The HP TouchPad was finally unveiled today in San Francisco. The hardware certainly looks good with a sleek design and a good feature set. WebOS comes with a few improvements and tweaks from the Palm Pre that makes the product a credible competitor in the already busy tablet market. HP also seem to have put a lot of effort into the application catalogue counting over 6 thousand apps in it’s store. There are also some interesting differentiators in the Touch Stone and the Touch To Share technology. Although there was no indication on pricing if I had to guess I would say in the 600 USD.
Abandoning the Palm brand, HP also introduced two smartphones the Pre Veer and the Pre3. The Veer joins into the “mini” trend that we have seen in Europe since last year but that has not hit the US market yet. We mentioned in our research, that if consumers are buying tablets they might be interesting in a smaller form factor smartphone that offers the same experience as the tablet but with a smaller footprint. The Pre3 is an improved Pre with a world-phone set up supporting HSPA and EVDO.
HP seems to be building on this ease of use for multiple device ownership. Although this is certainly a bonus it might also be something that comes naturally to consumers. As a consumer surely I want my smartphone and my tablet to run on the same OS so that I can leverage my apps, settings and content. That said, I think that HP is being smart at trying to sell this tie between devices as a differentiator rather than forcing users into it by creating a dependence from one product to another one. Synergy and Touch Stone allowing for cloud and wireless devices synch are certainly a differentiator.
HP has delivered on the first step of what will certainly be a long journey for them. To some extent, HP will have to be convincing that it can be a credible player in this market. Tablets are sexy, cutting edge devices that need a brand that consumers see as such. This is what HP need to work on by launching a strong marketing campaign and by leveraging it’s channel partners to build market presence quickly.
Adding WebOS to the PC is a very interesting move aimed at strengthening the ecosystem offering for developers and partners as well as locking consumers into an HP experience.
Gartner will be publishing an event note covering the announcements in more detail.
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