Jon Rubenstein, Senior Vice President and General Manager of HP's Palm Global Business Unit, sent out an internal email to HP staff over the weekend. He wanted to reach out to his employees to address a growing concern regarding HP TouchPad reviews.
The HP TouchPad was released on July 1, 2011, but reviews were allowed to go out a day early. While HP's first webOS tablet did score some points in various areas, the overall consensus was that the device is too slow and laggy, that there aren't enough apps available, and that the hardware is not up to par with the competition.
Rubenstein told his colleagues that OTA updates are on the way and will address a majority of complaints that are found in the aforementioned reviews. Furthermore, towards the end of the memo, he compared the criticisms of HP's webOS 3.0 to the ones Apple's Mac OS X received some 10 years ago. He argued that while Mac OS X had a poor start, it is doing very well now, and that webOS is in the same position now, meaning that it will do very well in the years to come.
HP's webOS strategy appears to be centered on leveraging its PC business to push webOS in mobile: both on smartphones and especially on tablets. It is way too soon to tell if this will work, but if webOS is going to succeed, another mobile OS will likely end up dying a slow death.
Pre Central has the full e-mail in question, which we've included below:
Today we bring the HP TouchPad and webOS 3.0 to the world. The HP team has achieved something extraordinary – especially when you consider that it's been just one year since our work on the TouchPad began in earnest. Today also marks the start of a new era for HP as our vision for connected mobility begins to take form – an ecosystem of services, applications and devices connected seamlessly by webOS.
If you've seen the recent TouchPad reviews you know that the industry understands HP's vision and sees the same potential in webOS as we do. David Pogue from the New York Times says "there are signs of greatness here." (I've included links to David's review and others below.) You've also seen that reviewers rightly note things we need to improve about the webOS experience. The good news is that most of the issues they cite are already known to us and will be addressed in short order by over-the-air software and app catalog updates. We still have work to do to make webOS the platform we know it can be, but remember…..it's a marathon, not a sprint.
In that spirit, Richard Kerris, head of worldwide developer relations for webOS, reminded me yesterday of the first reviews for a product introduced a little over ten years ago:
"…overall the software is sluggish"
"…there are no quality apps to use, so it won't last"
"…it's just not making sense…."
It's hard to believe these statements described MacOS X – a platform that would go on to change the landscape of Silicon Valley in ways that no one could have imagined.
The similarities to our situation are obvious, but there's also a big difference. Like David Pogue, our audiences get that webOS has the potential for greatness. And like me, they know that your hard work and passion, and the power of HP's commitment to webOS, will turn that potential into the real thing.