Peter Friese

Developer Advocate / Mobile Developer / Public Speaker

Three Reasons Why I Think the HP TouchPad Will Rock the Tablet Market

| Comments

Yesterday, HP introduced the Touchpad, an iPad-like tablet device that is programmed with web technologies. While this certainly isn’t the first attempt of a vendor to compete with Apple on the tablet market, I am convinced the TouchPad is a true challenger to the iPad. There are three reasons why the TouchPad might be a real contender: the programming environment, the manufacturing process and security.

HP is definitely doing something right. Never before has one single Tablet thrilled the interwebs as much as the TouchPad – except for the iPad, of course. Even die-hard Apple fans are thrilled.

Here’s why I think HP’s TouchPad will score a considerable market share:

  1. It’s programmed with web technologies like HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Don’t get me wrong – the iPad can also be programmed with web technologies: when the iPhone was first released and no one but Apple was allowed to write native apps, Steve himself told everyone that “mobile web applications are the future”. And despite the fact Apple has opened it’s SDK and we can now program the iPad / iPhone in Objective-C, many developers are more interested in writing apps with web technologies. Tools like PhoneGap and Appcelerator try to alleviate this situation, basically allowing you to wrap web code in more or less tiny wrapper apps so your web apps can be submitted to the App Store. However, most apps written using web technologies do not feel the same as real native apps on the iOS platform. So why do I think the situation will be better on the TouchPad? Well, because the TouchPad has been built for running web-based apps! It has been optimized for it. Web apps look stunningly great on the TouchPad. Now, every web developer can download the webOS SDK and get started writing apps for the TouchPad. It’s a safe bet to assume there are more web developers out there than Objective-C developers, so it shouldn’t take long until we’ve got a similar amount of apps for the TouchPad as we’ve got for the iPad.

  2. The manufacturing process. HP has a very powerful production pipeline, capable of pumping out high volumes of devices. In Q4/2010, they shipped 17.6 million PCs (Apple sold 7.33 million iPads in the same quarter). So if they are serious about it, it should be easy for HP to both produce and distribute high volumes of TouchPads.

  3. Security. When it comes to enterprise computing, security becomes a vital feature of your product. CIOs need to make sure to not compromise their company’s security by introducing products and devices that have no proper support for security mechanisms. There have always been security concerns with respect to the iOS platform: for a long time, there hasn’t been a way to nuke a lost iOS device remotely. It wasn’t before iOS 4 that Apple introduced data protection APIs to secure data that apps store on the device. WebOS has several security features built in (not bolted on later) which make it rather attractive for enterprise computing right from the start.

It’s my firm belief that the release of the HP TouchPad is a milestone for the perception of personal computing in the long run. It looks great, we’ll see tons of great apps for it in no time and HP as a major computer vendor has the power to push it to the market.

Good-bye, PC.

Comments