08/19/2011, 12:40 PM
this guy from chicago's paper had nice things to say about the ingenuity of webos vs ios and some choice words for HP's decision, makes me more sad than anything else to see this through the eyes of an admiring outsider, excerpts below:
or what HP has done to consumers . . . oh, yes, they deserve it. There are people who excitedly bought a TouchPad on the very first day it was released in their countries, and then became orphans less than 48 hours later. That’s just wrong.
I’m hugely disappointed that HP never gave the TouchPad a chance to find its legs. But it might have been the only sensible choice available to them. The trouble was that there were just so damned few TouchPad buyers to screw over. This week, AllThingsD reported that since the TouchPad’s US launch on July 1, only 25,000 of the 270,000 units HP shipped to Best Buy had sold - and that figure didn’t even include the number of products that had been returned. And so, in their quarterly earnings call on Thursday, HP announced that they were “shutting down WebOS hardware” (meaning, no more TouchPad and no more WebOS phones), bringing to an end a two-year saga in which the new mobile OS won lots of fans and earned surprising respect, but had never found its Oprah Moment.
HP did leave the door open to licensing WebOS to third-party phone and tablet makers....
HP could no more distance the TouchPad from the iPad than Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious could distance that song from Frank Sinatra. Their work would not, could not have existed without the original to serve as a template. But throughout the WebOS/TouchPad experience, I saw, in flourish after flourish, places where an engineer looked at some element of the iPad and thought “That’s great, but what if we did it like this instead?”
A blow-by-blow review would be a waste of your time and mine. Still, I can’t help but compliment WebOS’ engineers on creating a UI that was easy to figure out and which made sense as an integrated unit.
The device itself felt a little cheap, compared both to the iPad and the Motorola Xoom.
But that’s kind of HP’s schtick. By and large, they aren’t in the business of making premium hardware. A company that once was known for rock-solid products was chased by competition into building ‘em cheap and shipping them in huge volume.
Still, I initially couldn’t recommend that people buy it. At its original $499 list price, I was going to award the TouchPad a “nice try.” You can’t compete with the iPad by selling something not as good for the same price.
HP quickly cut the list price down to $399 and the thing immediately got interesting.
Then it became clear that shrewd shoppers could combine deals and coupons and get it for under $350 and that’s when the TouchPad became verrry interesting. Any halfway-decent color 10” multitouch tablet with a great mail app, a web browser, the Kindle app, and even a bare assortment of third-party apps is highly competitive. The key was going to be for the TouchPad to compete with the Amazon Kindle instead of the iPad...