HP TouchPad Euphoria Is Premature: 10 Reasons Why

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-02-10 Print this article Print

News Analysis: The HP TouchPad has made a splash in the tablet space, but does it deserve all the hype it's getting? Probably not, considering how fast the tablet market is evolving these days.

At a special event unveiling the future of its WebOS plans on Feb. 9, HP showed off the TouchPad, its answer to other tablets on the market, including Apple's iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. For now, details about the device are sketchy, but it's expected to be made available over the summer. Pricing is still unknown.

So far, critics, analysts, and HP lovers are excited to see what the company has planned for its tablet. They believe that its feature-set could totally change HP's standing in the marketplace and cement its position as a go-to provider for tablets. They especially point to the updates HP has brought to WebOS, including the way in which users can move from one program to another to increase productivity while using the mobile operating system. For sure, it's an interesting update.

But all the excitement surrounding the TouchPad seems extremely premature. The device could very well be a serious contender as a top iPad killer, but it might also be a loser. For now, it's important to maintain a sense of reality.

So, read on to find out why some of the potential issues that the TouchPad will suffer from could be enough to dampen the excitement the market is feeling right now for HP's tablet.

1. The apps problem

HP was quick to point out that the TouchPad will feature application support, which is extremely important to its chances of succeeding. But WebOS is still far behind Apple's iOS operating system when it comes to available apps. And considering the popularity of the iPad, that isn't likely to change any time in the next few months. If consumers are looking for the best selection of apps, the iPad will deliver that; HP's TouchPad won't.

2. There is a lot of time before it's released

It's rather odd that folks are so excited about a device that won't even be available until the summer. In other words, it could be released any time between late June and early September--putting it at least four months away from consumers' hands. Between now and then, quite a bit can happen. By September, the device could very well look obsolete as more products hit the market. Excitement makes sense a month or so away from a launch, not several months.

3. No one knows what the iPad 2 will offer

As customers continue to think that the HP TouchPad could be the device that will finally supplant the iPad as the top tablet, they seem to forget that Apple will almost undoubtedly launch the iPad 2 later this year. When it does so, it could feature many improvements, including front- and rear-facing cameras, along with a better display-all of which could put the TouchPad in the rear-view mirror. Remember: the TouchPad is competing against the iPad 2, not the iPad.

4. Android 3.0 Honeycomb shouldn't be forgotten

Although WebOS running on the TouchPad will feature a slew of interesting features, including the aforementioned application-management solution, all the excitement over the tablet seems to forget that Android 3.0 Honeycomb could very well be the best mobile operating system to hit this year. That platform comes with a desktop-like browsing experience, thanks to Mobile Chrome, and will offer 3D capability. It also comes with an application bar for more productivity. Getting so excited about the TouchPad seems to sell Honeycomb short.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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