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  1.    #1  
    HI all, here is more on why HP killed win 7 slate and more hopeful news on webOS on (or in), HP products. Intel & MS are the big losers here and we will be the big winners!

    Take care, Jay

    Analysis: HP Buys Palm. ARM Wins Big. Intel is Screwed.
    By Rob Enderle on 5th May, 2010

    Analysis: HP Buys Palm. ARM Wins Big. Intel is Screwed. | ConceivablyTech

    The original HP tablet running Windows 7 at the most recent CES tradeshow was based on Intel’s Atom processor. HP now appears to have killed that product and replaced it with a rumored product under development with Palm, which should be based on ARM. These days, HP is Intel’s and Microsoft’s biggest and strongest partner. HP’s decision to drop Windows 7 and Intel, a result of years of frustration, signifies a major shift in the personal computing market and could result in the first real competitor to the iPad. But, regardless of that, it showcases a clear choice for ARM and one of the problems that Intel is struggling to overcome with Atom.
    That real problem is that the current smartphone ecosystem is designed around ARM and not x86 architecture. Just like it was nearly impossible for either IBM with PowerPC, or DEC with the impressive Alpha (which tried to emulate x86) to penetrate the PC market, Intel is struggling with the same obstacles. Interestingly enough, the only strategy that has worked in such scenarios in the past isn’t the one they are using now.

    There is no need to reinvent the wheel and sometimes it is just a better choice to embrace a technology then it is trying to displace it.

    HP’s Tablet Problem

    Apple out-markets every other vendor in their product segment, outside of the Mac. Their products are sharply differentiated and their marketing sets the bar that other products are compared to. Apple showcased this capability first with the iPod, then with the iPhone, and finally with the iPad.

    To become successful, any competing product has to be as good as or better than Apple’s offering. The iPad is heavy for a tablet, likely too heavy for most, and represents the high bar. Battery life is working out to be between 8 and 10 hours, which is now the minimum bar for other products. The user interface is simple, focused, and designed from the ground up for touch, also setting the minimum bar. The iPad application store is just starting out and both books and movie libraries are poorly stocked suggesting some competitive weakness, but only if someone else can do better. Finally the Apple product carries a massive margin indicating someone else could offer a product for less money, but folks don’t want to buy junk at any price, so a cheaper product still has to meet most of these minimums.

    HP’s tablet was estimated to be heavier, with battery life about half of what the iPad provides. So it would have had a disadvantage from the very beginning. It used Windows 7, which simply has not been designed very well for a tablet OS that relies on touch input. While there are certainly tons of Windows applications users are already comfortable with and while there are several movie and book services available on Windows, we also know that each is different and packaging them into an easy solution would have been daunting. The product was estimated to cost about as much as a high-end netbook or about as much as an entry-level iPad ($500), but it missed the iPad in so many areas. It does not take much to see that it would have been killed in reviews and could have become an embarrassment for HP. This is not a product that should have come to market.

    HP wanted a product that used the Windows Phone 7 operating system but Microsoft did not allow them to use it for a tablet. They looked at Android but the Apple suit against HTC made it clear that, if Apple gets its way, they will take their profits and the Microsoft licensing deal with HTC appeared to turn Android into the most expensive OS to an OEM on the planet. Paying Microsoft for a Google OS, given Google provides little support and Microsoft does not provide support for a product they don’t actually own, seemed excessively foolish. So HP went with an OS they could buy and the money they paid Palm was cheap if you consider HP may have thought that they were buying their own freedom. And, in a way, they were.

    ARM vs. x86

    However, Palm lives on ARM, and not x86. Creating a Palm port to x86 would likely take a year and any applications (granted not a lot) would likely have to be rewritten and developers have already been very hard to hold to the WebOS platform. Intel has partnered with Nokia and they have their own competing OS for smartphones, which could have been used on a tablet, but it would have required substantial work – and HP doesn’t really have an OS unit. In addition, Nokia now appears to share ownership and the result could put HP at a competitive disadvantage against Nokia, which also appears confused with regard to which direction they are going (and remains virtually all ARM today).

    This inability to displace a dominant technology is a similar problem to what IBM faced with PowerPC and DEC faced with the Alpha processor. Once an ecosystem is in place, it is almost impossible to pull it over unless you redefine the market. Ironically that is just what the iPad is doing, because, by almost any other measure, it is more PC then it is smartphone. Apple and not Microsoft defined the segment. Even with massive financial backing, Intel is still struggling to be relevant in the smartphone space, just as both DEC and IBM did when they were running against Intel.

    The only way to move an installed base that works is Microsoft’s old embrace, extend, and extinguish strategy that even Microsoft doesn’t appear to use anymore. Sun, Oracle, Netscape and most recently Google have tried other paths to displace Microsoft and all have failed and some of the efforts caused the respective companies to eventually fail. It is a lot of work but it amazes me that the one strategy that did work is the one everyone, including Microsoft, avoids.

    Which ARM Vendor Wins?

    There are likely three vendors in play for this business. Nvidia with their graphics focused Tegra products, Qualcomm which acquired graphics technology from AMD and is closest to the carriers, and Marvell, which has been trying to corner the eReader market with their Armada line based on Intel’s old Strong ARM technology. It is interesting that two of these three vendors are using technology that the x86 vendors gave up and likely shouldn’t have. It seems that Nvidia has been the only x86 vendor that really saw this coming.

    The one that wins is likely the vendor that has already established a relationship with Palm and has helped co-fund the development of their tablet because funding from HP will arrive too late to make this year. HP can’t fund projects until the deal with Palm closes in a few months.



    Wrapping Up: It’s Decision Time

    The world that was is based on x86, the world that is coming seems to be increasingly based on ARM. It is interesting to note that it is rare that any vendor dominant during one technology wave is able to continue its success when the next wave starts to peak. Intel is going to give it a run with the Atom processor, but HP’s latest move suggests the industry may not move with them and that Intel will need an effort in line with “Intel Inside”, if they want to move the existing market from ARM processors back to x86. Microsoft isn’t helping this time.

    HP’s move with Palm is a wake-up call to all of us that change is in the wind, and that the future market will likely look a lot different than it does today. For HP, Marvell, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Google, Microsoft and even Apple, current success does not necessarily mean future success and the winner may not be the biggest or best funded, but the one who best captured the imagination of the buyer.
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  2. #2  
    nice article.

    Its the first article that i have read that mentioned that HP actually is replacing the Slate with a Tablet that Palm has been working on. Its music to my ears!
  3. #3  
    Yes interesting and thanks for the link.

    I hope they are right,

    Sorli...
  4. ray1b's Avatar
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    #4  
    I didn't know Palm was already working on a Tablet.
  5. #5  
    Foleo was a good idea. Sad that palm P.I.P'ed it...
  6. #6  
    The statement about porting to x86 is false... WebOS already run on x86... Any WebOS developer runs it on x86 when they run their app on the emulator.

    only PDK apps would need to be compiled with a different target and it is not a big issue.

    so HP could release a x86 tablet with webos quite quickly if it choose to. The thing is that arm have a much better record at battery life then x86 and system on a chip are more readily available for arm. Thus arm will be cheaper and less hungry than x86.
  7. tirk's Avatar
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    #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by Pilotovef View Post
    Foleo was a good idea. Sad that palm P.I.P'ed it...


    Foleo was a terrible idea - a more expensive, less capable Netbook?

    This sounds nothing like Foleo!
    PalmPilot Professional...Palm Vx...Treo 600...Treo 680...HTC Touch HD...iPhone 4S...
  8. angiest's Avatar
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    #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by ukabu View Post
    The statement about porting to x86 is false... WebOS already run on x86... Any WebOS developer runs it on x86 when they run their app on the emulator.

    only PDK apps would need to be compiled with a different target and it is not a big issue.

    so HP could release a x86 tablet with webos quite quickly if it choose to. The thing is that arm have a much better record at battery life then x86 and system on a chip are more readily available for arm. Thus arm will be cheaper and less hungry than x86.
    I've never played with the emulator, but I was pretty sure virtualbox didn't emulate ARM...

    Yeah, porting webOS to x86 wouldn't be difficult at all. Since it;s already been done....

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