Since we got our first iPad on April 3rd, 2010, we have not been shy about our thoughts on the chances of other tablets going up against Apple. Today, HP announced that they are killing their WebOS platform, cancelling the TouchPad, and discontinuing the smartphone line. We can’t say we didn’t see it coming, we just didn’t see it coming so quickly. However, good for HP. Don’t dump good money after bad. If this was still 2000 and companies were flushed with cash, products like the TouchPad would have been kept on life support for another 18 months before they finally pulled the plug.
The HP TouchPad has been on the market for less than two months, but it was clear to the sales channels that it was pretty much a complete failure after the first month. Best Buy has taken delivery of 270,000 TouchPads and has so far managed to sell only 25,000 (even THAT figure might be generous). The same story is repeated at all of the big box stores (Wal-Mart, Micro Center, Fry’s, etc…). The numbers didn’t budge even with the last ditch effort of a $100 discount off the $500 list price. Shutting it down now was the fiscally responsible thing to do. Bummer for the early TouchPad adopters, but good news for HP shareholders.
Where did HP go wrong? The hardware was competitive. One would expect that from HP as they ARE a hardware company. They know how to put things together and they do it REALLY well. WebOS was good, but it wasn’t great. HP is NOT a software company and that is, and will be, the same issue for EVERY tablet maker out there. We said it beforeand we’ll say it again…creating good software is hard, creating great software is crazy hard. Let’s be clear, this HP product didn’t fail because it wasn’t good enough technically. It failed because it wasn’t phenomenally better than the iPad. At this stage of the game, if a new tablet is not far superior to the iPad in some way (price, features, etc…)…it is pretty much DOA. Sorry Toshiba…your tablet is next.