In the past few days, we've seen a lot of movement from HP. First they announced that their Operating System designed for tablets called WebOS will be put on hold and may be cancelled. The next day HP announced that the HP Touchpad didn't have a good sale report for the last month and they were killing it. HP allowed the retailers to sell the product at extremely low prices.
In the USA the price for the 16GB went from $499 to $99. The result was a massive rush to buy the product selling out all the remaining stock in a couple of hours. The same thing happened in different countries with few or no advertisement of the change in price.
Right now, it’s almost impossible to find the tablet at any store, and some of these tablets have already begun to appear on eBay at inflated prices (around $300). Overnight, this product has become THE gadget to own. Something that HP only could manage to do after killing it.
HP didn't offer any information about the stores being restocked or how long the reduced prices will be continuing, but if the heavy criticism about the device and the problems that users face with the OS caused the discontinuing of the tablet, the sudden success is giving HP new ideas.
HP is denying they plan to kill the OS, and they are expecting the feedback of the customers to enhance the platform.
In an interview Palm Inc., Senior Vice President Stephen DeWitt said that is also looking to apply the OS beyond consumer markets: “There are going to be appliances of so many different sizes and shapes in the future that are going to require a human interface for data.”
So in a couple of days, the WebOS operative system have become an instant hit with many new users that are discovering the OS and their applications:
The HP TouchPad
The TouchPad packs a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060 processor with a CPU clocked at 1.2GHz, Adreno 220 graphics, 1GB RAM along with 16/32GB storage capacity and 1.3MP front-facing camera. It comes with a two-cell rechargeable battery that gives you approximately 8 hours of web browsing over Wi-Fi. It has accelerometer Wi Fi and Bluetooth technology and works with ePrint printers to print wirelessly.
HP WebOS is a proprietary mobile operating system running on the Linux kernel, initially developed by Palm, which was later acquired by Hewlett-Packard.
The interface uses multi-touch gestures, and includes a virtual keyboard application. In order to manage multitasking, the interface uses “Cards” and the programs can be launched from the “Launcher” similar to the one in OS X, or the Quick Launch Bar in Windows 7.
The user changes between applications through a flicking gesture from left to right on the screen. And the applications are closed by flicking a "card" up—and "off"—the screen.
One of the most interesting features of the system is Synergy, a program that integrates information from many sources. You can add your accounts on Gmail, Yahoo, Facebook etc. to have all the sources in a single list. It even includes messages and SMS.
The program doesn't have a desktop sync client; instead it uses a cloud-based approach to have all your files and information available at all times.
HP Tablets arrives with some default software, and they have both in-house apps, and third-party software. The most notable of the default apps is a Web Browser just called Browser. Despite the fact that it’s not a big name, it’s a good browser for the mobile platform that runs both HTML5 and Flash.
While the App Store is not huge, you have access to some of the most classic apps for a mobile device. From Facebook and Twitter apps, to Angry Birds and Kindle, even a Dropbox-esque app with free access to 50 Gb and Quickoffice.
Rooting HP Tablet
A new gadget also means a new toy for hackers that try to use the device in a different way as it was intended. Now a group of developers announced the TouchDroid project that aims to bring Android to the TouchPad.
The HP Tablet is not rooted, and the first objective of the project is simply to make Android boot. Once Android 2.3 “Gingerbread” has been loaded into the device, the rest will arrive soon.
If they manage to do it, many users that managed to get a $99 tablet, will have a cheap tablet running a very good OS (something that the HP tablet is lacking as of this moment).
Although it’s not the best Tablet on the market, HP showed that sometimes it’s not the quality but the price that makes the product. A good price for a nice product can turn the tables and once enough people are buying the device, the inertia of the phenomenon can turn the WebOS into a new success. I don't think that we will be seeing $99 tablets soon, but who knows. If mobile carriers pitch in or the list of possible buyers go up, we will be seeing this price drop much more realistically.