BBC on HP's Desire to be Cool

HP CEO Leo Apotheker The BBC has just posted a new article entitled "Can Leo Apotheker make Hewlett Packard a cool company?" that discusses surprising amount of new tidbits about the company's plans for WebOS and the Palm branding.

First off, while he does not make a definitive statement to this effect in the interview, he does hint that the Palm and its related sub-brands (Pre, Treo etc) are headed for extinction. According to the BBC article, the "new product line announced in February will be HP-branded and carry a "new name".

HP's big February 9th WebOS event in San Francisco will be followed by an additional undisclosed "unveiling" on March 14th, something that in Apotheker's words is a "vision of what HP is capable of in the future...the starting point". He goes on to discuss the company's many pieces and areas of expertise, ranging from hardware to software to consumer and enterprise offerings.

With the remainder of this quarter and the early part of Q2 still the relative calm before the coming storm of Apple's annual iPad refresh and the arrival of a horde of Android Honeycomb-powered tablets, HP's time to strike draws nigh; thus the most encouraging piece of information to take from the interview is the following excerpt:

"HP will stop making announcements for stuff it doesn't have. When HP makes announcements, it will be getting ready to ship," he promises, saying the products launched on 9 February will be on sale just a few weeks later.

The articles then concludes with an amusing aside where Apotheker takes his assistant's Palm Pre and demonstrates multitasking, championing the device on the strength of its OS instead of its hardware.

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Gekko @ 1/29/2011 9:20:03 AM # Q
RE: apparatchik
jca666us @ 1/29/2011 2:40:19 PM # M Q
He looks like an undertaker - considering the circumstances very apropos.
RE: apparatchik
mikecane @ 1/29/2011 5:48:09 PM # Q
If he kills the stupid and fugly "The Computer is Personal Again" campaign, that'd be a good start.
RE: apparatchik
mikecane @ 1/29/2011 5:49:22 PM # Q
Hey jca666us -- what did Walt Disney look like to you? Look what he accomplished. And you've done exactly what? I mean, aside from bitch like a brat day after day after day here?
RE: apparatchik
jca666us @ 1/30/2011 4:16:16 AM # M Q
Comparing apotheker to Disney? Lol

Disney was a visionary - apotheker got dumped as sap's ceo after a year.

Apotheker has experience in enterprise software, nothing in consumer electronics.

I will say hp's tablets look very nice, but comparing them to the onslaught of honeycomb tablets, the playbook, and the iPad 2, it's going to be a severe uphill climb with hp cooing up short.

Btw, I was not comparing my accomplishments to apotheker's - just saying he looks like an undertaker.

Btw mike, my accomplishments notwithstanding, are you still living in your mother's basement?

RE: apparatchik
Gekko @ 1/30/2011 10:41:46 AM # Q

RE: apparatchik
mikecane @ 2/3/2011 10:43:55 PM # Q
>>>Btw mike, my accomplishments notwithstanding, are you still living in your mother's basement?

Yeah, with YOUR mother. Asshat.

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Android's law: Why your new smartphone is already a dinosaur

Gekko @ 1/31/2011 4:39:30 AM # Q

Your new smartphone is already a dinosaur

By David Goldman, staff writerJanuary 31, 2011: 5:30 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- If you bought a smartphone within the past year, you might already have noticed that your once-cool superdevice is feeling outdated.

There's a reason for that: "Android's law."

Smartphones are continually outdueling one another in terms of performance, and they're coming to market at a breakneck speed.

For instance, if you picked up the Motorola (MMI) Droid when it went on sale in November 2009, you had the best Android device on the market. But then the twice-as-fast Nexus One went on sale in January 2010. Then the HTC Droid Incredible hit the market in April. Then in June, the Evo 4G put the Droid Incredible to shame. The Samsung Galaxy S came out later that month. Then the Nexus S ... You get the point.

The average time smartphones spend on the market is now just six to nine months, according to HTC. But it wasn't always this way: Average shelf time was about three years prior to 2007, HTC estimates.

"It used to be that we planned phones' obsolescence," said Keith Novak, spokesman for HTC. "Now consumers want more power and faster phones. With increased competition, there's a more pressing reason for shorter lifecycles."

Before Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) debuted the iPhone, the hottest selling handset on the market was the Motorola RAZR, which held that position for five years. Five years! Could you imagine anyone buying an original iPhone today -- a phone that debuted less than four years ago? That hunk of junk didn't even have 3G. Or apps.

The pace of smartphone innovation has ramped up to ludicrous speed and mobile competition has gone cutthroat thanks to two key factors: The rise of Google's Android operating system and the predominance of Qualcomm processors.

The way it was: Just a few years ago, mobile phone makers had to design their devices through and through: The hardware, operating system, chipset and design were all made by LG, HTC, Samsung, Motorola, and their rivals.

All that time and effort meant phones took a long time to get to market, and they needed to stay there for years to make back all the investment that went into designing the device.

The way it is now: But then along came Android, an open source, free-to-license OS. The availability of Android means device manufacturers can just load the ready-made software onto their phones instead of paying a team of engineers to develop a proprietary OS. And they can customize it as much as they like.

"The beauty of Android is that it's completely open," said Marcelo Claure, CEO of Brightstar, a global mobile phone distributor. "All the equipment manufacturer has to do is slap a skin on top of it and market the phone."

It's not just the software that's prepackaged: Smartphone chipsets are coming ready-made as well.

Seeing the opportunity created by Android, Qualcomm (QCOM, Fortune 500) quickly jumped on board and began to make smartphone chips that are specifically optimized for Google's (GOOG, Fortune 500) OS and apps. Instead of designing their own chips, manufacturers like LG, Motorola and HTC now simply use Qualcomm's.

"What we deliver to the manufacturer allows them to spend their resources in a different way, instead of reinventing the plumbing of each phone," said Jason Bremner, product manager of Qualcomm's CDMA Technologies.

The Qualcomm/Android ("Quadroid") standard that has developed over the past couple of years has freed up smartphone manufacturers to focus most of their attention on marketing and making their devices thinner, sleeker and higher-functioning than competitors'.

As a result, smartphone manufacturing cycles have doubled in speed in the past two years to just over four months, according to industry consultancy PRTM.

That means device makers can churn out smartphones at an incredibly rapid pace, taking the handsets from concept to store shelves in a relative blink of an eye.

Android's law: We're calling this new trend "Android's law." It's similar to Moore's law, the 1965 paper by Intel (INTC, Fortune 500) co-founder Gordon Moore, which observed a trend that has held true for more than five decades: Microchip manufacturers can double the number of components on a piece of silicon every two years.

Though we're not making any technical predictions, the introduction of the Quadroid standard has turned the wireless market on its head -- and this new trend is likely to continue for years to come.

Android's law has allowed new, previously unknown competitors like ZTE to double its market share and become the fourth-largest mobile phone vendor in the world. It has led to the quadrupling of phone processor speeds over the past year. And it's helped Google's mobile operating system go from zero to 300,000 activations a day on more than 100 phones in just 26 months.

"We're seeing hundreds of new models -- it's crazy," said Will Stofega, analyst at IDC. "Since Android is free, these manufactures are willing to take some chances. The need to come up with something that's going to stick and be a major player is intense."

Analysts agree that the market cycle at some point will stop shortening because customers can't absorb new products so fast.

But one lasting change is clear: It's not going back to the way it was.

"This will keep going until phones become just thin slabs with a touch screen," said Soumen Ganguly, principal at Altman Vilandrie. "It will be just like the development of the PC industry -- everyone will keep trying to outdo one another to stay alive."

RE: Android's law: Why your new smartphone is already a dinosaur
HyperScheduler @ 1/31/2011 8:16:05 AM # Q
Thanks for posting this, Gekko. Interesting read.
RE: Android's law: Why your new smartphone is already a dinosaur
Gekko @ 1/31/2011 8:30:30 AM # Q

yeah i thought so too. business keeps changing. old models die and new ways of doing business arise. it keeps getting tougher, more cutthroat, and more competitive no matter what industry you're in. it's brutal out there. this is all good for the consumer but companies and employees have to embrace change or be left behind. "Only the Paranoid Survive."

Android Becomes Best-selling Smartphone OS, Says Canalys
By Mikael Ricknδs, IDG News Jan 31, 2011 8:20 am

Shipments of Android-based smartphones reached 32.9 million worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2010, making Android the best-selling operating system for smartphones, market research company Canalys said on Monday.

The Nokia-backed Symbian platform is now in second place. Worldwide shipments of Symbian-based smartphones totaled 31 million in the fourth quarter, compared to 23.9 million a year earlier. Its market share dropped from 44.4 percent to 30.6 percent, due in large part to Android's spectacular 615.1 percent year-on-year sales growth. In a year, Android's market share has grown from 8.4 percent to 32.5 percent.

RE: Android's law: Why your new smartphone is already a dinosaur
Gekko @ 1/31/2011 8:37:50 AM # Q

"It's fueling a point at which there will be a surprise breakout. I suspect there are not many people on the planet right now that think we might make it through this. Sure it's difficult – yes there have been other times when historically speaking where we've had very flat markets for an extended period of time – but quite honestly - that's when we've made – historically speaking – more money. Because in the midst of all the melee there are these trends that happen that are really more about change – not destruction per se as everyone is fearful of - but really just a shifting landscape such that new events and new productivity and new channels of growth overtake what is now deemed as the old economy type of structures." – Michael Williams – Genesis Asset Management – March 16, 2010

RE: Android's law: Why your new smartphone is already a dinosaur
ChiA @ 1/31/2011 10:59:14 AM # Q
As a result, smartphone manufacturing cycles have doubled in speed in the past two years to just over four months, according to industry consultancy PRTM.

That means device makers can churn out smartphones at an incredibly rapid pace, taking the handsets from concept to store shelves in a relative blink of an eye

The Palm prior to Jon Rubinstein wouldn't have had a snowball's chance in hell of surviving today's environment. At least Rubinstein kept Palm on life support long enough to be rescued by the HP paramedics; whether they take WebOS for rehabilitation or divert to the coroner's office remains to be seen.

As for ACCESS and its ALP, well it's a zombie OS, nobody's using it and nobody will use it instead of Android. It's dead but doesn't realise it yet.

RE: Android's law: Why your new smartphone is already a dinosaur
Gekko @ 1/31/2011 11:53:13 AM # Q

it's getting vicious out there!

RE: Android's law: Why your new smartphone is already a dinosaur
mikecane @ 2/3/2011 10:48:35 PM # Q
Not just that, but the damn handset makers and carriers don't update Android!

At least *that* crap won't happen with a webOS device (at least not post-Pre and Pixi).

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linds @ 1/31/2011 11:18:34 AM # Q
@Gekko Thanks for posting those articles, great read!
Reply to this comment

HP has Released Teaser Video of a Phone

LiveFaith @ 2/2/2011 4:14:51 PM # Q
HP has released a teaser video of what appears to me as a phone sized device. You can view the video on I also extracted stills of the vital portions shown.

Looks @ 1/2" thin, a tablet style FF which indicates a VK, with corner power button "classic Treo" style ringer switch, flush glass screen not unlike the Pre 2, rounded corners with similar radius as a Pre, and rounded front to back, and high tolerance casing that would indicate metal materials, and close tolerances on metal appearing buttons. Most intriguing is the mystery switch / flash / connector / expansion located toward the forward side of the edge on bottom or side.

Here are the stills of the vitals ...

Here is the teaser video link ...

HP is trying to create buzz, no doubt. Interesting!
Pat Horne

RE: HP has Released Teaser Video of a Phone
Gekko @ 2/2/2011 4:31:42 PM # Q

you forgot one -

RE: HP has Released Teaser Video of a Phone
LiveFaith @ 2/2/2011 4:48:22 PM # Q
Another vid shows the cam and what appears to be a speaker grille on the back with tiny holes. Looks non-cheap.

Oh, one you forgot too ...
Pat Horne

RE: HP has Released Teaser Video of a Phone
Gekko @ 2/2/2011 5:17:08 PM # Q

Reverend - the device looks rounded and chubby. and what's with the big ugly chunky physical buttons?

look at the Google event. look at the ecosystem. look at Apple's ecosystem. how is HP and BB going to compete with that? answer - they can't. if you don't have a great ecosystem you are doomed.

it's time to repent and sin no more!

RE: HP has Released Teaser Video of a Phone
Gekko @ 2/2/2011 5:23:25 PM # Q
RE: HP has Released Teaser Video of a Phone
mikecane @ 2/3/2011 10:53:23 PM # Q
I doubt those are photos. CGI render is more like it. Which means all reflections are mathematical -- and likely tweaked for styling -- and probably don't indicate what the device is like in real life. Those reflections can be so off that they make a thin device look chubby.
Reply to this comment

The Ecosystem. . .

HyperScheduler @ 2/3/2011 8:21:17 AM # Q
I agree about the importance of the ecosystem.

Here is how Android is like the PalmOS ecosystem: you can download apps from multiple sources, there are a lot of choices for hardware, you may or may not have the most recent Android OS.

Here is how Apple is like the PalmOS ecosystem: most of the app developers make apps for the iPhone (and then choose whether or not to make the app for other devices), just like in the past where the main development was centered around PalmOS. I prefer Apple/iOS because I like only needing to examine *one* source for apps and updates.

Also, Apple reminds me of PalmOS in this respect, too: just like we hunkered down with Palm for multiple years (9 years, for me), Apple has created a phone and ecosystem in which one can hunker down and be with it for a long time. With Android, it just seems odd to me that some people get the new software updates and some people don't. It all feels so random and chaotic.

Finally, I just wanted to let folks know that I actually saw a Palm TX in the wild 2 days ago. Someone at a legal conference that I attended was taking notes on it through their connected keyboard. I approached him at a break to raise the issue of PalmOS, and he sighed as follows: "Well, we are really getting left behind."

P.S.: When I try to download apps on this PalmInfoCenter website *directly through* my new Palm TX over WiFi, I seem to get a screen that does not allow me to download any apps. Have other people experienced this? Can someone explain to me how to download apps here *directly through* one's WiFi-connected Palm TX?

RE: The Ecosystem. . .
Gekko @ 2/3/2011 11:04:45 AM # Q

the ecosystem is critical. without a great ecosystem - you are doomed.

RE: The Ecosystem. . .
mikecane @ 2/3/2011 10:57:50 PM # Q
>>>the ecosystem is critical. without a great ecosystem - you are doomed.

That's a problem of perception. If every platform has the same Top 100 apps, any deficiencies beyond that point aren't that big a deal. If everyone can have 99% of what they want on a platform, there is no compelling reason to jump ship and lose that investment chasing a missing 1%.

So while iOS might have 20 Twitter apps and Android might have 10 Twitter apps, webOS having only 5 Twitter apps would not be such a big deal in terms of practical functionality.

And Apple has just shot itself in the foot, demanding a 30% cut from outside webstores (Kindle, B&N, Sony, et al), so it's highly likely many publishers will flock to Android and webOS and give them an edge.

RE: The Ecosystem. . .
Gekko @ 2/3/2011 11:15:40 PM # Q

like Documents To Go et al?

RE: The Ecosystem. . .
mikecane @ 2/4/2011 12:15:54 AM # Q
Is DTG even coming to webOS? I thought they gave that up. And really, no one uses it on the iPad, where it's also available. I don't think anyone cares. From what I've been seeing, people are using frikkin Google Docs and Evernote.

Angry Birds on iOS is the same as on Android and as would be on webOS. If they get that -- and I think I heard they are -- that's a big plus. Tap Tap Revenge too. Me, I don't give a damn about games. See my post with what I want.

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The webOS 99% Solution And More

mikecane @ 2/4/2011 12:13:39 AM # Q
RE: The webOS 99% Solution And More
LiveFaith @ 2/4/2011 1:20:52 AM # Q
Another WebOS fanboy comes forth! Once we hit critical mass at a "dozens", then the snowball will begin to roll. Looking forward to the 9th.
Pat Horne
RE: The webOS 99% Solution And More
Gekko @ 2/4/2011 1:34:05 AM # Q

Con is a fickle fair weathered revolving fanboy at best. he likes the soup du jour - whatever is new at the moment regardless of its true promise - only to viciously turn on it and reject it soon after release.

RE: The webOS 99% Solution And More
hkklife @ 2/4/2011 5:12:47 AM # Q
Interesting new graphic here comparing all of the upcoming tablets:

I do have some nits to pick with this one, however. First of all, the "Apple ecosystem + UI" cannot be decided with a single check or X ina column. There are a lot of (legitimate) intangibles at play that make people Apple fans.

Secondly, I'd have used the LG Optimus Pad instead of the warmed-over Dell 7". Much more competitive in every aspect, especially screen size, even disregarding the gimmicky 3D feature.

I'd also have tried to do another column or perhaps a separate chart with the best-guess specs for an iPad 2. Of COURSE a year-old device (especially an Apple one) is going to look much worse than its competitors.

Also, I would have hoped that these guys would have added the Topaz to the their chart since 99% of the specs have been leaked already. Maybe next week after the big "event"?

And, as usual, no mention of price/the value proposition. OF COURSE the damn Xoom dominates the specs. It's also going to be $800+tax+activation+1st month's service (so effectively, what, $920+ out the door for most folks?). What a travesty. The first genuinely impressive implementation of Android murdered by the stunning greed and lack of market awareness by Sanjay Jha and Daniel S. Mead. Same goes for all of these other tablet manufacturers trampling themselves to get in bed with the carriers.

In 2 months, you will be able to go into ANY BB, Target or Wal-Mart in even the most godforsaken corner of the United States and buy a sleek new 16GB iPad 2 for $499 (if they are not sold out) with no hidden charges or strings attached. Try doing that with any of these DOA tablets above. To borrow a phrase from Mike Cane--FAIL, FAIL, FAIL,FAIL!
Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->Verizon Moto Droid + Verizon Palm Centro-> Verizon Moto Droid X + Palm TX

RE: The webOS 99% Solution And More
mikecane @ 2/4/2011 6:23:21 AM # Q
*snort* I thought the Notion Ink Adam was the first big Android tablet. Don't you hear all that post-sale buzz for it? Listen.

*sound of crickets*

Um, yeah, right.

As it turns out, the minimim specs of Android 3.0 are hostile to 7" tablets because the screen specs are higher than anything that's out there (including GTab and NookColor), which makes it unlikely we will be 3.0 7" tablets any time soon.

That leaves 7" tablets to Android 2.x, which no one will want.

And to webOS, which I think people will turn to instead.

RE: The webOS 99% Solution And More
mikecane @ 2/4/2011 6:24:15 AM # Q
>>>unlikely we will be


PIC's lack of editing strikes again. Dammit.

RE: The webOS 99% Solution And More
hkklife @ 2/4/2011 7:34:41 AM # Q
But Mike, Google even came out and said there are no *hard* minimum specs for any version of Android!

That said, I believe that they HIGHLY, ahem, "encourage" their hardware partners to use Tegra 2 and/or other dual-core CPUs and at least 1280x720 for the best experience AND to lock out any of the currrent crop of hardware from capably (or at least immediately running) Honeycomb....which sorta sucks b/c the best Android hardware you can buy right NOW (Viewsonic GTablet) is Tegra 2-powered but only has 1024x600.

I consider that a REAL no-name Android tablet. The Adam...well, let's just say I am STUNNED that anyone got their devices and they work AT ALL (bugs aside). I think if Android Police hadn't made such a stink a month or two ago, those poor souls would still be waiting on their Adams to ship from India...

Also, I still do not honestly think the Galaxy Tab is a bad device. Comfortable FF, nice screen, decent enough performance. Samsung did a lovely job covering up the worst of Android 2.x's warts (PIM apps, particularly the calendar, blows away the stock Android calendar). My biggest Galaxy Tab complaints are Samsung's lame proprietary connector & their horrible track record for support/updates. I COULD live with a Galaxy Tab (current hardware) running Gingerbread if it was priced at $399 or less new and without contract etc.
Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->Verizon Moto Droid + Verizon Palm Centro-> Verizon Moto Droid X + Palm TX

RE: The webOS 99% Solution And More
AdamaDBrown @ 2/4/2011 6:24:00 PM # Q
Mike, the specs aren't the relevant measure--the problem here is software. Specifically, how many applications are there available for WebOS? 5,600? Now compare that to Android, which currently has about 250,000 apps in the marketplace. Apple has over 400,000.

More important than the count is the buzz. People hear about X and Y supporting Android or the iPhone. It's where the developers go. It's where people know the new apps are all going. WebOS is a microscopic player looking to horn in on a battle between two giants that are likely to kill it by accident.

I don't see WebOS having any kind of serious future, on phones, tablets, or otherwise. Google and Apple have simply sucked all the oxygen out of the room, and there's nothing left to keep minor players alive.

RE: The webOS 99% Solution And More
Gekko @ 2/5/2011 1:12:22 AM # Q

developers want to go where the consumers are and consumers want to go where the developers are.

RE: The webOS 99% Solution And More
mikecane @ 2/7/2011 1:30:09 PM # Q
>>>Specifically, how many applications are there available for WebOS? 5,600?

Officially, in the App Catalog, about that. And too many seem to be eBooks. And too many are amateur crapware. Egad! The platform needs iOS-quality developers. I hope they'll jump in with the new tablets.

Why The Smartest Developers Will Rush To webOS Tablets

RE: The webOS 99% Solution And More
Gekko @ 2/7/2011 4:19:35 PM # Q

so as a developer i should target the least popular OS? the OS with less than 1% market share? and that will equal success?


RE: The webOS 99% Solution And More
AdamaDBrown @ 2/8/2011 9:33:38 PM # Q
Gekko, it's not quite that Ouroborosian. The missing stage is the hardware companies, which create the initial buzz. Apple had NO third-party apps when the iPhone launched, but hundreds of thousands of people flocked to buy them. Then the developers followed, reinforcing the buzz. The developers will go where the customers are, but the customers usually go where the buzz is.

Unfortunately for WebOS, at this point it would take a seismic event to generate any substantial buzz for them. They need to find something that people want, and do it better than the iPad or Android ever could. That's not easy.

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