TouchPad Could Get Lost in Tablet Tidal Wave

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


5. The hardware design isn't all that special

Admittedly, it's rather difficult for companies in today's tablet space to do something special with the design. By definition, their designs are dominated by a larger display. But with a 9.7-inch screen and a black bezel surrounding it, HP's TouchPad seems awfully iPad-like. Whether that will help or hurt sales of the tablet remains to be seen. But some consumers would have undoubtedly liked to see a bit more innovative hardware design.

6. It's running WebOS

As mentioned, the HP TouchPad is running WebOS. To current owners of the Palm Pre, that might not be such a problem. But to the vast majority of customers that are either using Android or iOS, it undoubtedly is. WebOS just doesn't have the same market appeal as Google's or Apple's competing platforms. Trying to get customers to switch to that operating system when versions of their favored platforms are running on tablets could be a tall order. Simply put: HP might have to do more work than competitors do just to entice customers to opt for its tablet.

7. The display could be a liability

The HP TouchPad features a 9.7-inch display with 1024 x 768 resolution. If that sounds familiar, it's because the iPad currently has the same size and resolution-and that could be a liability for HP. The upcoming Motorola Xoom features a 10.1-inch display with 1280 x 800 resolution. Many rumors suggest Apple will offer better resolution-and potentially its Retina Display-with the next version of the iPad 2. If that happens, HP could find its display behind its top two competitors.

8. The market will be inundated with competition

Why everyone is getting excited over a single device at this time is somewhat surprising. At the Consumer Electronics Show, in January, a number of companies, including LG, Vizio, and others, announced plans to offer tablets to customers in 2011. By the end of the year, the market could be flooded with devices, and the HP TouchPad is just another in the crowd. Unless HP can find a way to differentiate its product, it could get lost in the shuffle.

9. It hasn't been put to the test

Excitement over a device is especially premature when folks have yet to even take it for a spin. At the event HP held on Feb. 9, the company let some people have a hands-on with the tablet, but actual reviews of the TouchPad and its functionality won't happen for months from now. Some say that will only give HP time to improve its offering, which could be true. But until the final reviews are in and it's nearly universally acclaimed, thinking the TouchPad could be a top iPad killer is premature.

10. It's an HP Product

HP isn't Apple. The company doesn't have the same rapport with consumers that the Steve Jobs-led band has-and chances are it never will. Part of that is its own doing, especially in the mobile space, where HP has a checkered record. Its most recent announcement of the TouchPad seems to indicate that it wants to change that. But until it can prove that it deserves such respect, all the excitement should be tempered. 

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, 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

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