But that is their mistake. People will buy smartphones before they buy tablets. People will buy smartphones every two years, but outside of tech nerds who buy new stuff consantly, I suspect tablets will be a longer term purchase. They had a much better chance to break into the smartphone market than the tablet market if they were not willing to a) take a long term strategy or b) dump lots of money into the effort.
As far as ecosystems, there was (and still is) space to battle, but you need to have the vision to do it. Here was they path they could have taken to instant credibility:
1) Make a reasonable effort to present a an entertainment device, with the goal of being good enough, as the concept of besting Apple in one release cycle is stupid. They (Apple) OWN the entertainment space. Not even Android can touch them.
2) imagine of BEFORE they released the TP, they lined up:
a) a cloud provider (like SugarSync),
b) a document editing product (like Quick office or Piscel),
c) a decent VPN client compatible with major VPN systems.
d) the ability to tether with with ANY phone.
3) Bundle the keyboard and charging stone (or make it seductively easy to purchase)
Then in addition to the celebrity ads, show the ad with the executive typing on his keyboard and showing the tight screen shot of his document editor or him remoting into his office network.
Have him running out to an appointment only then showing him picking up the Touchpad from the charging doc while his secretary continue to edit the document on her office PC. She assures him it will be completed by the time he get to his appointment.
Show how easy it is to use the TP AND to sync documents. Show a card rocking Pandora and another with a map showing directions to his appointment. Have him print the directions to his HP printer. Show him answering the phone on his TP (or responding to a text message) while his phone is still in his briefcase. They HAD that ability, but executed on it poorly.
(Box.net, a MUCH delayed doc editor release, a crappy VPN client, where was the print driver, among other faults)
This is where they blew it. If you aspire to be a world class software as a service company, cloud service provider, if you are the worlds biggest PC maker and printer maker and you could not do what I described above when you had the pieces in place, you deserve to be where you are.
If they had come in 'ready for business' as described above, they would have sold. I would have bought one for 600 dollars without blinking. And my company would have too. Please tell me why such a modest goal was not within the power of HP to accomplish, if they were more sharply focused?