vs. HP TouchPad: A tale of two failures

        @jperlow <br><br>The problem is you're comparing them to the iPad on specific requirements - which apparently are not enough fart apps. The iPad doesn't do Flash and can't run any Web app that uses HTML 5 audio or video. However, Android tablets have no problems with HTML 5 web apps (nor does my WP7 phone running Mango beta) so I'm afraid the iPad fails big time, if we evaluate it on these requirements.<br><br>All that really matters for all the tablets is whether I'll be able to install Win 8 on them in the future - like I can do with my Acer convertible tablet. Any tablet capable of installing Win 8 is going to get a big boost in useability and productivity.<br><br>Apple always uses the "that's not a bug it's a feature' approach and their clever restriction on autoplay in HTML 5 is designed solely at forcing people to use their appalling development environment to make apps that will only work on the iPhone.<br><br>And sorry what you have is an opinion, not necessarily the truth.
        tonymcs@...
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook vs. HP TouchPad: A tale of two failures

        @goff256<br>Normally I agree with you, but here two things that HP has to fix quickly, and i think they are very easy for HP to fix<br>1. Price, they should make it less because a casual slate/pad buyer will notice one has two cameras and the other has one even though they don't normally use back camera on a pad size (thats what I noticed when I was there at BB), since 16GB Wifi of both are priced at $499 when the compare iPad vs. Touchpad.<br>2. Fix sluggish touch response. It is not fluid like iOS devices or WP7 and some of the Android devices have much better touch response than WebOS devices (whether it is phone or touchpad).<br><br>There are other minor things like they should offer discount to registered develoeprs to attract and build ecosystem and have some hp engineers at local stores during weekends at least to garner attention. Some of the Bestbuy stores still have sign like coming soon at HP Table and you don't see one on the tables at Walmart, and you have to ask for it there.
        Ram U
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook vs. HP TouchPad: A tale of two failures

        @jperlow You have already predicted DOA & now 2 days after launch are calling touchpad a failure. Looks like you are trying hard to make it one. Your a dramatic /headlines / traffic grabbing know little. The Truth?
        http://onstartups.com/tabid/3339/bid/58082/16-Brilliant-Insights-From-Steve-Jobs-Keynote-Circa-1997.aspx
        webOS in similar situation. I bet you where laughing at Steve Jobs during this era. There is no making sense to a "writer" such as your self. The Touchpad has a future. I do not recommend anyone rush out & buy new tech products on launch day. Jason is like a cast member from the "Jersey Shore" Drama . webOS is good for competition & consumers.
        clutch1222
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook vs. HP TouchPad: A tale of two failures

        @jperlow ,it's ok to grow old and go to a retirement home...
        stop seeing innovation,the playbook is good and the touchpad is good as well but the ipad is a like piece of jewellery that you buy for people to see and not really for you.
        some people value more perception than usefulness(IOS) and others value usefulness over perception(android) well its better to have a balance between the 2(webos,qnx).
        that old granpa WSJ reporter don't really know what's good he's stuck in the past as you're ,so you claim to have 2 decades of experience.
        someone was reviewing hp envy and said that it's drawback not to have blue ray but he didn't say to the macbook series...
        truthtobetold
      • @Rama.NET

        "2. Fix sluggish touch response. It is not fluid like iOS devices or WP7 and some of the Android devices have much better touch response than WebOS devices (whether it is phone or touchpad)."

        Agreed.

        I think they can do it, though. It'll just take some time, and some effort. And HP also has the manpower and money to throw at that, which means they can put in the time and effort.

        "1. Price, they should make it less because a casual slate/pad buyer will notice one has two cameras and the other has one even though they don't normally use back camera on a pad size (thats what I noticed when I was there at BB), since 16GB Wifi of both are priced at $499 when the compare iPad vs. Touchpad."

        I think they wasted a good opportunity for former WebOS users. It would have been great to see that be a 100$ off ticket, instead of 50. Another idea, which you already said, is to make developing into something that has an incentive.

        Get the developers on your side by offering them a discount on an online purchase of their TouchPad.

        Knocking off 50-75 dollars off of the entire price would be a good idea as well. If they sell millions of these things, they can make the money back up with money made from their app store. That is how Apple makes a lot of money these days, I believe.

        I'm not saying that it's going to be an easy battle for anything without an i in front of it, but it's a battle that has to be fought. The iPad isn't for everyone, and nobody should act like it is.

        I see HP being able to bring WebOS to a lot of people, if they play their cards right.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook vs. HP TouchPad: A tale of two failures

        @truthtobetold

        I?m not sure what your point is? He is expressing his opinion and feels that in terms of technology the Touchpad doesn?t stack up. I fail to see how insulting people and/or reviewers helps to validate your point whatsoever.

        I think that the playbook is a great tablet. I am not sold on the HP TouchPad as of yet, but they have the potential to get some enterprise market because there are a lot of HP shops out there. The Problem is that HP tried to sell it as the solution for everyone who didn?t want an iPad. Unfortunately it?s just not there yet. Looking at RIM, the playbook has no native email client. It?s hard to accept that RIM released a device that I can?t link to my BES without tethering to a phone. All of our phones sit within the domain, browsing is monitored by Websense, and work great for our enterprise environment. The Playbook was marketed as the professional solution, and it certainly had the technology to live up to the hype. However, RIM failed to gift it with what they had that was useful for business and enterprises. If I was to look at the Playbook as being marketed to our workplace, which I believe is what they were trying to do, they did indeed fail.

        I like webOS and QNX and think they both have potential. However, it?s just not polished yet. With time that will change, but immediately it seems as though companies are acting reactively to the success of Apple instead of laying out a proactive game plan. I am not an apple fan at all, but I can understand where Jason may be coming from in this article.
        Fan_of_Tech
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook vs. HP TouchPad: A tale of two failures

        @jperlow calling the PlayBook dead is certainly stretching it. The thing is just now launching in world markets and the 4G one hasn't shipped yet. The iPad wasn't built in a day either. It's been out for a few years now.

        I get (but don't agree with the mistake on email - in my mind, the Bridge software that links my BlackBerry to the PlayBook so that I don't have to pay for two data plans is brilliant but then I don't have to deal with AT&T's silly pricing scheme). I don't really want yet another mailbox to sync... the fact the PlayBook uses the already excellent one on the BlackBerry is a FEATURE... not a limitation.

        The PlayBook isn't perfect but just about every issue it faces can/will be addressed with the automatic software patches that RIM pushes out roughly every two weeks. From reading your column, you'd have no idea that the iPad only recently supported cut & paste!!!! Facetime is a joke with the VGA camera and the lack of a USB port is still very vexing but bigger than that, is that I can't take it into the Enterprise with me... the security on the thing is a joke. Yes, we have pilots of iPads but they aren't allowed to do anything on the network except access email... big whop.

        According to your thesis, RIM could have waited until all the requisite features were in place (say Sept) and released then... BUT as you also note, there are a slew of competitive tablets and RIM is in danger of letting the competitors into the enterprise market - a year after the original announcement would have been a bit much IMHO so they were damned if they did and damned if they didn't.

        I think you in the media are too much in search of a catchy headline. There is still a HUGE market in tablets out there that hasn't been even slightly tapped yet so declaring RIM DOA is a bit premature. Apple after all existed for decades on the crumbs that fell off of Microsoft's table and today has a stock market premium of 50% over MS (which was passed by IBM once again as well). You should know better than declaring losers in this quick moving tech world. Out of all the tablets so far, the PlayBook is the most able competitor to the iPad/iPad2 and the challenges are around applications (and there are very few applications that I really want that aren't on the PlayBook - all of which are announced and coming). The fact that I now leave my Thinkpad at home 90% of the time and bring along the PORTABLE PlayBook to do customer presentations, email, web browsing, video chat (with PlayBooks and other PC's) and can still control my Thinkpad remotely to do the few non-web things I can't get at on my PlayBook means this is really is a business tablet - and other than the cost of the device, I haven't paid a nickle extra for data charges. I don't see many iPad users out in the real world of business without also dragging around a laptop. As long as I need to drag along a laptop, I'll stick with a laptop... I carry enough crap as it is. The point to the PlayBook is that its the first device that you can actually take instead of a laptop - most of the time at least.

        I'm a natural optimist and recognize that tech is full of examples of crap winning against the technological winner (I was a big OS/2 fan as well until MS finally released a version of windows that was as capable as OS/2). That hasn't happened yet. Apple has a LONG way to go and there are still hundreds of millions of tablets waiting to be sold. Tone down the pessimism buddy. I know you like iPads but lets at least TRY to be balanced.
        mapsonburt
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook vs. HP TouchPad: A tale of two failures

        @ tonymcs
        Please name a single Flash app that I can not run on an iPad.
        DeusXMachina
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook vs. HP TouchPad: A tale of two failures

        @jperlow I got my Touchpad first thing Friday at Best Buy. They even let me reach into the cabinet to grab the first Touchpad to be sold, a 32G unit. I watched a major league game on Friday night, and three back episodes of the Closer on TNT wb site the next morning, and still had 22% battery life. I have set up my email, calendar, contacts, skype, etc. Talked to my daughter with my first ever video call for 2 hours, without incident. I have downladed several apps, games, etc. Have used them all without incident. Have not had any noticible lag, webOS is so superior to any other platform. My Touchpad has not frozen once. I left 16 playing cards open last night, pushed power button this morning and instantly my pages were still showing, and updated. Since my Touchpad is soon to have a protective screen sheet, and a case, I really don't care that you seem to think it is inferior. I don't think I have ever seen an IPAD out in the wild that was not in a case. So anyway, I've read the reviews from several sources, and I am looking forward to my first software update, even though I have yet to experience any shortcomings. Quality app parity should only take a few months. There are only three aps that I am waiting for, and none of them are emergenicies, and probably not needed because my phone is adequate for those. Will be nice to get QuickOffice interative, though.<br><br>In summary, my 4.5 day experience with the HP Touchpad has been enjoyable and problem free. Thank you
        Detfan
      • Perlow: Poor Track Record on Predictions

        @jperlow... Over a year ago you announced the death of the Kindle. Your track record on predicting hardware failures underwhelms me!
        kyron.gustafson@...
    • It's because of the iPad

      Everybody here loves it.

      Sales are compared to it, app numbers are compared to it, size and shape are compared to it. Every single aspect of anything is compared to it.

      And if it doesn't beat the iPad in every way, and I do mean every, it's a failure.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook vs. HP TouchPad: A tale of two failures

        @goff256 It doesn't have to [b]beat[/b] the iPad. But HP was arrogant to price it exactly the same when facing such a huge uphill battle and having severe feature deficits when compared to its largest competitor.
        jperlow
      • Not really

        the iPad and the Touchpad, despite similar names, are catered for different people. If you have an iPhone, iPod, or anything with i in front of it, the iPad is for you.

        I couldn't see myself grabbing an iPad, though. Then again, I'm one of those sub-human Xoom users. I apparently got one of the only working Xooms from the way everyone talks.

        I see the TouchPad gaining ground, though. It's too early to count it as a failure after... less than a month of it being out.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • first player

        i agree with goff256. apple set the standard and has the consumer/public believe that the ipad is the only tablet for everyone on this planet. with their first man on the moon type of advantage it is no wonder that everything is compared to that. i personally own a playbook (very recent) and have been a blackberry fan for years...i have only had blackberries as a phone (clearly im not that old) and i probably will not switch. with that being said there are times when i would think of switching to apple just because of the multitude of apps their platform offers. but in the playbooks defence when it comes to limited apps their browser more than makes up for it. like they definitely did not need to make a facebook app or a youtube app because the full fledge websites work like a charm. in term of the touchpad i agree with all the points made in this article....it is too heavy, laggy, and is missing a second camera...like seriously? way to not only clone ipad 1 but also be behind everyone else. also during the training session (i work at a retail store) i was told that a reason a customer should upgrade is because their old ipad cases would fit the touchpad....how much more obvious could this be. also the beats audio thing is another hyped up feature. i personally dont think videos sound any better on the touchpad than it does on the playbook, acer iconia, asus transformer, xoom, or the ipad (remember i technically have access to compare all of the above products at the same time). all in all HP needs to go back to the drawing board, burn everything on it and start fresh cause by my counts this is failure number 2 and RIM is still sitting at 1 with the playbook so in all accounts RIM isnt doing all that bad. thanks for reading my two cents folks, and this was written on my playbook so disregard any typing mistakes <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/grin.gif" alt="grin">
        eidris@...
      • Like it or not, first mover has some serious advantages.

        @goff256

        Apple, though you may hate it, is driving the game and you have to not match the iPad but beat it on all the serious competitive points:

        1) Size.
        2) Weight.
        3) Battery life.
        4) Fluid interface.
        5) Usability.

        and you have to beat on PRICE. No question. You have to come 20% under to get people to even look at your tablet.

        Notice that I did not list memory, cores, GHz, GPU, USB, HDMI... None of those really matter.

        Also notice, I really hope that HP and RIM can make a go of these tablets. They bring in a unique view and have some very solid under-pinnings. Especially the PlayBook with QNX. A simply amazing OS.
        Bruizer