There is a saying in Linux that I feel equates to the TouchPad and webOS in general:
Originally Posted by jdale
Release Early, Release Often
What I think this means is get the product out to the users who want it now even if it has some bugs, but fix the bugs as soon as possible. Constantly improve the product and don't be afraid to listen to users input.
I think when releasing both a hardware and software solution, get the hardware to where you feel it should be to insure growth in the product, get the software to where it is stable not perfect, then release the product. I felt that HP did this with the TouchPad. The hardware is ahead of most of the products on the market. The TouchPad has more memory and processor power than many of the other tablets, to include the iPad 2. The ability to overclock the processor and maintain stability shows that the platform is very capable of long term use. Even the Android folks who bought the TouchPad in hopes of a port will reluctantly agree to that.
Where the TouchPad has problems is the stability and speed of the software. There are lots of bugs, memory leaks, and a lack of GPU optimizations built in. However, unlike the Android and iOS products that will require newer and faster hardware to grow because the optimizations are already there and pushing the limits of the hardware, the TouchPad just needs software improvements to get faster. We've seen TouchPads performing on par with their counterparts with just some minor tweaks (patches and logging changes) to the software, imagine how much faster it will get once HP adds GPU acceleration and improves the software.
We should look at tablets like computers and buy them based on how long the hardware will last and not how pretty they are. Techies wants to go out and buy the latest and greatest because it is exciting. That's fine. However, average users want something that will last and don't want to pay or can't afford to pay $500 ever year for a new toy. From a user standpoint, improvements to the software are free (unless we are talking about desktop Windows), improvements to the hardware are expensive.
Back to my Linux analogy...
I have seen people marvel over every new version of Windows, even though before they even get the new version, they have to waste hard earned money updating their system or buying a whole new computer. This is the same with iOS and Android. Why? Each major version of Windows, iOS, and Android requires more and more processing power and memory to get what are minor software enhancements. Why? The companies that produce them make their money off of the hardware.
Although new releases of Linux are buggy at first, they get faster and faster and better looking in time without having to upgrade the hardware. I have a six year old computer with only 1GB of RAM running the latest version of Linux and it looks and performs a whole lot better than Windows 7 (which requires more power) on the same system. I have not had to buy another computer or even upgrade the hardware on my computer in the last six years. I saved a ton of money switching to Linux that I would not have saved using Windows.
I feel the TouchPad with webOS is the same way. I can skip a generation or two with the TouchPad because I know that future improvements to webOS will make it faster. I've seen first hand that I can't do that with iOS (got burned because iOS 4 want run on my older iPod Touch) or Android (3.x requires more memory than my 2.x tablet has) products because Apple and the Android vendors make the bulk of their money on hardware sales so they have no incentive to make their OS work on older hardware. HP makes it money (or planned to make its money) from TouchPad owners through services.
ps. I apologize if this post is a little incoherent. I'm on my 3rd cup of coffee this morning.