In iPad's shadow, HP ditches tablet hopes
Though tablets are hot, HP's TouchPad wasn't (See video below)
Why would a company -- the No. 1 PC maker in the world -- stop making a product that's winning over users right and left? Because, as some industry analysts explain it, that while tablets in general are a big hit today, HP's TouchPad simply couldn't gain traction.
"Tablets are hot right now, but webOS isn't," said Dan Olds, an analyst for The Gabriel Consulting Group. "Tablets are rapidly coming down to a choice between Apple and Android-based machines - with Microsoft looking for an opportunity to get in as well."
It's not that webOS is a bad operating system or that HP's devices are bad, he said. The issue is the ecosystem of apps that's driving consumers toward either Apple iOS or Android. WebOS doesn't have many apps and almost none that are aimed at mass-market consumers.
"In the tablet arena, HP is riding the wrong horse," said Olds. "WebOS isn't going to knock off Apple or Android, so why keep pushing it? Besides, there's not much margin in these devices anyway. The money is in selling them bandwidth or content."
HP surprised the tech industry on Thursday with a flurry of announcements about its future. Among other things, it is considering spinning off its PC-manufacturing business, plans to buy analytics software vendor Autonomy for $10 billion in cash and it's going to kill off its webOS devices, which include webOS phones and the TouchPad.
One of the problems HP has been facing is that the tablet business is, at least for now, an iPad business, said Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT, Inc.
"That, along with the initial failure of the TouchPad in the market are at least a couple of contributing factors," added King. "I expect the BestBuy embarrassment, which had 300,000 units shipped, 25,000 sold and more than 270,000 returned, was just a large example of a general downward trend. Pulling the plug must seem like a logical decision to someone in [HP's] C-level suite."
With Apple's success with the iPad, HP couldn't even dream of trying to compete.
"One of the most curious things to me about the consumer IT market is the willingness among vendors to abandon products, and the collective investment they represent, not long after launch," said King. "It's like an army asking for peace after losing the first battle."
He added that companies seem to calculate that carrying a failing or faltering product is more dangerous to the overall corporate brand than leaving it behind. "That makes a certain sense from a business point of view, but the only obvious beneficiary I can see in this case is Apple," said King.
However, Jim McGregor, an analyst with In-Stat, noted that a company would have to have something of real value to consider shuttering it a loss.
"This means that [HP] backed the wrong horse," said McGregor. "They should have been building on and differentiating around Android. As we have seen in smartphones, if enough vendors rally around a platform, they can compete against a monopoly, even Apple."
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Researchers pocket record $400K at Pwn2Own hacking contest's first day
- HP gains traction with augmented reality service
- Disk storage sales gets year-end boost
- Bug bounty operator presses vendors to pick up patching pace
- Server market revenue down 4.4% in Q4
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Windows 7 lives!
- HP unveils first 64-bit Windows 8.1 tablets with Intel Atom
- HP brings 'couch potato' model to Pavilion line
- Microsoft tries to jumpstart cheap Windows devices with license price cut
- HP reverses decline in PC sales, claims broad progress in quarter
Read more about iOS in Computerworld's iOS Topic Center.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- System and Data Protection, Recovery and Availability This white paper describes how ARCserve works and the benefits it can provide IT environments of all sizes.
- Simplifying Data Protection, Reducing Risk of Data Loss and System Downtime This white paper outlines what IT organizations should look for in a data protection solution, including simplicity and ease of deployment, comprehensive protection,...
- Complexity Ate My Budget When it comes to data protection, having multiple point solutions is not the answer. Find out how to gain a holistic view of...
- Three Best Practices to Help Government Agencies Overcome BYOD Challenges This paper highlightschallenges facing government IT in a BYOD environment and discusses strategies for network preparation, ongoing support, and securing information to enable...
- Four Myths of High-Productivity App Dev Debunked Debunk the main myths surrounding high-productivity application development and how both platforms have overcome them.
On-Demand Webcast: 7 Reasons to Choose VoIP
Thinking about a new phone system for your business?
Be sure to watch this informative webcast. Steve Strauss, small business columnist for USA...
All iOS White Papers |