Let’s just put it out there. How is HP’s TouchPad going to rise above the rest in this maelstrom tablet market? If you look at the different strategies available to HP, the choices are few. They could take a page out of RIM’s Playbook and tightly couple the TouchPad to WebOS phones, but this limits their appeal to loyal Palm customers, an unfortunately shrinking population. The other potential is to pull from Apple’s fruit basket and provide an experience so compelling that people will be drawn into the WebOS ecosystem. After all, this is how Apple won hearts and minds with the iPod. People actually purchased Macs based on their iPod experience.
So how can HP use the TouchPad as a gateway drug into the WebOS ecosystem? Phil McKinney has been touting that the TouchPad will be transformative for the enterprise. Based on our data here at Argus Insights, they may have a chance. As people discuss their tablet usage, only the Playbook and the occasional Windows 7 Tablets evoke notions of “professional” use. Notice below how the topic of “work” compares across usage modes for tablet users.
Just yesterday I presented at the Northern California Association for Strategic Planning June meeting with the punch line of what HP needs to provide with the TouchPad experience in order to pull ahead of the fray…
The TouchPad has to be playfully serious
Even the enterprise-focused Playbook has web surfing as its most mentioned use
case with games mentioned above professional usage. Tablets mimic our smartphones more than our laptops from that point of view. The need for an Angry Birds fix has extended to larger Tablet screens. As such the TouchPad has to enable users to work hard and play harder!
The Surfing Experience must mimic the laptop, not the smartphone
iPad users continue to lambast Apple for the lack of Flash support on the iOS browser. (Trust me, we have the evidence. Just ask!) Given the larger screen of tablets, user expectations are shaped by their laptop usage more than their smartphone. One of the key marketing features being touted by Android tablets is their Flash support. Tablet users expect that browsing the web on a tablet should look like, well, the web, not some gossamer threads of the web viewed through the peephole of the smartphone screen.
Plan for multiple users. Tablet’s aren’t personal
Unlike laptops and smartphones, tablets are increasingly becoming group computing devices. “Hey dear, toss me the iPad. I want to look something up real fast.” “Mom, can Candice and I play Angry Birds on your Iconia?” HP has the opportunity to add personas to the TouchPad so that the device tailors its experience to the user who happens to hold it. This could be a huge source of delight for families if they also improve the stickiness of the WebOS experience as HP seeks to win over consumers.
The TouchPad will determine if HP + Palm > Apple. We all are watching with baited breath to see if the TouchPad shows up in our homes or on Woot.com.*
*At Argus Insights we view Woot.com and other deal-a-day sites to indicate whether or not a particular device has “Jumped the shark.” Argus Insights does not endorse any third-party products or services.