Hewlett-Packard TouchPad tablet turned out to be last year’s biggest flop, although it was one of the most closely watched gadgets
TouchPad was supposed to come out into the market as a strong competitor for Apple’s iPad; however, weak sales and other consequences resulted in its lasting for just 7 weeks before HP killed it. Analysts have come up with a long list of reasons behind its failure, but people involved in its creation say it hardly had a chance to survive or fight in this massive tablet market.
It is consisted of a software known as WebOS, which is an operational system developed on the same technology many web browsers have used. It guaranteed to be more open and flexible as compared to Apple’s strictly controlled iOS software. It also promised to be more attractive than Google’s Android system. For using such software in TouchPad, HP hired Palm, the producer of WebOS in 2010 for 1.2 billion USD. WebOS has always been regarded as a toxic device due to the method it was built on. There was a very little hope for it since its origination, as it had deep flaws.
“Palm was ahead of its time in trying to build a phone software platform using Web technology, and we just weren’t able to execute such an ambitious and breakthrough design,” said Senior Director of Palm, Paul Mercer. “Perhaps it never could have been executed because the technology wasn’t there yet.”
This WebOS story also highlights the fact that how difficult it is to compete in a market where Google and Apple has a firm hold over mobile operating systems. These two companies have a big share over market and loyalty of several apps developers. There are many other companies who have got Android for their tablets and phones, and this result in their strong bonding with Google. HP could have a direct relationship with users by controlling both software and hardware, and it is only possible by owning WebOS.
Mercer is known for his remarkable design contributions to several Apple’s products and Palm hired him. After an internal debate, it was decided by company to have WebOS relied on WebKit, which is an open-source engine for browsers to display web pages. According to Mercer it was a blunder as it prevented apps from running fast.
In this regard a WebOS’s former member of app development team stated that the basic problem was company’s inability to place it over that podium where it could direct huge number of audiences and their loyalty. He further claimed that there were neither expert engineers nor right leaders to fulfill the task appropriately. From beginning till the end, it was developed in 9 months and company took advantage of shortcuts which resulted in grave flaws, said that person.