Businessweek on HP's TouchPad Launch Plans
Businessweek has just published an informative new article entitled "HP's Plan to Make TouchPad a Hit". In the article, written by Cliff Edwards and Aaron Ricadela, Businesweek talks with HP personal systems head Todd Bradley.
A six-year veteran of HP, Mr. Bradley starts off his talk by unequivocally stating that the Wintel era is drawing to a close and a new mobile and cloud-centric model focusing on ARM-based devices is now upon us. The article then goes on to give an overview of the differences between HP's home-grown WebOS efforts and the efforts of Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows licensees. Jon Rubinstein, former Palm CEO, is also quoted in the piece.
Somewhat puzzling, absolutely zero mention is made within this piece of the company's past, current, or forthcoming smartphone prospects. Despite promises to the contrary last year, this could fuel renewed speculation that WebOS is going to gradually segue into a larger-screen OS with the increasingly commoditized smartphone market playing an increasingly less important role in HP's future roadmap.
Additional details gleaned from the talk with Mr. Bradley include that the TouchPad will launch with 300 TouchPad-optimized applications along with a "recommendation engine" for highlight new applications (something that has long been a sore spot with both the WebOS and Android app stores). Reassuringly, a reference is also made to HP wooing software developers such as Netflix for a WebOS movie streaming client with prominent placement in the WebOS Pivot online magazine.
A final interesting tidbit revealed in the article is HP's push to win over corporate customers, something that has never historically been a key target for Palm's mobile offerings. As this is the first-ever non-phone device running WebOS and is being sold through conventional retail channels instead of carrier partners, HP is also in the midst of training Best Buy and various other retailers on the strengths of the TouchPad and WebOS. This step will hopefully prevent the kind of misinformed meltdown that plagued Palm's final push of WebOS last year. Word is also made of an impending HP marketing campaign featuring Jay-Z, which further bolsters HP's hip-hop aspirations with the TouchPad's Dr.Dre-endorsed "Beats" audio technology revealed in January.
The piece concludes with another quote from Rubinstein: "We have a really good opportunity to become No. 2 in tablets fairly quickly...possibly No. 1" along with Businessweek's bottom line take on the platform's prospects: HP has Apple-like control over WebOS hardware and software. Now comes the hard part: winning over consumers and developers.
Thanks to Gekko for the tip.