HP TouchPad Success Hangs on Apps

HP's webOS-based TouchPad will debut on July 1, but the success of the iPad clone may hang on its ability to attract developers to bolster the OS

Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms

June 9, 2011

2 Min Read
HP TouchPad Success Hangs on Apps

HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ)'s TouchPad is finally ready for prime time and will be debuting in a Wi-Fi only version on July 1 followed by a 3G variant for AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) later this summer.

HP's head of mobility, Jon Rubinstein, showed off the webOS-powered tablet at Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM)'s Uplinq conference in San Diego earlier this month, where he characterized the tablet market as overcrowded and said many of the tablets available today will fail. (See HP Open to 'Special' webOS Partners.)


They say
So what will stop the TouchPad from facing a similar fate of failure? AllThingsD, which got the lowdown on the tablet from HP CEO Léo Apotheker, believes the combination of the hardware and OS coupled with HP's multiple-device integration strategy could propel it to the front of the tablet pack. Reporter John Paczkowski does note, however, that its application and content ecosystem might need growing, something Rubinstein admitted at Uplinq. InformationWeek and GigaOm agree that the TouchPad needs some work on building up its apps, which number 6,000 to date. As Eric Zeman points out, the lack of apps was a kneecapper for the Android-based Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) Xoom, LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) G-Slate and BlackBerry 's PlayBook.

What's more, the Wi-Fi-only version of the device will retail for $499.99 for the 16GB model and $599.99 for the 32GB version, which is comparable to Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s iPad. Colin Dixon asks a valid question: "Without software, how will HP convince buyers to purchase a TouchPad, when a comparable tablet with a much more extensive software library is priced the same?"

We say
In all other respects, the TouchPad appears to be a viable competitor to the iPad with similar hardware specs and Qualcomm's speedy dual-core processor on board. The webOS software is also impressive, so HP's chances of success may hang on its ability to attract the developer community to build up the content experience. Rubinstein said HP will do this through "aggressive outreach" and by being the easiest OS to develop for.

Read more on the TouchPad below.

  • Qualcomm's Snapdragon Spreads Its Wings

  • HP Tablet Uses Atheros

  • HP Veers Into the Future of WebOS

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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