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HP Drops Price Again For Its WebOS-Based iPad Challenger 296

Posted by timothy
from the must-be-that-damn-apple-tax-at-work dept.
oxide7 writes with this selection from IBT: "Hewlett Packard reduced the price of its TouchPad tablet computer again, highlighting the uphill battle manufacturers will need to overcome as they go head-to-head against the dominant Apple iPad line of tablets. Much of a tablet's success is based on the ecosystem of apps that is available to the end-user. HP is far behind Apple or even the No.2 tablet platform, Google's Android."
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HP Drops Price Again For Its WebOS-Based iPad Challenger

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  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Sunday August 07, 2011 @09:34AM (#37013944) Homepage

    "I'll buy that for a dollar!"

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      You joke but I think you just hit the nail square on the head on how to unseat the iPad. What they need to do is cook up a reasonably performing (I'd say 1.2Ghz ARM single with 512Mb of RAM and a couple of Gb of storage) pad and sell it in the $150 range, probably with Android.

      The thing I've noticed is perfect will nearly always be defeated by "good enough" if that good enough is substantially cheaper. I'd say the sweet spot for a mass market pad would be right on or as close to $150 as you can get and then

      • by amiga3D (567632)

        No problem, all they have to do to compete is sell a 1+ ghz dual core equipped tablet with retina class graphics and plenty of storage and ram for $150. Easy. All it takes is bleeding off a few billion dollars. The only company I know of that does that just to crack open a new market is MicroSoft. I can't see anyone else throwing tons of money into a hole on the chance that when they start giving tablets away that Apple wont just jump to a new tablet that changes the game all over leaving them with bill

  • momentum (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sunfly (1248694) on Sunday August 07, 2011 @09:35AM (#37013952)

    There was a time many tech users and writers were excited about WebOS. I have read many reviews claiming it was possibly the best OS, compared to iOS and Android at the time.

    But HP has taken an extremely long time to ship anything running WebOS. They have a tablet out, but still have not shipped a phone with competitive hardware.

    They lost their momentum......

    • Even worse, they've lost mindshare among developers.

      Anecdotal example, but my missus saw a tablet ad last night (RIM Playbook, IIRC), and asked about getting one. I replied that we could, but it doesn't have a lot of the games and apps she wants just yet (though they probably will). Her response was pretty instructive about impulse buying: "Well, tell me which ones have them, and we'll get one of those instead."

      I talked her out of it (her laptop is less than a year old, FFS...)

    • The Curse of HP (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      anything they touch turns to sand.
      They could have written the book on 'How to take over a profitable business and destroy it' or 'Business Destruction for Dummies'.

      I should know, having worked for them for 20+ years and seen it all happen.
      Now I'm an HP Pensioner my opinion of them is that they couldn't make a decent product to save themselves.
      It is a shame really. Once upon a time the was a lot of really good talent there but the Dilbert PHB says everything you need to know about HP management,
      Carly was kno

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Sunday August 07, 2011 @09:39AM (#37013974) Journal

    Until there is a robust application ecosystem for the tablet, it will remain niche. Who cares if you save $100, but you can't do anything fun with it? Hundreds of apps - even if they're all good - means very little competition on pricing and features, and lots of black market segments (insert fart app joke here). It the reason I skipped the android tablets this past spring - a dearth of full screen apps.

    • by oakgrove (845019)
      I am posting this from my Xoom right now which has 101 apps installed on it all but one of run full screen. incidentally, I'm presently being dunned to update to 3.2 so that last lagard app will also run fullscreen. I've had this thing since February and it is the extreme exception for something not to run fullscreen. Whwn i see that, I chuckle and promptly uninstall.
  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Sunday August 07, 2011 @09:39AM (#37013982) Homepage

    Folks, if you want to beat iXYZ (of which I'm not a fanboi):

    1. You have to have better hardware
    2. A lower price
    3. Or both (best)

    Otherwise, why would anyone move to your platform?

    That said, WebOS [precentral.net] is an awesome open-sourceish platform. It looks great too, and it's easy to make apps.

    I hope it gains traction to preserve some sanity in the marketplace and prevent a total Steve Jobs monopoly.

    I see it as a partner, and not enemy of Android in this endeavor.

    • 1. You have to have better hardware 2. A lower price 3. Or both (best)

      Some Android tablets already have both. Seems like some items are missing on that list.

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday August 07, 2011 @09:59AM (#37014132) Journal

        Care to give some examples? And when you say 'better hardware', remember that physical dimensions are one of the most important aspects of the hardware to a typical user, while CPU power is significantly less important. So, your mission (should you choose to accept it) name one Android tablet that:

        • Is 8.8 mm or less deep.
        • Has a 1024x768 display.
        • Has a 10 hour battery life.
        • Retails for under $499.

        Last time I checked, there were no Android tablets that even met the first requirement, and the ones that matched the second two failed the third. I don't really see the point of this kind of device, so I've not looked very closely, but I have read comments from Samsung about how difficult it was to compete with Apple because they could get the components significantly cheaper due to their large volumes (purchasing volumes, that is, not the girth of their users).

        • by leonbev (111395)

          How many people really care about how thin their tablets are? I know that I don't, and I'm an iPad owner. It's not like we're going to be sticking these things in our pockets and that extra 2 mm of case depth is going to put a crease in our pants pockets.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by SomePgmr (2021234)
            I don't have any research on this that I can cite, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say, "If Apple cares about this metric, a LOT, it's probably for a good reason."
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by CrackedButter (646746)

            My mum techie mum just ditched her iMac for an iPad. I'd say she cares about thinness. Last night a friend of mine got an iPad for her birthday, she loves how thin it is! Two examples though anecdotal.

            • Anyone who grew up on computers with 64k of memory or less that doesn't marvel at the sheer engineering that goes into an iPad has no soul. The thing still blows my mind everyday.

          • by dloose (900754)
            I think a lot of people care about thickness, but more probably care about weight. Of course, the two are pretty closely related.
          • How many people really care about how thin their tablets are?

            How many people plan on carrying their tablet around in a bag with something else?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Duradin (1261418)

            "How many people really care about how thin their tablets are?"

            Anecdote time. When I got my first notebook I thought "Cool, I can take this with me anywhere!" before I tried taking it everywhere. It didn't take too long before it just sat on my desk with the occasional weekend trip.

            Then each successive notebook got smaller and lighter and a repeat performance of the above happened. Even including my 2006 MBP, the thinnest and lightest notebook I've had. (Yes, I have a netbook. It was cool for a bit and then

        • by hedwards (940851)

          So, people are going to buy a tablet that's 8.7mm deep, but when somebody sees an 8.9mm deep table, it's suddenly not buyable? I've got a Nook which is 13.1mm deep and it's hardly a ridiculously huge device. A large part of why it's that deep is because it has a user replaceable battery and microSD slot.

          I realize that there's a lot of Apple cultists that believe that smaller is better and that you can't get too small, but at some point reality has to overpower the famous Steve Jobs distortion field.

          • The desire for thinner tablets is a Steve Jobs creation...?

            When we're talking about Reality Distortion, we are talking about Apple fans, right? Every day we go without tragic Apple news it gets harder and harder to tell.

            • by dloose (900754)

              The desire for thinner tablets is a Steve Jobs creation...?

              So THAT'S why he's lost so much weight!!

        • The Acer Iconia A500 is too fat (13.3mm) and weighs more than an iPad, but otherwise:
          1280x800 display
          10 hour battery life
          $399.99 at Staples

          It also has:
          hdmi 1080p / Dolby Mobile output
          full-size USB so you can hook up standard keyboards, hard drives, etc.
          microSD card slot
          wifi, bluetooth, dual core, cameras, etc, etc.

          • At 13.3mm, it's 50% thicker than the iPad, and I also question your price slightly - from Acer's web site it's £427, which is about $700, and that's with £100 off the RRP, so the price you quote is half the price Acer quotes, and a lot more than the iPad. Staples' web site refuses to give me a price without entering a US Zip code, so I can't tell if it's really that price.

            So, 50% thicker, and the UK price is over 50% more than the iPad, although the display does seem nicer. If I had a use for

        • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 [mobilecityonline.com]:
          Dimensions: 256.6 x 172.9 x 8.6 mm
          Size: 800 x 1280 pixels, 10.1 inches
          Battery: around 10 hours [engadget.com]
          Price: $499
          So for the same price, and the expectation that the software catalog is going to expand, you get a better hardware, with an OS designed from the ground up for tablets, with tablet-only semantics. Personally, as a dev, I can't wait to get my hand in one of these.
      • Here are at least some of the missing requirements, that Android fails (badly to very badly) 4) You have to have some basic level of quality control 5) You have to at least try to prevent developers from exploiting users 6) You have to have some level of consistency
        • by hedwards (940851)

          So, walled garden good, consumer freedom bad?

          What Apply fanbois tend to forget is that you shouldn't have to jail break your devices in order to install what you want. Unfortunately the consequence of that is that you have to be mindful of what you install.

          • by paiute (550198)

            So, walled garden good, consumer freedom bad?

            What Apply fanbois tend to forget is that you shouldn't have to jail break your devices in order to install what you want. Unfortunately the consequence of that is that you have to be mindful of what you install.

            And what Android/HP/etc fanbois tend to forget is that the vast majority of tablet customers don't even know what jailbreak means, let alone want to do it.

          • You really supported his point with that last line.

          • by Pieroxy (222434)

            Are we talking marketshare over here or our own preferences? Because all that you cite is well and good, but grandma doesn't give a shit.

            Consumer freedom is still there, and you can return your product, sell it used, buy another one. Heck, you can even not buy it.

            Are you going to say that most alarm clocks are bad because your OpenAlarmClock is the same but you can compile your kernel on it? Who gives a flying fuck about that? I buy an alarm clock to get woken up in the morning, not to compile linux on it.

            I

          • by dloose (900754)
            Can you at least spell "boy" with a y? Fanboi looks like the title of a Avril Lavigne song. Nobody deserves that. I get that you don't like fanboys, but they're human beings.
        • by oakgrove (845019)
          Posting from my Motorola Xoom.

          quality control

          Let's see, all aluminum chassis check, wide viewing angles check, high quality Honeycomb 3.2 check. Yes, there are niggles here and there but there are issues on iPad too.

          developers exploiting users

          Full disclosure of app permissions requests check. Official app store that weeds out problems as they are exposed check.

          consistency

          App navigation/menu button always in the same place check. Settings in the application always accessible from the same button check.

          As an owner of both a Xoom and an iPad, your arguments

          • Quality control....

            I think he means this sort of thing [arstechnica.com]. Yes, you can get a quality Android device (although I seem to recall Xoom's getting panned for being glitchy) but you don't necessarily GET a quality Android device.

            Yes, freedom of choice and all that. Wonderful thing. But at least some of us are talking about how the iPad is the tablet for that enormous (and apparently profitable) swath of Appliance People that wander blankly through malls and upscale stores through this great country of ours.

            Of co

      • While I agree there are Android tablets that have better hardware, and others that have lower price, but I haven't seen any that have both.

    • by netsavior (627338)
      Geeks care about better hardware, regular users (i.e. the actual profit base) don't give a shit. Regular users care about
      1) Brand recognition and reputation (Marketing)
      2) Application availability
      3) perceived ease of use
      4) Black turtlenecks
      5) Price, except when they can finance it over 2 years through a cellphone carrier.
      • by Compaqt (1758360)

        >Geeks care about better hardware,

        Alright, I'll give you that normal people don't care about abstract numbers.

        But I think they'll care that if Android device is flaky or slow due to a slow CPU or low memory.

      • by Duradin (1261418)

        "Geeks care about better hardware"

        Actually, I'd say they care more about better bullet points.

    • Apple have pretty much never had superior hardware when it comes to iPods, iPhones, and the iPad. No expandable storage being one of the main issues I have with them. What set these Apple devices apart was the improved interfaces (which yes for the iPhone/iPad involved hardware, but now everyone has capacitive touch).

      • now everyone has capacitive touch

        Everyone???? Uhhhh, no.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Android_devices#Tablet_computers [wikipedia.org]

        • I was exaggerating - I know there are still cheap resistive devices out there - but anyone who cares can get a capacitive phone or tablet at a very reasonable price, as long as they don't want the official Google branded app/Market. One of my co workers recently got a 10" advent tablet with capacitive touch and Android 2.2 for £190. Sure it isn't at the bleeding edge, but it does all that most people need, for less than half the price of an iPad. The only reason I went for an Android 3.x tablet was fo

          • (The Advent tablet has a dual core nVidia Tegra 2 processor for those that think it may be under powered.. I can't wait to see what will be available in a year :)

      • by dloose (900754)

        Expandable storage is a workaround for a product flaw. It's not a desirable feature. "Sorry, we couldn't make an affordable product with a reasonable amount of on-board storage. Why don't you fiddle around with these tiny little pieces of plastic instead."

    • by PNutts (199112)

      1. You have to have better hardware

      This is a recurring theme on /. and misses the point. Better hardware is irrelevant if all it can do is warm the lap of the target consumer. I doubt a large percentage of iPad owners fixate on / can tell you what's under the hood.

    • OK some of hp greps linux [printers and enterprise], but at a 'consumer level' its all windows.

      I use a lot of linux, but at a consumer level who buys hp computers for technical support. Can consumer support at hp do linux and windows ?

    • by hedwards (940851)

      That happens fairly often actually. The problem is that Apple has a really amazing marketing department. Which is why most folks bought iPods even though they were inferior on all three of those points to something at pretty much every point in their development.

      But, they became a status symbol and after that folks were willing to pay too much for too little. I mean for god's sake for the longest time you couldn't even replace your own battery even though the battery life was terrible.

      • You might be right initially about the marketing (any product in general), but the iPod is ten years old now, I'd say its standing on its own merits technically and on a ease of use basis.

    • right. software catalog, os features,, advertising, distribution, buzz, design... don't count at all !

    • "better hardware" is so vague it's useless: it could mean more powerful, cuter, more robust... or whatever, depending on what one's hardware tastes are.

  • lukewarm reviews criticizing the ... poor battery live

    Just how bad is it? Merely journalistic hyperbole where it runs about 5 minutes less than a ipad, or is it so bad you can't watch a full length movie on one charge?

    Much of a tablet's success is based on the ecosystem of apps that is available to the end-user.

    B.S. journalist doesn't know anything, just repeating what other journalists say. Every user I know spends 99.99% of their time in safari, mail, facebook app, or the video/music player. With an honorable mention of the kindle app.

    No one buys based on which platform has the most fart soundboard apps or the most "20 pictures of attractive women

    • B.S. journalist doesn't know anything, just repeating what other journalists say. Every user I know spends 99.99% of their time in safari, mail, facebook app, or the video/music player. With an honorable mention of the kindle app.

      Yay!!! Somebody finally gets it. You've succinctly explained Apple's success. See, it's not the shiny hardware; it's the nice stuff that comes preinstalled, no mucking about, that people are buying. Surprisingly enough, fewer iOS users are shallow hipsters with too much money than the average slashdotter is willing to admit.

      This is why many Apple fans don't mind the supposed lock-in, because what they are locked into works 99.99% of the time for them. Of course the App Store is just icing for those folks. I

    • by paimin (656338)
      The notion that 99.99% of iOS users are not downloading and using apps is laughable.
  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <{taiki} {at} {cox.net}> on Sunday August 07, 2011 @09:48AM (#37014064)

    Which is a damn shame, because WebOS is such a damn good mobile OS.

    I'm not sure if it's this price drop or the fact that it showed up on Woot for 20 bucks off a few days ago that really is the final bell for WebOS.

    • by cshark (673578)

      It is. I've been waiting to buy one.

      Personally, I really like the API they're using for WebOS.
      The whole thing is a Javascript toolkit, and it makes a lot of sense. Developing apps for it will be a piece of cake.

      You have the best Slashdot cig ever, by the way.

  • "Much of a tablet's success is based on the ecosystem of apps that is available to the end-user."

    It seems like the summary author needs to be reminded that this was precisely Apple's dilemma for decades, and to a degree still is with its desktop OS versus Windows.

    Personally I'm inclined to resist any browser-as-OS solution with every fiber of my being, just as I have been software subscriptions. The writing is on the wall: the browser-as-OS gambit is intended to warm people up to the notion of software in the "cloud", and software in the cloud will inevitably lead to subscriptions. Once the instructions no longer even execute on your hardware, you're a hostage.

    • The writing is on the wall: the browser-as-OS gambit is intended to warm people up to the notion of software in the "cloud", and software in the cloud will inevitably lead to subscriptions. Once the instructions no longer even execute on your hardware, you're a hostage.

      You have a point in general - the "trend" amongst the more scheming and greedy software (and many other) companies is definitely towards attempting to exact rent and ultimately to recreate the ole landed gentry/peasants dynamics.

      But on the

  • If WebKit would support textArea (SVG Tiny 1.2) [w3.org] the applications I write would work on any device using it. eg. They would scale to any screen size. As a result they would have more applications to list.

  • If software titles were platform independent then people wouldn't get locked in to a certain platform, and wouldn't care about buying what their friends have in order to have apps/games that talk to each other nicely. More people probably would be buying HP (or other) tablets if it weren't for this. Funny, because Apple originally wanted only web-clips and not native apps, it's the users and developers that were screaming for that. It's like they walked right into a cage and demanded for a padlock. Of c
    • If software titles were platform independent then people wouldn't get locked in to a certain platform, and wouldn't care about buying what their friends have in order to have apps/games that talk to each other nicely. More people probably would be buying HP (or other) tablets if it weren't for this.

      Apple still supports HTML5/Javascript apps and developers can make cross platform apps using this technology. Some do, but most don't see value in cross platform and are focused on developing something quickly.

      Funny, because Apple originally wanted only web-clips and not native apps...

      Apple originally championed HTML5/javascript as the only native development platform, but developers wanted a more full featured dev environment and toolset so Apple adapted their existing Xcode.

      Of course then devices probably could not run any apps locally.

      Why not? Apple has a very nice standard HTML and javascript engine on the phone and you don't need an exter

  • The obvious reason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toriver (11308) on Sunday August 07, 2011 @02:44PM (#37016374)

    Even this Slashdot thread quickly diverges into talking about the iPad. HP and the others struggle because not only fans of the iPad are constantly talking about it, but "enemies" of it, too. So the iPad becomes the de facto tablet.

Never ask two questions in a business letter. The reply will discuss the one you are least interested, and say nothing about the other.

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