08/13/2011, 06:43 PM
(Another really long one. So sorry. At least it's so long that nobody's gonna bother reading it )
This forum has a long history of utter angst about the future of webOS I really don't get how some people, especially in the frontpage comments, can be so pessimistic RIGHT NOW. The outlook has never been better and yet I see more "webOS is dead" comments now than I have in a while. I don't get it.
There's grief about the current lineup. I don't get that either.
The TouchPad is a very competitive product in the Tablet space. It is a bit thicker than other high-end tablets but that's because it has built-in wireless charging. It still has hiccups. So does Honeycomb. It has more apps than Honeycomb.
It doesn't have as many apps as the iPad yet, and webOS 3 is not yet as polished as the iPad - things that have to be admitted - but the TouchPad as rev.A hardware is already an extremely solid contender. A very good product to come out of the gate with, and HP is obviously not standing still as only one month has passed since the launch and the launch SKUs are already being discounted to make way for the new 4G and 1.5GHz SKUs.
I doubt HP cares about some people on the Internet laughing about early discounts. I think HP cares about people in the store subconsciously preferring a product with a high suggested retail price and a good discount over a product with a lower suggested retail price that would seem 'cheaper'. And I know that HP cares about getting as many of these into peoples' hands as they can.
I believe the TouchPad line is going to be the webOS ambassador for the foreseeable future, and its first incarnation is a really good start.
The Veer is a very competitive product in its niche: the small smartphone space, where it competes against the likes of the LG Optimus Me, Samsung Galaxy Mini, HTC Smart etc. and completely destroys pretty much everything in that niche. With webOS gaining mindshare, you'll see the Veer selling more and more units as well; the people interested in this niche are NOT people who point at processor specs and say "outdated".
The Veer probably hasn't sold that many units, true. But do we know how many units the Galaxy Mini has sold? Nah, and Samsung won't tell for the same reason HP won't tell about the Veer: the numbers aren't impressive.
But people keep comparing it to 4"+ phones and the iPhone.
In a way, I think the Veer is too good for its niche - it's too quick, too smooth, too neat and too well-made and therefore evokes higher-end phones. You can't compare it to other phones its size because it mops the floor with them, so you have to compare it to something bigger. That's as big a compliment as you can give a tiny phone.
The Pre3 is a very competitive product in its niche: the made-for-business smartphone space, where it competes against the likes of the HTC 7 Pro, Moto Droid 3, Blackberry Torch etc. and I'd argue it's a very hot contender in this space. I wouldn't be surprised if the Pre3 is going to sell more units than the new Torch is.
But people would say that's not enough because the iPhone still sells more. Ah well. What can you say to that.
People are angry that HP "took so long" with the Pre3, but they always said it was due in summer. So HP should have announced stuff later? They have a schedule of one new device every two months - should they have a press conference every two months, for each device? Don't you think that would be a bit inflationary? Maybe one every four months, for two devices? But then the second one will always be four months off, which is still a decade in internet reckoning.
And suppose HP would've announced the Veer and TouchPad at Think Beyond, with nary a word of anything bigger. What would people have said and thought? Surely that webOS is dead because HP has no plans of ever bringing it to a big phone (and if they had such plans, why didn't they tell us now...)
I know what you're saying. HP made a mistake by not starting their launch with the TouchPad and a big ol' slab phone. But I don't think that's such a big mistake. Had they launched a slab phone in spring, a lot of people would have waited to see what the iPhone 5 would look like - which inevitably puts the iPhone at an advantage by the simple fact of its later launch facilitating better specs (because if HP doesn't have the best specs, the device is "outdated at launch").
So what's going to happen now is, the Pre3 and iPhone 5 will launch fairly simultaneously, and people will gloat that the iPhone sells more units. Then two months later, with the iPhone buzz subsiding, HP is going to launch the slab phone, which will have better specs than the iPhone (which won't matter because if HP has the best specs, "hardware specifications are an irrelevant leftover of the PC era"). The iPhone is still going to sell more units, of course, but I think if HP is playing its cards right the slab should experience formidable sales like the TouchPad.
The TouchPad only received lackluster reviews in the press which generally couldn't get over the additional thickness required to enable the TouchStone (which would probably be "magical" if sold by someone else) but the market seems to see things differently:
The EEEPad Transformer has a total of 368 reviews on Amazon, with an average of 4.0. It has 185 five-star reviews and 40 one-star reviews, making one five-star review every 4.6 one-star reviews.
The iPad 2 has a total of 257 reviews on Amazon, with an average of 4.0. It has 137 five-star reviews and 20 one-star reviews, making one five-star review every 6.85 one-star reviews.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 has a total of 191 reviews on Amazon, with an average of 4.0. It has 103 five-star reviews and 13 one-star reviews, making one five-star review every 7.9 one-star reviews.
The TouchPad has a total of 146 reviews on Amazon, with an average of 4.5. It has 99 five-star reviews and 11 one-star reviews, making one five-star review every 9 one-star reviews.
Again - this is HP's first try. They literally just started, and developers are already seeing a huge impact. All of these people who bought a TouchPad because it was 200 off are getting used to webOS, and it seems like they're liking it. That will make them more susceptible to webOS phones when they start being advertised. And don't forget that this is the first generation of HP webOS devices. People are liking it. webOS is moving again.
So seriously: webOS has been through some dire straits, but if there has ever been a moment to panic about webOS being about to die, this is not it. webOS is only about to be born, even if it's a weird concept for those of us to have been around when it was still a Palm embryo.