Did lack of tuning by HP kill the TouchPad?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by FloatingBones, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. FloatingBones macrumors 65816


    Jul 19, 2006
    In one of the recent news discussions, @KnightWRX was describing his experiences applying Preware patches to WebOS 3.0.2:

    Thanks to @KnightWRX for the detailed description of his experience with his TouchPad and these patches.

    I had a lot of trouble believing this story at first, but there's plenty of evidence around that these patches have a dramatic impact on the responsiveness of the WebOS UI. What is unbelievable about the story is that HP would ship a product with a sluggish interface when it would have been so easy to make it work better. This wasn't the only factor, but it seems to be a huge factor in the failure of the TouchPad.

    This sounds like a huge story, but I haven't seen any of the tech websites write about it. How could a company like HP make an error of this magnitude?
  2. jabingla2810 macrumors 68020

    Oct 15, 2008
    It almost certainly made an impact.

    You only get one chance to make a first impression.

    Apple seem to show us a product when it's finished, while competitors want to show us their creations as soon as possible.

    The amount of times i've seen early footage of android phones, and even at the HP presentation anouncing the touchpad, the software was buggy and unresponsive.

    Representitives always say, "Its an early version of software and it will be fixed"

    I don't want to see it like that, why would I spend money on something that works like crap.
  3. Ksizzle9 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2011
    The way I see it, that may be some ofnthe problem, but a small part of it. To beat the iPad in sales, or even compete with it, OEM's will need to deeply undercut their price. Not say that their hardware is this and that. I'm all about specs, but in the case of current gen tablets, that doesn't seem to have any impact on sales. User experience is what Ames the difference. hP brought a half baked product to the market, for a very similar price point of the iPad, that simply couldn't match up to it, as far as the user interface goes, I could go on, and on but it boils down to that. To ever beat the iPad someone will need to bring something entirely new to the market, be it form factor, power, features, or what have. I'm a huge android fan, who owns both an iPad 2 and a iPhone 4 for 2 simple reasons. Battery life, and simplicity. Android is very capable, but the manufacturer skinning just kills what android really is. And webOS, HP killed it. They didn't put the time or the money they should have, and just expected it to sell without them having to do a whole lot on their end. Apple would have never let a problem out of the door like the above poster just posted. People need to pay attention to how apple does business. Their is no Ned to copy from it, THEY JUST NEED TO LEARN FROM IT.
  4. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    It wasn't a "mistake." Shortly after HP purchased Palm, HP replaced their CEO with Leo Apoltheker from SAP. His mission has been to transform HP from a consumer hardware manufacturer into a consulting organization to compete directly with IBM.

    The TouchPad wasn't immediately killed. Instead, it was given an extremely aggressive development schedule and initial sales targets that more or less assured it would fail. The TouchPad is simply collateral damage for the decision to change HP's business model.

    The TouchPad didn't have to "beat" the iPad in sales. What it required to be successful, however, was corporate support for the mission. Once Apotheker took over HP, it didn't have that support.
  5. FloatingBones thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jul 19, 2006
    I understand that the product lacked support from the new CEO. Nevertheless, by knowingly putting a product out the door that was detuned, it seems that HP could be exposing themselves to shareholder lawsuits. At the very least, this could be evidence in a broader shareholder complaint. It's one thing to give the product little support, but quite another to deliberately sabotage the product's rollout.

    Apple's products shouldn't be copied, but the business processes that Apple uses should definitely be imitated by other companies.
  6. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    HP's stock prices were already falling like rain in Seattle. That was the reason the CEO was replaced. Stockholders weren't happy with the acquisition of Palm in the first place. Had by some miracle webOS and the TouchPad been an overwhelming success, shareholders would no doubt have been delighted. But there is no evidence that pouring more time, effort, and money into the product (or PC's in general) was what the shareholders wanted to see.
  7. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    The thing with the TouchPad (and Pre 3, and Veer) which is little known is that the actual hardware design is a Palm design that dates back prior to the purchase of Palm assets by HP. HP hinted that they basically never cared for it nor even wanted anything to do with it. What HP was buying when they bought Palm was webOS. Basically, they never had any intention of giving the hardware a fair shake, this was the plan from day 1 (probably due to part and manufacturing deals that Palm contracted and needed to be filled out anyhow).

    HP basically killed off only the hardware portion, this is an oft missed point. They have been 100% clear that moving forward, it is the webOS hardware they are abandoning and rather they want to be a software OEM where they license out webOS to other hardware vendors. What is there plan here with the software itself in a market flooded by iOS and Android already ? Can they hope the fight against even Microsoft's 3rd place ? Who knows what they intend and what backroom deals they have in place for webOS.

    However, looking at what HP is in the Enterprise sector, it is very much a vertical system integrator. They sell the hardware, the storage, the networking and the software that connects all of it. They also sell you the support contracts you need. You can basically run a shop on 100% HP hardware/software/services already, like what you get with IBM or with Oracle (now that it has acquired Sun). Much of the HP hardware components are rebranded acquisitions/partnerships or simply 3rd party hardware with an HP stamp and support personnel backing it. I know they do SAN switches from Brocade while providing storage arrays built on Hitachi technology. Some of its software is the same, just look at their OpenVMS solutions which is a DEC built solution acquired through their Compaq acquisitions.

    Looking at this, and looking at the emerging importance of mobile technologies in the enterprise sector and looking at the poor integration of Android/iOS on that front (really, all they are offering is a consumer tool and hope that IT organizations will make it fit) makes you think maybe, just maybe, HP is intending on declassing RIM from the Enterprise and pushing webOS there. Let others take up the hardware mantle, but make darn sure that HP webOS is an integral part of any HP supplied/service enterprise architecture.

    That's my take on it. As for why they shipped it broken like they did ? It's like I said, the Palm engineers said the product wasn't ready. The debugging and extra logging is probably there to help in diagnosing issues and help in finishing the product. Of course, no one thought that the sluggishness it introduced would leave such a sour taste in people's mouth, but then again, maybe the higher ups at HP felt that it would help justify their killing of the hardware, thus they let the product out like it was. It is said Jon Rubinstein himself told Leo that the product wasn't ready and that he wasn't even informed of the discontinuation up the 24 hours before it was announced last August.

    Anyway, anyone who got one for 99$ or 149$ has nothing much to cry about. If anything, it works fine as an Internet browsing device right out of the box, Preware and the homebrew community can fix the device (as all it is is a distribution of Linux with a custom UI) to make it work as good as it should have out of the box and even if it never gets any update, the standard set of apps and what is available in the Catalog is good enough for a 99$ purchase. It's 1/5 the price of an iPad!
  8. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    What he ^ said.

    It's not surprising that tablet users and the consumer tech press consider the TouchPad story to be a major one. But from HP's corporate standpoint, the Touchpad was an unwanted orphan the day Apotheker took over HP.

    (I wouldn't be purchasing a consumer PC from HP these days, either, by the way, but that's undoubtedly a better long term bet since somebody will no doubt buy that business.)

    The mass market for PC's and tablets is a commodity business for almost all firms. HP managed to make itself into the largest PC maker in the world and what it got them was a declining stock price and unhappy shareholders. IBM saw that coming more than a decade ago. HP management is just learning that lesson.
  9. kbfr08 macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2007
    I think it's a case of, there's a market for the ipad, not a market for tablets. People want the ipad because it's an ipad, and nobody wants a tablet. The HP tablet had decent hardware, and very good software (i prefer it over the iPad), but it still didn't sell. The same goes for countless other android products.
  10. aziatiklover macrumors 68030


    Jul 12, 2011
    Location: and
    True and the price factor as well! HP tablet is nice and all, but not for 700-800!
  11. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    The HP TouchPad was 499$ on launch. Let's not bend the facts too much ;)

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