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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:


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…’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" 

"'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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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 :)
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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

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