Lessons Learned From HPs Time in Mobile Space

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-08-24 Print this article Print


5. Company notoriety means nothing

When HP walked into the mobile market, some thought for sure that the company would do well. After all, HP has long been respected and trusted by consumers and enterprise users alike. But now that it has failed, one thing has become abundantly clear: The size and market reputation of a company trying to break into the market for smartphones or tablets don't matter. HP is a top brand in the technology industry and couldn't succeed. What makes anyone think another firm won't fall to the same fate if it doesn't have the right strategy in place?

6. Pricing is vastly important

After HP decided to discontinue its TouchPad tablet, the company starting selling it at fire sale prices, offering its cheapest version for just $99. Soon after, customers flocked to online stores to pick up the device. Although HP likely lost money on the deal, it said something about the tablet market: Companies can score serious market share if they severely undercut the iPad's pricing. Granted, that might mean losing money in the short term, but is carving out a portion of the market more important than that? Vendors will have to decide.

7. A best-of-the-best mentality is needed

Too often, companies join the mobile market with products that simply don't lead the space in any way. Their products are derivative and lack a level of power and sophistication that a market leader should have. HP was guilty of that. But for other companies to be successful, they can't fall into the same trap. It seems that to score market share in the mobile space, vendors need to have a desire to offer the very best devices on store shelves. If they don't, they will fail.

8. Initial results mean everything

Critics can say what they want about HP's mobile strategy, but at least the company knew when it was time to raise the white flag. In less than two months since the launch of the TouchPad, HP discontinued it. The move was a good one. In the mobile space, initial results mean everything. If a device fails at launch and can't address problems in the first several weeks, it should be discontinued. Today's mobile customers are making their intentions known quite quickly, and vendors can't lose sight of that.

9. It might be a good idea to wait

The mobile market is becoming increasingly crowded with a host of companies looking to score some cash in a market that is growing explosively. However, smarter companies might want to wait to join the fray. Right now, there are dozens of companies competing in the tablet market and even more in the smartphone space. It would wise if would-be newcomers stayed out of the market at least until some the clutter clears. HP didn't learn that lesson. And now it's paying for it.

10. Only Apple and Google are safe

If one had to point to any companies that will actually be safe in the mobile space, it's Apple and Google. As mentioned, Apple is trusted and beloved by both consumers and enterprise users. Google's Android operating system has become a necessity in the marketplace for anyone trying to compete with iOS. This is making the search giant a fixture in the mobile space. Other than that, any company can fail and any company can succeed. It simply comes down to providing the right product at the right time to the right customer. HP didn't do any of that.

Follow Don Reisinger on Twitter by clicking here 


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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