Hp, after the acquisition of Palm, were silent for a long time until launching the already planned, already designed Palm pre 2, or rather the Hp Pre 2. The Pre 2 was a failure inspite of lukewarm media response, in front of the iPhone and the ever burgeoning range of Android Super phones with huge displays and screaming fast hardware. Hp had been silent again, until the 9th of February, that is yesterday, they showed off some new hardware in all sizes, small, medium and big. The event was named “Think Beyond” which was in tandem with Apple’s yesteryear slogan “Think Different”.Read on to find more about these devices and OTHER stuff 😉 Before that, have a demo of some WebOS action :
Lets “think small” first , the first Hp WebOS phone is called Hp Veer. Its a mini Palm pre.
Specs you would be interested in : 2.6″ (320×400) display, 5 mp fixed focus camera, 8 GB of internal storage,800 Mhz Qualcomm CPU and has all the sensory goodness. It runs WebOS 2.2.
The Next device they launched is the big successor to the Pre heritage, the Hp Pre 3.
Specs you would wanna spread around : 3.6″ WVGA(800×480)display,5 mp autofocus cam with LED flash and 720p video,front facing camera, 1.4 Ghz Qualcomm CPU with 512 MB ram,8 gb and 16gb variants available,Runs webOS 2.2 with mobile wifi Hotspot functionality.
Both the above phones are HSPA+ ready and will launch during Summer of 2011. Now it’s time for us to “Think Big” , Hp has launched their first WebOS tablet, the TouchPad.
Some droolworthy specs : 9.7 “(1024×768)Display,front facing 1.3 mp cam,1.2 Ghz Dual core Qualcomm CPU,1 GB of RAM, 16 GB/32 GB variants available, Stereo speakers and all sensors (gyro included).
My take on all these Devices :
Veer, a small cute , decent specced mid range phone. Qwerty keyboard will be hard to type. Easily becomes the most affordable webOS device. Hate to see it having the same design as the Pre range. Final words, good entry into the middle range.
Pre 3, finally ! after a long time of wait and begging, they managed to put a high res, bigger display so that we can enjoy WebOS like it is meant to be on a flagship. Features one of the firsts, that is the CPU, 1.4 Ghz of power and surely, the phone must be snappy to use.Good to see Hp rounding up the specs of Pre nicely.overall a nice phone, but depends on the carrier pricing and worldwide distribution for success.
Now coming to the big launch, the TouchPad, it is directly pitched against the iPad , toe-to-toe, i mean look at the similarities, same display size, same resolution, almost similar looks, but however the OS is the real difference here, from the videos, i am very impressed with the interface, which is like a larger version of the phone software, but there are these very neat tweaks for suiting the screen real estate, just like the iPad, or even better, cos WebOS is better in features than iOS, multitasking and all.Adobe Flash runs great and snappy on this tablet and hence a full browser functionality is promised. I am very excited about the TouchPad, mainly because of a very interesting feature, Synergy with other WebOS devices, Touchpad has a feature called Touch-to-share using the touchstone to connect with other devices like the Pre3, how cool is that ? Transfer files, read messages, make calls, all using the tablet , BUT using actually the WebOS device.if you are wondering what touchstone is,it’s a wireless charging device, now being used for all sorts of communication too.
My Gripes : Even though the TouchPad is impressive, it will launch only in Summer,2011 like the two phones and would have to face a huge army of Android Honeycomb tablets and the rumored iPad 2. So, it may be tough for it to perform that well in the start. And the WebOS ecosystem is pretty mature for now, they have brought in some big companies like Amazon,Skype.. etc to build Apps for them but comparing the iPad’s ecosystem, WebOS is an infant. Ecosystem is not only apps, but also the PC integration, sync, in which indefinitely iTunes is the king( although very constraining ). Hp would have to compete really hard to prove people they are better in these things and bring apt solutions.
Now, my favorite part of the Story, INDIA. What’s in it for us ? Hp is a very big brand worldwide and has unmatched distribution channels. It is very big in India too. Has a very visible brand image as a PC/Printer manufacturer, so they can leverage that very well here. Let’s take a look at other manufacturers and their tablets.
Apple iPad : Big brand image, but bought only by the folks who frequently travel to the states. They ignored India for like an year and finally are selling it here since January 28th. Eventhough they are by far the leading manufacturer of tablets, we have got it here 1 year late, why ? Simple, their distribution is too weak to handle big economies.Price starting from 27,900 Rs/-
Motorola Xoom : Undoubtedly,the best full featured tablet that is on every geek’s wishlist now. Let’s take a look at Motorola’s phones in India first, pathetic sales, no media coverage, no brand value, no support channels, So you may as well rule out the Xoom launching here in the near future. Also, Motorola is carrier-locking the product for Verizon initially.So, It will take time for unlocked product, and also for reaching the shores of India, it may take more than 6 months.Will launch at 799$ = 40k nearly.
You know, Motorola is a phone company and Apple is more of a premium product manufacturer, let’s take an example of a legacy PC manufacturer trying to sell here in India.
Dell Streak : Dell is nearly equivalent to Hp in Indian soil , regarding the PC business, has as much brand recognition. They have launched, some time ago their tablet wannabe , the Streak here. We all know how that went. It was a phone/tablet hybrid running the Android OS which was not really optimized for tablet experience and i regard 5″ and 7″ not fit enough to be tablets, so i will not include the Galaxy Tab in my discussion. What i am trying to point out is, even though you may have stellar support and distribution channels, you really have to get us interested in buying your products.
Now, Hp has brought us these devices, will they sell them here ? I am sure they have one of the best Distribution channels and support channels here, in India. Also, pretty good marketing they have done for their PC/Printer range. They can clearly market Veer as a mid end smartphone, by pricing it right, market Pre 3 by comparing it to iPhone and, market the TouchPad as a portable computer alternative, hence differentiating from their Laptop/Netbook Range.They have the brains and the brawns to do that. But will they ? The Indian market is not even mature for Smartphones, let alone Tablets. But this is hugely due to ignorance and also, less of marketing for not making the people aware. The media can play a huge role in converting us, a featurephone nation into a smartcomputing nation. And Hp has the strengths to do the exact same thing.
So, Can India be interested in Hp’s WebOS devices ? Will they sell here or ignore our market just like others ?