07/20/2011, 02:45 AM
The Kindle and the HP Movie Store apps are now available (in the US only) which is a good step forward but here are some broader thoughts on what would be required to get a compelling media consumption experience on the TouchPad.
For me, the whole point of the TouchPad vs. Apple iPad (appart from the superior webOS) is i) to set the user free from the Apple's walled garden approach for media through iTunes and ii) offering further freedom for user experience /customization (i.e. homebrew support vs. "jailbreaking").
Who needs Apple's iTunes if the TouchPad gets a compelling Media ecosystem providing users with freedom to access a variety of different sources/providers?
The TouchPad needs a complete media consumption ecosystem to get some traction with consumers. Here are some thoughts of what would be needed by content category:
Kindle: available the US) - great 1st step but it seems that the app still needs to be polished and some bugs ironed out
Adobe Reader: good basic solution for some eBooks etc but the application (or webOS) needs to be polished (it seems that there is no font anti aliasing and as a result reading text is not always easy compared to reading the same file on a PC version of Adobe reader or even an iPad)
2) Magazines, Press:
Zinio: Zinio is a fantastic virtual magazine kiosk - a great way to have access to a vast library of magazines on a tablet - it's been announced and mentioned on HP's official website but not yet available
NewsPaper: the TP need either more quality dedicated daily papers apps (like USA Today, Guardian Zeitgest, Le Parisien) or some form of an aggregator to read digitized version of a broader selection of newspaper offline
last.fm: great app available with very sleek interface for the TouchPad - ideal for Music Discovery / Pandora (not available) is also a great platform in the US
Spotify: an optimized TP version would be fantastic. The webOS 2.x version is already great and offers WiFi syncing for offline playlists - a TP version would be great
Traditional Music Store: the TP needs an Amazon MP3 or HP Movie Store solution
HP Movie Store: good 1st step but only available in the US, needs to be complemented by global version of the service.
Amazon Movie Store: A broad partnership between Amazon and HP makes sense and it would be great to see Amazon developping a complete offering for the TP covering books, videos and music
NetFlix: seems to be a must have streaming app for the US market
Hulu: again popular for streaming in the US
Localized movie stores: if there are rights issue for some movies, it would be good to partner with local providers like LoveFilm in the UK
The key here is the quality / breadth of the offering and having multiple sources should help on this front rather than being tied to one provider/one catalogue.
There are also some webOS level improvements required: the Photo/Video app has a lot of flaws that should be fixed (and hopefully will be in the OTA update)
+Don't understand the merit of combining video/photos in one app (confusing especially with the lack of sorting/file management)
+Poor file/folder management capabilities need to be fixed urgently: videos show-up with no names and no thumbnail preview (making it unusable with more than 1 file and requiring the use of a 3rd party file manager like Gemini to access multiple videos)
+Sorting required: photos/videos seem to be handled quite randomly by the TouchPad - need to implement a way to sort (filename/date taken/date saved, folder structure, ability to exclude certain folders/apps) in order to handle properly more thand a handful of files
+More codec support required: if the media experienced on the TP is to be defined by users freedom, then the TP needs a broader base of codec support (.avi - divx/xvid; .mkv, etc...) either at the OS level or through 3rd party apps (a webOS port of VLC would be great)
+Good native app for displaying photos but, in line with above comments it should be a separate app and critically needs to be improved to offer full file management/sorting options (especially when you take into account synergy albums from Facebook or Snapfish).
Right now it's an absolute black-box with pictures/albums and not being able to sort files in a logical way (name, date, folder etc...) is very frustrating, in addition you should be able to exclude some folders/apps (download from AVE comics for instance would appear there rather than just in the app). This was one of my biggest grievance with webOS 2.x and I was hopping that 3.0 would address this poor media indexing/sorting issue (again let's hope that the OTA will fix this issue)
The TouchPad has great potential (despite the webOS issues that will hopefully get fixed in the OTA) but to get more traction, it needs as soon as possible to have a complete media consumption ecosystem!