A little over a year ago, I was fairly certain that the acquisition of Palm by HP would be a boon for new products that HP could use to match the success of Apple’s iOS and the explosion of Android. My own extensive Palm experience combined with my friends’ experience with WebOS products and anecdotal accounts in the media seemed to indicate that 1 + 1 in this case, could indeed equal 4. You had the #1 PC maker in the world (by market share- albeit showing some age), minting cash via its lucrative print cartridge sales, but deciding to go all-in on a software company acquisition that could if not reinvigorate, possibly spur revolutionary new HP products.
Then this: HP’s TouchPad to provide second rebate offer in a week. OUCH! First $50 off, now $100. When you read review terms like “buggy, slow, lack of apps” and you’re competing against something like the Apple tablet experience, that’s never a good thing. I recently tried the TouchPad at a big box office supply retailer, and I admit, I wasn’t wow’ed. But I wasn’t completely let down either. I thought the TouchPad was like a decent facsimile of something else I had used before. It appeared to have the basic look and feel I was used to, with slightly different icons, etc.
Maybe that’s the problem. Apple’s initial tablet product and the close second version iPad 2 have spoiled people to the point where, it almost doesn’t matter what HP does. If the product doesn’t have the wow factor of a slick iPad device or provide something extraordinarily different, then maybe the best other tablet PC makers can do is hope for a consumer response that isn’t too “degraded” from that of the original iPad.