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HP's Jon Rubinstein

HP TouchPad

HP doesn't want its [mis]fortunes in the smartphone market to spillover to the tablet market  (Source: Nielsen)
Rubinstein has heard the complaints from reviewers and says that HP is working to make things right

Reviews for HP's TouchPad starting coming in last week, and the opinions were decidedly in the "mixed" category. While many reviewers praised the overall webOS 3.0 experience, there were plenty of performance problems and bugs to be found. In addition, there is a lack of quality to apps to be found for the TouchPad, which has to go up against more seasoned tablets running iOS and Honeycomb.

Rather than simply ignore or laugh in the face of criticism like Apple, former Palm CEO and current HP exec Jon Rubinstein has heard the complaints from reviewers and is on a mission to stomp out existing issues with the platform. Rubenstein sent an email to his employees that addresses the problems with webOS 3.0 on the TouchPad and notes how the early reviews mirror those of a certain operating system release from Apple. 

Here's the email in its entirety courtesy of PalmCentral:

Team,

Today we bring the HP TouchPad and webOS 3.0 to the world.  The HP team has achieved something extraordinary – especially when you consider that it’s been just one year since our work on the TouchPad began in earnest.  Today also marks the start of a new era for HP as our vision for connected mobility begins to take form - an ecosystem of services, applications and devices connected seamlessly by webOS. 

If you’ve seen the recent TouchPad reviews you know that the industry understands HP’s vision and sees the same potential in webOS as we do.  David Pogue from the New York Times says “there are signs of greatness here.” (I’ve included links to David’s review and others below.) You’ve also seen that reviewers rightly note things we need to improve about the webOS experience. The good news is that most of the issues they cite are already known to us and will be addressed in short order by over-the-air software and app catalog updates.  We still have work to do to make webOS the platform we know it can be, but remember…..it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

In that spirit, Richard Kerris, head of worldwide developer relations for webOS, reminded me yesterday of the first reviews for a product introduced a little over ten years ago: 

 "...overall the software is sluggish" 

"...there are no quality apps to use, so it won’t last" 

"...it's just not making sense...." 

It’s hard to believe these statements described MacOS X - a platform that would go on to change the landscape of Silicon Valley in ways that no one could have imagined.

The similarities to our situation are obvious, but there’s also a big difference. Like David Pogue, our audiences get that webOS has the potential for greatness. And like me, they know that your hard work and passion, and the power of HP’s commitment to webOS, will turn that potential into the real thing.

The OS X comparison seems like an apt one, although the initial OS X release was a v1.0 consumer operating system and webOS for the TouchPad is now up to v3.0.

In addition, Rubinstein's efforts to quickly improve upon the shortcomings of HP's latest tablet platform should be welcome news to webOS fans and potential customers who are being courted by the likes of Apple and Google. 

HP, like fellow competitor RIM, is going to find it increasingly hard to compete in this sector having come so late to the party. Apple has already carved out a lion's share of the market with the iPad. Google's Honeycomb-based tablets are starting to feed on the table scraps leftover. That currently leaves RIM and HP looking to grab a few crumbs that are left on the floor. 

However, just as RIM’s smartphone market share started heading south as Android smartphones gained in strength (and variety), there is still hope that at least one or two additional tablet platforms will have a fair shake at taking a sizable chunk of the market.



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I have my doubts
By Tony Swash on 7/6/2011 9:22:59 AM , Rating: 2
He could be right and in ten years time the launch of WebOS could be seen as a milestone. But I have my doubts.

When the public beta of MacOSX arrived I tried it and thought it was woeful, it lacked features, nothing was where I expected it to be and the Unix file structure just seemed confusing. That was also my view of the release version. I ran MacOSX and the old Mac OS system 9 side by side but really I worked in system 9. As I got used to MacOSX and more importantly as it rapidly improved and then began to really shine I quickly migrated to MacOSX and when system 9 eventually died it meant nothing to me.

The question here is why did people stick with MacOSX when it was so obviously buggy and under developed? It was because the world was full of millions of loyal Mac fans and people who loved Apple products. We knew Apple needed a new OS and we knew it would be tough journey to a polished new OS. We were willing, whilst being a bit irritated, to support the long haul.

The environment for WebOS is different. WebOS and HP do not have a loyal community of supportive followers (except possibly outside of a tiny bunch of weird techies) willing to wait for a finished worthwhile product further down the road. What HP is doing is launching a consumer product and if a consumer finds a product is crappy or shoddy or buggy they are often turned off of that brand for good. The consumer market is very unforgiving. Its better to have fewer features and a polished finish than lots of features many of which do not work well. That is why Apple's approach to design flourishes in the consumer space. It's also why Microsoft, for example, often flounder because their old approach of getting anything no matter how bad into the market and then using their industry weight to push it to market acceptance whilst slowly fixing it just doesn't work anymore.

So maybe HP can pull it off - but the odds are not good.




RE: I have my doubts
By cserwin on 7/6/2011 9:55:48 AM , Rating: 2
When MacOSX was introduced in March, 2001, the competition was Windows ME in the consumer space.

XP showed up 6 months later, but when OSX came out, it was so far ahead of Windows (Win 2000 was better in ways, but rarely sold to consumers) in terms of security and reliability. Microsoft had no public beta program at the time, so nobody knew what was coming with XP.

Also, with BSD roots, OSX had much love from the Linux community.

OSX was an exciting launch, with lots of energy and good will. And there was little debate that it was a huge advance over the competition in the consumer market.

Windows Frickin ME.

WebOS has to compete with a very mature iOS and Android 3.1. The only similarity with OSX is that it is an immature but promising OS. The market reality is totally different.


RE: I have my doubts
By cserwin on 7/6/2011 10:00:49 AM , Rating: 3
And I'd add, even with technical and market advantages vs. Windows ME, Apple still only managed 4-5% market share.

HP has a tough climb ahead. Hope they stick with it, I really do.


RE: I have my doubts
By hanmen on 7/8/2011 2:08:41 AM , Rating: 2
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RE: I have my doubts
By sprockkets on 7/6/2011 10:24:52 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
The question here is why did people stick with MacOSX when it was so obviously buggy and under developed? It was because the world was full of millions of dumbass appletards who love shiny overpriced shi t . We knew Apple needed a new OS and we knew it would be tough journey to a polished new OS. We were willing, whilst being a bit irritated, to support the long haul.


T,FTFY


RE: I have my doubts
By themaster08 on 7/6/2011 10:32:49 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
WebOS and HP do not have a loyal community of supportive followers (except possibly outside of a tiny bunch of weird techies)
So it's fine to be a loyal fan of Apple, but fans of WebOS must be "weird techies". Double standards, Tony?


RE: I have my doubts
By The Raven on 7/6/2011 11:09:03 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
We were willing, whilst being a bit irritated, to support the long haul.
So you are running Linux on your Mac?

Talent is worth supporting IMO. Not for-profit organizations. The profit is the way that you "support" them.
If they can't handle that, then they are not worth "supporting".

FOSS projects like VLC, Blender, etc. need "support".

Apple and MS can screw themselves if they fall on hard times.

By your logic, you should pour your money into MS's pockets so that they make Windows better.

</freetard rant>


RE: I have my doubts
By The Raven on 7/6/2011 4:13:05 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for your response Tony, but you miss my point. I was not arguing with you. I'm simply wondering why anyone (like you) would "support" a failing company.
quote:
Again you are missing my point. I am not saying that being a Mac fan, or a Windows fan or a WebOS fan is good or bad or anything. I am just saying that it was palpably true that there were a lot more Mac fans willing to give MacOSX support while it developed than there are WebOS fans now.

Well I am saying that. It is stupid to be a fan of a company unless you are part of that company. These companies run around paying every celebrity and their dog to promote their products. Consumers don't need to be doing that. It reminds me of when you go to any company's merch store and try to buy a t-shirt. You walk around advertising for them, but you typically have to pay as much as an abtractly designed t-shirt. It should be subsidised for what the consumer does for them as a billboard.

Sorry for the confusion. It was a bit off topic(s) ;-)


RE: I have my doubts
By Pirks on 7/6/2011 4:53:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It is stupid to be a fan of a company unless you are part of that company
Most retarded remark ever. I'm a big fan of iD and Visceral, American McGee etc etc, although I'm in no way affiliated with them, I own a few tees promoting them, and I even promoted Dark Knight once wearing tee with ugly Joker's mug around for like three months, 'cause I'm a big fan of Chris Nolan and Heath Ledger too. I've bought a few tees of Sucker Punch recently since this movie is the first one that totally blew me away since Matrix and Dark Knight times. And I will promote Cruel and Unusual Films as well when I have a chance to buy their swag since these are the best film makers IMHO since early Tarantino and Rodriguez days (From Dusk Till Dawn anyone? ;)

Again, I'm doing this and promoting the companies and people behind them while I'm not affiliated with them.

You should understand that people are fans of companies and people because they love what these companies do. Visceral made Dead Space so I promote their stuff with my tees even though I'm like 2000 miles from them and will never be a part of that great studio. Same for all the other companies, including Apple.

Shit, I'd even promote MS if they made something cool and I loved it, why not? I DON'T HAVE TO BE AN MS EMPLOYEE TO DO THAT.

Got it?


RE: I have my doubts
By The Raven on 7/11/2011 10:55:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You should understand that people are fans of companies and people because they love what these companies do.
Well that is what I'm saying. If you like what they do then buy their work. If you don't like their work then you won't buy it. It is the work that people are fans of. I am a huge Star Wars fan but I hate George Lucas. I like Gary Glitter's music maybe but I'm not a fan of the child pornographer himself. It is the work that is important. The company can change over time or in a heartbeat and then you are still a fan? No.

Did you throw away your Heath Ledger shirts after he died? I'm guessing no since they obviously serve a purpose other than to promote Heath's career (i.e. you are a fan of the work). If you did throw them away then maybe you are right. But that isn't what the majority of people do out there.

And if you have a "10 Things I Hate About You" t-shirt I'll just shut up now ;-)

But Tony is saying that people continued to be fans of Apple's even after they put out crap. So why are they fans? Nostalgia? I say again, stupid. That is like being a fan of George Lucas after the Star Wars prequels and the latest Indy sequel. Yeah we should support more of that. Great idea.

If you like Win7 then be a Win7 fan by buying the OS (and a unsubsidized t-shirt). Why would you care if MS turns it around after a bad outing? That is my point. All you care is that someone comes up with an OS that meets your needs enough to invest your time/money in and you shouldn't really care who does it. I kind of get what you are saying and I understand where you are coming from, but I think I didn't make myself clear. Sorry.

I currently hold Honda and BMW in high regard and you could consider me a fan, but as soon as I get a piece of trash from them, I am no longer a fan. It is every company for himself. Stay pointlessly faithful like Tony? No thank you.

With Linux and other FOSS I have had reletively low expectations that have constantly been exceeded and so I continue to support such projects.

And also like you I am a fan of id's work and business practices and I speak highly of them every chance I get. If you want more of something, promote it. You are right on.


RE: I have my doubts
By Pirks on 7/6/2011 11:41:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
WebOS and HP do not have a loyal community of supportive followers
But RIM does, especially outside of the US. So I'd bet on RIM Playbook now, not on HP who noone knows as a major RIM-like popular consumer brand.
quote:
Its better to have fewer features and a polished finish than lots of features many of which do not work well
This is why RIM made their Playbook shine in one particular most popular area (web browsing) and pwn Apple tablets in this area, and neglected secondary features noone wants like standalone email client (ppl use gmail.com for that via browser so noone cares really, a few dumb reviewers don't count), this is why your stupidity about "last nail in RIM coffin" is so funny :)
quote:
Microsoft, for example, often flounder because their old approach of getting anything no matter how bad into the market
Well, they stopped using this approach with WP7, so yeah, your historical reference is interesting... but for historians only :)
quote:
maybe HP can pull it off - but the odds are not good
Noone will pull it off while Jobs is at helm, he can predict the future and noone else can do it. But when Jobs leaves Apple, woohoo, expect some BIG vulturing and nice long nasty shirnk in Apple's market cap to happen, all Apple haters of this forum will jump and dance in joy :) hehe

You know markets are emotional and are not driven by pure rationality, so for emotional investors the departure of Jobs will be the BIG sucker punch, I gonna enjoy watching this :) Where's ma popcorn?


RE: I have my doubts
By borismkv on 7/6/2011 12:43:45 PM , Rating: 2
We've already seen what happened to Apple the first time Jobs left the company. I'm looking forward to history repeating itself.


RE: I have my doubts
By damnitshot on 7/6/2011 3:26:51 PM , Rating: 2
First, where the hell did you get this word 'noone'? I'd love to hear it pronounced - I suspect it is some homegrown version of no one but can't for the life of me understand why. Maybe you should load another bowl and float off to your own reality where that is cute. I have been using Macs since 1984 and love them. I also use Windows (DOS previously), Unix, Vax, JCL, CP/M, EMSAI front panel (now you want to talk slow and cumbersome), TRS-80, etc… I have found all to have had a positive that they brought to the game (at least at their time). This is not a zero sum game, nor is anyone forcing you to buy one you don't like. If Apple bothers you that bad then don't buy it - vote with your dollars.

BTW: I suspect you'll find your popcorn the same place you've got head - I would suggest a window in your stomach so you can see where you are going.

quote:
Noone will pull it off while Jobs is at helm, he can predict the future and noone else can do it. But when Jobs leaves Apple, woohoo, expect some BIG vulturing and nice long nasty shirnk in Apple's market cap to happen, all Apple haters of this forum will jump and dance in joy :) hehe

You know markets are emotional and are not driven by pure rationality, so for emotional investors the departure of Jobs will be the BIG sucker punch, I gonna enjoy watching this :) Where's ma popcorn?


RE: I have my doubts
By robinthakur on 7/8/2011 8:21:54 AM , Rating: 2
Re: Rim's chances of surviving, I would disagree that developers are incredibly loyal. Their apps numbers are dire because they are at a transitional period of OS's and also because there are so many damned methods of input to thei devices to cater for. Trackballs, trackpads, touch screens, keyboards. It's supremely confusing or me as a consumer (BB Torch) so I pity the poor developers having to cater for as many of their devices as possible.

I tried a playbook at a big display on Saturday just gone, and nobody else was using them. My experience was overall positive, especially the web browser, but would I really buy one? Nope. Not in a million years until it becomes clear whether it will sink or swim. The sales numbers so far suggest it will sink, despite wall to wall adverts everywhere I go these days (which must be pricey)


RE: I have my doubts
By Tony Swash on 7/6/2011 2:24:18 PM , Rating: 2
OK lets try again shall and this time it might be better if people respond to points I am actually making :)
quote:
When MacOSX was introduced in March, 2001, the competition was Windows ME in the consumer space.

I personally think all versions of the MacOS have been superior, by a significant degree, to all contemporary versions of Windows. That was not the point I was making. I was trying to compare the fact that that the MacOS had much larger and more loyal following than WebOS and this meant that when the radical, buggy and by later standards very limited MacOSX was first introduced there was a large loyal community willing to give it time to mature in the market place. I don't think that WebOS has a such a user base so it has to hit the ground running much more than MacOSX did and the public, the consumers, will be more unforgiving about it's short coming as they not invested in supporting it.
quote:
So it's fine to be a loyal fan of Apple, but fans of WebOS must be "weird techies". Double standards, Tony?

I think the answer to that is broadly yes but again I think you are responding to a point I did not make or certainly failing to notice the point I was making. The MacOS user base at the time MacOSX was introduced was several tens of millions. That MacOS user base was unusually loyal, it had to have been given the decade it had just gone through. So MacOSX was launched with a very large supportive community willing to give it chance. WebOS lacks such a community, the people who are 'fans' of WebOS are small in number and measured by the metric of the mass market 'weird'. Let's face it if you analysed the personality profiles, enthusiasms and passions of your average techie hanging around this sort of place (and I include myself) we would hardly be what one might call mainstream.
quote:
So you are running Linux on your Mac?

Talent is worth supporting IMO. Not for-profit organizations. The profit is the way that you "support" them.
If they can't handle that, then they are not worth "supporting".

FOSS projects like VLC, Blender, etc. need "support".

Apple and MS can screw themselves if they fall on hard times.

By your logic, you should pour your money into MS's pockets so that they make Windows better.

Again you are missing my point. I am not saying that being a Mac fan, or a Windows fan or a WebOS fan is good or bad or anything. I am just saying that it was palpably true that there were a lot more Mac fans willing to give MacOSX support while it developed than there are WebOS fans now.
quote:
We've already seen what happened to Apple the first time Jobs left the company. I'm looking forward to history repeating itself.

When Jobs was dumped from Apple it led to the company being run by bozos in suits for a decade. Those guys were so bad that they let the Mac get beaten by MS DOS! Not so many bozos at Apple now. Apple will be the dominant force in consumer technology for quite a while yet.

Pirks I am not going to quote your comment but this much is clear:

a) You really like your Playbook and think it's great for surfing the web. Good. Everybody should buy stuff they like.

b) This article and my comment were not about the Playbook or RIM.


RE: I have my doubts
By Pirks on 7/6/2011 3:21:51 PM , Rating: 2
Nice dodging Tony, but I won't push you any more for now :) I just mentioned iPhone in the context similar to this one, a few days earlier on this forum, when I compared half baked iPhone in 2007 with half baked Playbook today. Glad to see Rubinstein making exactly the same point about WebOS, which means I was right because Rubinstein doesn't have the fan base RIM has. Yet he makes EXACTLY the same point as me! So... you should see now what I'm hinting at.

Just say nothing about very large international RIM fan base... 'cause you have nothing to say about it anyway :)


RE: I have my doubts
By Tony Swash on 7/6/2011 4:52:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Just say nothing about very large international RIM fan base... 'cause you have nothing to say about it anyway :)


RIMs sales are collapsing. The fans appear to be deserting. Why is interesting. Denying it isn't.


RE: I have my doubts
By Pirks on 7/6/2011 5:01:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
RIMs sales are collapsing
"international revenue in Q1 grew 67% over the same quarter last year"

Just another fact debunking your lies about RIM :P


"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov














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