From my discussion with key HP executives on this subject, they constantly re-enforce their commitment to this platform. HP’s plan is to bring WebOS to as many of their hardware platforms as possible. Beyond smart phones and tablets, this also includes printers, desktops, notebooks and anything else they think up in the future.
It will be that kind of commitment that is needed to generate software developer interest. Ultimately if HP can add to their App catalog the basics like the top games, news apps, social media apps, productivity apps and more, they have a real shot at a competitive platform.
Although this product could compete with Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android in consumer markets, HP is putting a significant focus on the enterprise. From the custom enterprise app stores, to underlying security layers and more, HP is using their significant weight in enterprise expertise and bringing it to WebOS. This means RIM is more the target than Apple or Google’s Android devices.
Ultimately we believe RIM is vulnerable. If HP keeps the pressure on RIM and continues to innovate, they have a great chance to take market share from RIM in the enterprise. The iPad has been slowly gaining traction in corporate accounts, as have Android devices to a lesser degree. WebOS, with HP’s weight behind it, is positioned well to have success with corporate accounts.
This does not mean that HP is not interested in consumer markets. I consider the user experience on the TouchPad to be a quality tablet experience. It simply needs more apps for consumers to be more competitive in this space.
This is where time is on HP’s side. The smart phone and tablet markets are growth categories for at least the next five years and it is still anybody’s game.