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  1.    #1  
    Analysis Palm Pre 2 and Slate both fall short
    By Lawrence Latif
    Wed Oct 27 2010, 15:20


    MAKER OF EXPENSIVE PRINTER INK HP has in the last week reassured Apple that it can continue to run rough-shod over its customers and its rivals.
    Some months ago The INQUIRER wrote about how HP's failings meant Apple could get away with putting out third-rate technology at premium prices. This last week has shown that HP still hasn't figured out what it needs to do to hold off Apple's onslaught.

    First was the release of the HP Palm Pre 2 sporting the latest version of WebOS. Since its appearance at CES 2009, the phone has failed to set the world alight or compete with rivals like the Iphone or Android handsets.
    WebOS has always been a great operating system, packing the right features and a beautiful and unique user interface that made so many want to believe that the billion or so dollars that HP paid for Palm over the summer was money well spent.

    The disappointment of the Pre stemmed from the below par hardware coupled with botched launches outside of the US. And even with HP's decades of experience, it seems history is repeating itself.

    Respectful of Palm's history, HP decided to stick with the branding for the Pre 2. But frankly it'll need more than just the goodwill gained from having Palm's logo on the device to shift the latest model because parts of the specifications sheet lead to head scratching. One has to wonder why, given the effort undertaken by most handset manufacturers to produce svelte smartphones, HP has decided to stick with the same pudgy design from two years ago.

    What is less forgivable than design by tracing paper is the 3.1-inch screen. With a resolution of just 320x480, it is nothing short of an embarrassment. While the popular 480x800 resolution might have been a little too high for such a screen size, 320x480 was the same resolution found in the 2007 Apple Iphone, now almost four years old.

    Other hardware is somewhat more up-to-date, with a 1GHz processor, 512MB RAM and 16GB of flash storage. But having a screen that originated in the dark ages is hardly going to help the firm sell the device, especially as it is what users first see when comparing devices.

    Given that the Pre 2 is the first device to showcase WebOS 2, it would have been understandable for HP to go all out and bring out a showcase for its new operating system, an operating system that should be installed on a number of other HP devices in the near future. Instead we get a phone that looks identical to one that was shown nearly two years ago.

    Then came the news that a French mobile operator would be the first to stock the Pre 2. Perhaps HP should have realised that France, and especially Paris, has been in violent protest for the past few months, culminating in the past two weeks seeing almost daily strikes and protests on the streets of Paris and many other cities. The idea to launch a pricey smartphone in a country that is protesting against austerity measures seems like folly rather than fortuitous.

    However the decision to launch a new smartphone and operating system in a country which at the moment is concerned with far more important matters wasn't the last shock to come from HP in the space of a few days. That was left for the announcement that HP's mythical 'slate', first shown at CES 2010 by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, will finally tip up, at least in the US.

    Many had hoped that the repeated delays combined with the purchase of Palm and statements mentioning HP's intention to produce tablet PCs running WebOS meant that the Slate would be rid of Microsoft's bloated Windows operating system. But alas HP delivered another dose of disappointment. With a $799 price tag came the news that it would run Windows 7, just as Ballmer had presented in Las Vegas.

    Dubbed the Slate 500, HP not only picked the wrong operating system but once again made some curious hardware choices leading to an unfocused product. The netbook-class Intel Atom processor and 2GB RAM are combined with either 32GB or 64GB of flash storage and a screen that measures 8.9-inches with a resolution of just 1024x600. So what is this machine, a tablet or a keyboard-less touchscreen laptop? The price would certainly suggest the latter but demand better hardware.

    The fact that such questions crop up is testament to the firm producing kit that doesn't really fill any particular role. So it won't come as too much of a surprise that it seems HP isn't too sure about the success of its Slate, saying that it was testing the waters in the US before shipping the device out to other markets.

    There's nothing wrong with doing some market research in a single market. After all, worldwide launches are not cheap, even for HP, which has extensive channel partners all over the globe. The problem is that its non-committal stance suggests that it really isn't pinning much hope on the Slate 500 and frankly, given the $799 price tag, it will be a surprise if the HP device fends off the similarly priced Ipad.

    Over the course of a week, HP has managed to show just why Apple has managed to do so well. Unlike HP, Apple follows a clear path in what it does. Even with an over-active rumour mill, mooting the idea of an Apple gadget running anything other than IOS would be absurd. Contrast this with HP, which recently proclaimed that WebOS tablets would tip up in 2011, yet chose to load Windows 7 on its first tablet device.

    The Slate 500 was a gilt-edged opportunity for HP to showcase WebOS. Instead it seems that the firm decided to go with what it had in order to get the device on US store shelves in time for the holiday buying period. In doing so, it shunned the opportunity to elevate WebOS as a capable tablet operating system, a purpose Google has said its Android OS is currently not designed for.

    So here we have something of a conundrum. The Palm Pre 2 is in many ways the direct opposite of Apple's Iphone 4. Going by the assumption that the Iphone 4 worked as intended, it is a case of high-end hardware tied to a frustrating operating system. With the Pre 2 it's a case of crippled hardware powering an operating system that has real potential of becoming great.

    And when it comes to the Slate 500, it seems that a device that had promised so much had such a long gestation period that the firm simply forgot what the original aim of the device was. Instead it's a hodge-podge of ideas.

    At the moment it seems that HP doesn't quite know what it has. It needs to stand back, take stock of its strengths in this area, chiefly WebOS, and design hardware around what is fundamentally a good operating system.

    Hp fails to take advantage of webos - The Inquirer
  2. #2  
    Good read! I really hate to say it, but HP does scare me. It's like a bunch of bumbling fools inherited their dad's firm and can only stumble around and make choices with no business sense. Come on HP....someone in there needs to wake up and take the reigns.
  3. #3  
    not a bad article indeed, though of course in my eyes the reason to release the tablet and the pre 2 was of course to just get something out in time for the holidays. Though the tablet is excused, because it was already a finished product running windows, and of course we all know a webos tablet OS version let alone the mobile version (2.0) is prob not even finished yet. In regards to the Pre 2, they should have increased the screen size. I think if they did push it to atleast 3.5 (ala iphone standard) then they wouldnt have a issue, even with the same form factor for carriers like Sprint picking up the device for the holidays. Though I know alot of people would still consider purchasing one if available (myself included) as a mass though alot will pass, especially knowing something better is maybe 6 months away.
  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by HelloNNNewman View Post
    Good read! I really hate to say it, but HP does scare me. It's like a bunch of bumbling fools inherited their dad's firm and can only stumble around and make choices with no business sense. Come on HP....someone in there needs to wake up and take the reigns.
    +1

    HP's apparent lack of synergy in their hierarchy is literally frightening.

    Good find Sketchy!
    "Patience, use the force, think." Obi-Wan


    Ready to try Preware? Get this first: Preware Homebrew Documentation
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by HelloNNNewman View Post
    Good read! I really hate to say it, but HP does scare me. It's like a bunch of bumbling fools inherited their dad's firm and can only stumble around and make choices with no business sense. Come on HP....someone in there needs to wake up and take the reigns.
    really though, I agree atleast Rubenstein when Palm was just Palm did not only keep us updated on what was going on, he tried his best at releasing new products as soon as he could. With very very limited resources too. I say now that Rub and the smartphone team at HP has funds, first get somebody who has a good idea on how to make a great phone, and let them release it at will to carriers as they finish, since you can always send a OS update OTA. Get these slabs out to battle the competition, and these landscape sliders. Heck I'd even get a 3rd party company to help make acouple of devices like HTC, or samsung just until you get a chance to catch up and do your own thing (hardware, and OS manufacturing ala Apple).
  6.    #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by vza33 View Post
    +1

    HP's apparent lack of synergy in their hierarchy is literally frightening.

    Good find Sketchy!
    i found it from an image on the front page and decided to search and read it !!

    http://www.precentral.net/sites/prec..._marked_up.jpg
  7. solarus's Avatar
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    #7  
    While points on the products discussed are valid, its not like any company can adsorb another, integrate product development, marketing, operations, accounting, finance, etc in just 6- months!!

    As much as we would like to see new Hp-Palm products right now we should keep in mind that integrating Palm in to HP, even as a separate division takes time, and the fruits of the acquisition should not be expected in less than 6 months.

    The two product examples used are bunk to the entire argument - the Pre2 is clearly a pre-acquisition product as is the Slate. Yes HP could have changed the Slate to a webOS device but then we would be looking at a 2011 release (and guess what we are looking at a Palm Pad of some sort in 2011). With the R&D expenditures already made maybe HP thought it prudent to get as much (or little as the case may be ) return as possible on their investment. The same could be said of the Pre2 from Palm's perspective. Saying that HP is failing b/c two products, developed by the companies before the transaction, are not aligned with the current strategy is meaningless because of the fact the two products were designed and engineered before the acquisition of Palm was even a consideration.

    CES may be the first we'll see anything that has been developed or designed under the HP - Palm umbrella. I'll hold off judgment on HP's execution until we get to see fruits of the acquisition, not fruits of two separate companies operating completely independently of each other prior to even a glimmer of a sale of one to the other.

    HP haven't failed to take advantage of webOS they just haven't had the time to integrate webOS into their strategy. Developing a brand new strategy based on the fruits of an acquisition takes longer than a few months to implement and execute.
    Last edited by solarus; 11/16/2010 at 11:16 AM.
  8. #8  
    twitered it! Good read, insightful and logical... People won't get it
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by HelloNNNewman View Post
    Good read! I really hate to say it, but HP does scare me. It's like a bunch of bumbling fools inherited their dad's firm and can only stumble around and make choices with no business sense. Come on HP....someone in there needs to wake up and take the reigns.
    You know, I kind of think HP knows exactly what they're doing and that's stripping webOS of its charm and personality in order to commoditize it across the products that leverage their core strengths.
  10. #10  
    As Jon Rubenstein just pointed out in the web2.0 summit webcast earlier, the HP/Palm acquisition happened July 1.. and they sort of stalled during that time until recently, doing whatever needed to be done to finish it.

    There are NO HP/Palm products out YET. Pre 2 is definitely pre-acquisition, and would have been ahead of its time (or at least on PAR) had it been released then. Jon confirmed a webOS tablet coming, as well as smartphones and a host of other devices, particularly PRINTERS.

    How many printers do you think HP sells?

    And imagine if those printers turn into webOS printers?

    HP bought Palm for a reason. They have just finished acquisition, and the fruits are coming NEXT YEAR.

    ANALysts suck.
  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by Furuboru View Post
    As Jon Rubenstein just pointed out in the web2.0 summit webcast earlier, the HP/Palm acquisition happened July 1.. and they sort of stalled during that time until recently, doing whatever needed to be done to finish it.

    There are NO HP/Palm products out YET. Pre 2 is definitely pre-acquisition, and would have been ahead of its time (or at least on PAR) had it been released then. Jon confirmed a webOS tablet coming, as well as smartphones and a host of other devices, particularly PRINTERS.

    How many printers do you think HP sells?

    And imagine if those printers turn into webOS printers?
    I guess that's why the TouchSmart OS is so widespread and laden with developers trying to jump on board? Because it's an OS that runs apps on a lot of HP printers?

    HP bought Palm for a reason. They have just finished acquisition, and the fruits are coming NEXT YEAR.

    ANALysts suck.
    They bought Voodoo and Compaq for reasons too. Each of those brands headed straight to the top of their respective markets, eh?
  12. #12  
    Thanks a lot. I'll read it when I get home.

    Note: I get a bad vibe from Hp.ugh!
  13. #13  
    IMO, HP's biggest misstep is that they are letting other people tell their story. What is the deal with the P2? Where does it fit into the product cycle? Why is it being dribbled out in such a lackluster way? Why did Ruby not mention it or try to sell it while on the big stage? We are left to speculate. As a result, we invent the story. HP should be telling their own story.
  14. solarus's Avatar
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    #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by mikah912 View Post
    They bought Voodoo and Compaq for reasons too. Each of those brands headed straight to the top of their respective markets, eh?
    Yes...Compaq Voodoo were purchased for the very simple unimaginative reason of increasing market share in an existing commodity market - PCs. HP purchased Palm so the company can actually have a future in consumer products. As our gadgets get more and more interconnected, unless HP developed a strategy to tie their products together across a common set of protocols and/or an OS they were going to go the way of Packard-Bell - to become a manufacturer of basic commodity product only. And from HP's own notoriously bad software its clear they didn't have the capabilities to develop this strategy in-house.

    HP needs something like webOS to differentiate themselves, provide added value to its products, and develop a over arching strategy for cloud computing. webOS is more about the future of HP's consumer/home market surviving than expanding market share of PC's and smart phones. Given this importance HP will spend considerable attention in developing webOS as a strategic asset, the same way Apple has leveraged the iPhone OS into the broad based iOS now available on different products serving different markets.

    As dandbj13 mentioned, HP screwed the pooch on the Pre2 introduction. Don't mistake bad PRPRPR $and$ $product$ $introduction$ $of$ $a$ $pre$-$acquisition$ $product$ ($one$ $that$ $HP$ $doesn$'$t$ $seem$ $to$ $have$ $a$ $lot$ $of$ $faith$ $in$ $anyway$) $as$ $an$ $indication$ $of$ $where$ $HP$ $are$ $going$ $to$ $go$ $in$ $the$ $future$.
  15. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by solarus View Post
    Yes...Compaq Voodoo were purchased for the very simple unimaginative reason of increasing market share in an existing commodity market - PCs. HP purchased Palm so the company can actually have a future in consumer products. As our gadgets get more and more interconnected, unless HP developed a strategy to tie their products together across a common set of protocols and/or an OS they were going to go the way of Packard-Bell - to become a manufacturer of basic commodity product only. And from HP's own notoriously bad software its clear they didn't have the capabilities to develop this strategy in-house.

    HP needs something like webOS to differentiate themselves, provide added value to its products, and develop a over arching strategy for cloud computing. webOS is more about the future of HP's consumer/home market surviving than expanding market share of PC's and smart phones. Given this importance HP will spend considerable attention in developing webOS as a strategic asset, the same way Apple has leveraged the iPhone OS into the broad based iOS now available on different products serving different markets.
    This sounds well and good, but let's not forget the recent regime changes, Palm housecleaning, and latest earnings that show that printer and server revenue uber alles.

    Things at HP can change like that, which is why the Slate went from Ballmer holding it at a keynote and promising "They're more powerful than a phone and almost as powerful as a PC. Perfect for reading, surfing the web and taking entertainment on the go" to a super limited run device for a few businesses to bulk order. Obviously, the difference is that HP owns WebOS, but if it doesn't make significant headwind, they'll simply try something else. Rahul Sood once stood exactly where Rubinstein was, and he's moved onto greener pastures less than five years later and was marginalized long before then.
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by solarus View Post
    As dandbj13 mentioned, HP screwed the pooch on the Pre2 introduction. Don't mistake bad PRPRPR $and$ $product$ $introduction$ $of$ $a$ $pre$-$acquisition$ $product$ ($one$ $that$ $HP$ $doesn$'$t$ $seem$ $to$ $have$ $a$ $lot$ $of$ $faith$ $in$ $anyway$) $as$ $an$ $indication$ $of$ $where$ $HP$ $are$ $going$ $to$ $go$ $in$ $the$ $future$.
    Actually, you can learn a lot about companies when you watch them deal with failures. Microsoft pulled the Kin in the blink of an eye, held back until after Windows Phone 7 was properly launched, and are now giving it another go with retooled pricing and positioning, safely apart from their flagship brand. HP decided to let the Zeen, Slate, and Pre 2 make it to market regardless of how little they stood by them and how much their bad impressions impeded future phones and tablets.
  17. solarus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikah912 View Post
    Actually, you can learn a lot about companies when you watch them deal with failures. Microsoft pulled the Kin in the blink of an eye, held back until after Windows Phone 7 was properly launched, and are now giving it another go with retooled pricing and positioning, safely apart from their flagship brand. HP decided to let the Zeen, Slate, and Pre 2 make it to market regardless of how little they stood by them and how much their bad impressions impeded future phones and tablets.
    I agree with your principal here, I just don't think the Pre2 can be considered HP's failure. It's Palm's. HP had little choice but to release the thing. Given the natural delay resulting from the acquisition of Palm it never had much of a chance for success, but I'm sure Palm had at least some manufacturing obligations to meet, so HP went ahead and released it. Thank god they didn't do a huge announcement proclaiming it to be the second coming, something Rubenstein would probably have done!! I think the low key release of the Pre2 (Verizon will not market it well here in the US) will actually help HP in the long run by allowing them to "re-introduce" webOS to the non-geek public in a much bigger way and with hardware that is way more competitive, hopefully at CES, and even more hopefully (but unlikely) released not long afterwards.

    In reply to your earlier comment, I would say the reason the Slate turned out to be less the hit or star in HP's product portfolio than initially indicated is precisely because of webOS. I think HP realized when Palm came up for sale that if they could get webOS they wouldn't need to be beholden to Microsoft for a mobile OS and could come up with a truely unique tablet entirely controlled by HP and no one else (ala Apple's model).

    HP can operate two "divisions" - one focused on enterprise (servers, printers etc..., and another on consumers. If Microsoft can do it then I have to believe HP can too.

    The biggest thing that will stop HP from succeeding with webOS is if they absorb Palm wholesale, destroying its culture in doing so. Just that possibility I'm sure was reason enough for some Palm folks to leave. Of all the people that have left, the UI guy is really the only one that hurts, the others, while obviously having their fans, are relatively easy to replace.

    All this been said, HP while having a history of inventiveness hasn't exactly shown such capability in the recent past so I completely understand your misgivings.
    Last edited by solarus; 11/16/2010 at 02:23 PM.
  18. #18  
    if the pre2 was all that palm had before hp buy out...then that really would have put palm into bankruptcy.
  19. #19  
    This...

    Quote Originally Posted by solarus View Post
    While points on the products discussed are valid, its not like any company can adsorb another, integrate product development, marketing, operations, accounting, finance, etc in just 6- months!!

    As much as we would like to see new Hp-Palm products right now we should keep in mind that integrating Palm in to HP, even as a separate division takes time, and the fruits of the acquisition should not be expected in less than 6 months.

    The two product examples used are bunk to the entire argument - the Pre2 is clearly a pre-acquisition product as is the Slate. Yes HP could have changed the Slate to a webOS device but then we would be looking at a 2011 release (and guess what we are looking at a Palm Pad of some sort in 2011). With the R&D expenditures already made maybe HP thought it prudent to get as much (or little as the case may be ) return as possible on their investment. The same could be said of the Pre2 from Palm's perspective. Saying that HP is failing b/c two products, developed by the companies before the transaction, are not aligned with the current strategy is meaningless because of the fact the two products were designed and engineered before the acquisition of Palm was even a consideration.

    CES may be the first we'll see anything that has been developed or designed under the HP - Palm umbrella. I'll hold off judgment on HP's execution until we get to see fruits of the acquisition, not fruits of two separate companies operating completely independently of each other prior to even a glimmer of a sale of one to the other.

    HP haven't failed to take advantage of webOS they just haven't had the time to integrate webOS into their strategy. Developing a brand new strategy based on the fruits of an acquisition takes longer than a few months to implement and execute.
  20. #20  
    For an article that criticized sloppy execution, it did a very poor job on its own behalf. Lots of typos and strange language. At any rate, I'm not sure what HP is up to, other than the idea that they are intentionally downplaying these products but saw just enough value to justify the soft launches.

    But the critique of the Pre 2 is off the mark. The one legitimate (though opinion based) charge is that the screen is too small. That's the only specific complaint, yet later in the article, the hardware is "crippled." Really? Just from screen size? Likewise, I don't think IOS is frustrating so much as it is not robust.
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