Number One Plus: Can HP Tablets Take Down the iPad?

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HP’s TouchPad tablet is due out this summer and, speaking to the press recently, HP’s Eric Cador said, “In the tablet world, we’re going to become better than number one. We call it number one plus.”

That’s a direct shot at Apple’s iPad, though Cador didn’t specify a timeframe or explain how his company plans to take the top spot in the tablet race.

If you think about it, though, HP is putting the building blocks in place to set up a tablet platform that looks an awful lot like what Apple’s done with the iPad. HP owns the software—WebOS—and controls the hardware.

The company also has a big presence in both the consumer and corporate worlds, which theoretically gives it an edge. But HP will need a lot of pieces to fall into place and it’ll have to overcome Apple’s big head start—not to mention that Google- and BlackBerry-backed tablets will have a stronger presence in the marketplace by the time the TouchPad hits retail.

HP will face the same chicken-or-the-egg challenge posed to any new tablet platform: How do you get people to buy your tablet if it doesn’t have a heaping helping of high-quality apps, and how do you get developers to make apps for your tablet if nobody’s buying it yet?

You could price the hardware low enough to get people in the door, like Asus and Acer are doing with their Android tablets ($400 and $450, respectively) but early reports seem to indicate that HP’s TouchPad tablet will be priced in line with the iPad. So that leaves hardware design and software features.

The hardware looks relatively standard compared to other tablets, so expect HP to highlight its WebOS software and features like the fact that you’ll be able to run WebOS on HP computers, and extras like the rumored music service that’ll apparently pre-download music it thinks you’ll like.

The point is that, yes, HP tablets could eventually beat the iPad—as could any other tablets. The question is: How long would it take?

(via The Telegraph)