Wednesday, August 17, 2011

HP TouchPad Not Selling? Here's Why ....

All Things D posted a piece today about some trouble HP might be experiencing with moving TouchPad units at Best Buy stores: "OuchPad: Best Buy Sitting on a Pile of Unsold HP Tablets".

From that article:
"According to one source who has seen internal HP reports, Best Buy has taken delivery of 270,000 TouchPads and has so far managed to sell only 25,000, or less than 10 percent of the units in its inventory."

We recently had the opportunity to spend a couple of days with a 32 GB TouchPad, and thought it might be a good time to offer our reaction to the device.

Disclaimer: we are Mac Addicts.

Overall we felt that HP shoots well with their WebOS, but misses the bullseye fairly often. The features are different enough from the iOS that they will probably never see a patent infringement lawsuit from Apple, and this is good news and less than good news.

- Just Type: We believe the marketing of this totally missed it. HP put the search function on the home screen, which is fine, and then promotes this feature heavily as if it were some innovation. Apple has offered a Spotlight search feature since the original iPhone. Nothing new with the WebOS version. Functionality: Ok. But still a MISS for the marketing.

- Muliti-tasking: Ok, the card concept is sort of cool, and the stacks seems like a good idea, but we believe that most people (us included) just won't "get it". We cannot see a benefit to stacking minimized open application icons (or cards) to group them together. But the multitasking is sort of cool. We listened to Pandora while playing a game. Hmm. NEAR MISS.

- HP Synergy and Touch To Share: Sorry. Not sure that we would want everything we know about every one of our Facebook friends on our tablet. And Apple already allows you to access your various email accounts - with your contacts stored in the Cloud. And, with apologies to HP, who would want a Pre3 when you can have an iPhone? Still, Touch To Share is a sort of cool feature ... NEAR MISS

- The WebOS is rocky. The device we used locked up (froze) many times while we were using it, and late in our time with the tablet we started getting the dreaded, and very intrusive, Database Full error message. Looking that up online we found that the solution seemed to be to re-initialize the drive and all data, apps, etc. Not good. Even at $100 off, we want the thing to work. Since this seems to be an ongoing issue for some TouchPad owners ... BIG HUGE MISS.

- Weight and Size: about the same as the iPad 1. Hmm. Apple made the new iPad slimmer and lighter because they could, but that development was done for a reason. Slimmer and lighter are better. NEAR MISS.

- Camera: 1.3 megapixel, front facing only. Your call on how important this is to you.

- APPS: this is perhaps the biggest problem we saw with the Touchpad. Nobody at HP could tell us how many apps were available, and the unit we were working with did not have an HP Store account associated with it, so we could not see how many apps were available. But after looking it up online we found a statement from HP saying that there were about 300 apps on the day of release, with more expected. Are you developing for WebOS? Probably not. BIG, HUGE, DEADLY MISS.

- FLASH: This seems a good thing and certainly gives the TouchPad an advantage over iOS devices for many users. Hulu worked fine, as did most of the Flash we looked at. But there was an unacceptable, horrendous lag in loading some of the Facebook games (one never did finish loading). Still, we would give them a HIT for including the ability to play Flash video.

- BOX.NET: This is a HUGE win for HP. With your purchase of a TouchPad you get a 50GB account, for free. Your 16GB device becomes, essentially, a 66GB device and your 32GB TouchPad becomes an 82GB device. We are big fans and think this is a great deal for TouchPad owners. A HUGE HIT.

Do you have a thought about the TouchPad? Leave a comment!

[UPDATE AUGUST 18, 2011]
The WallStreet Journal is reporting that HP will exit the TABLET and SMARTPHONE business, and may SPIN OFF their PC business. In part the WSJ article stated: "HP said its board is evaluating strategic options for its PC business, which could include a "full or partial separation." It also will abandon efforts to sell tablets and smartphones that challenged Apple Inc.'s iPad and iPhone." Read more

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