BlackBerry PlayBook and HP TouchPad OSes have similarities, raising the question of whether those similarities are intentional or the result of each company hitting on the ideal interface.
The Apple iPad
may have touched off the entire tablet market, but that isn't stopping
competitors from trying to pull rank.
While at a
glance, RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook and Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad could pass for
iPad siblings-screen-size differences aside-the two feature operating systems that
bear still more in common. Each features "cards," representing applications,
that users can swipe through. And in both RIM's QNX-based BlackBerry Tablet OS
and HP's webOS, swiping a card off the screen closes the application.
pot, Laptop Magazine went to both HP and RIM looking for comments.
we've seen in the market, there are some uncanny similarities. It's a fast
innovation cycle and a fast imitation cycle," Jon Oakes, HP's director of product
marketing for TouchPad, reportedly told the magazine.
that HP wasn't worried, given its talented team. "We just know that we have the
creative engine here to continue to build on what we have," he added.
RIM's senior vice president for business and platform marketing, responded that
RIM, like its competitors, set out on the same mission: to create the very best
user experience. So it's not terribly surprising that they wound up at the same
time end up looking a lot alike because you put them through a wind tunnel, and
when you're trying to come up with the best coefficient-to-drag ratio, there's
one optimized shape that gets the best wind resistance, right?" McDowell said.
"Well, when you're trying to optimize user experience that juggles
multitasking, multiple apps open at once and on a small screen, you're going to
get people landing on similar kinds of designs."
And maybe HP
didn't even arrive at the design first.
said McDowell, "I think QNX (a software company, focused on in-vehicle applications, that
RIM purchased in April 2009) had that design lined up before we even
started working with them."
Hyers, with Technology Business Research, said that hardware is where the major
differentiation is happening right now.
"Just look at
the [Motorola] Atrix and its laptop dock to see how Motorola took the same
Android OS available to everyone else and managed to create a genuinely new
class of device," Hyers told eWEEK. "On the OS side of things, developers right
now are pretty much offering variations on a theme, which means lots of design
elements will look the same across platforms."
said, "Practically everything happening in tablets has been borrowed to some
extent from Apple. And really, the same is still true for most modern
smartphones, which also owe much to Apple."
How does Apple
feel about such similarities? Introducing the iPad 2 March 2, a slide behind
Apple CEO Steve Jobs-showing logos for Samsung, HP, BlackBerry, Motorola and
Google's Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" OS-asked: "2011: Year of the copycats?"
Apple sold 15
million iPads in the nine months from April to December 2010. The iPad 2,
however, which will go on sale March 11, is faster, thinner and lighter, and has
two cameras, a gyroscope, 10 hours of battery life and 3G coverage from either
AT&T or Verizon Wireless.
Jobs went on
to suggest that 2011 will, instead, be the year of the iPad 2.
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.