Desperate for the lion's share of the tablet market, HP's supposedly planning its own seven-inch tablet to steal some thunder off Apple's hit iPad 2. Can a smaller WebOS tablet see success where the recently launched TouchPad has seen a permanent $100 drop in price?
The smaller WebOS-powered tablet is making the rounds under the name "TouchPad Go" and would likely butt heads directly with BlackBerry's PlayBook, the Nook Color and any other seven-inch tablet at the local Best Buy.
With a smaller screen, HP's really got no choice but to keep the tablet cheap too. If the TouchPad is now $400, then the TouchPad Go has to be $300 or under. A $300 price would undercut the PlayBook by $200 and make even a poor man's Android tablet look like complete utter garbage. It would also make the iPad 2's lowest $500 model look a little expensive.
We like WebOS. It's a slick OS built for multitasking, much like the PlayBook's QNX OS, but the TouchPad itself hasn't really exploded on the market as HP would have liked. Sure, it has some nice Beats-branded speakers (those guys are working with HTC now too), but in terms of build, it's a plastic rip off of the first-gen iPad — a last generation device that's no longer the golden bar tablets need to measure up to.
The iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9/10.1 are the new standard.
And of course WebOS doesn't have quite the plethora of apps that the iOS or even Android Marketplace have. Things are changing within HP, though. After buying Palm and its WebOS assets, HP's rebuilding itself to be more like Apple, so it can control both the hardware and software, which will lead to more fine-tuned products.
I'm going to give HP the benefit of the doubt that it can sell a few more TouchPad Go tablets and significantly more than what RIM has with the PlayBook. HP has the power to do it, it just needs better execution to do so. Blast the TouchPad Go all over the place. College kids will eat it because it's the perfect sized device for reading. Go ask any Nook, Kindle or PlayBook reader. Hell, even I prefer reading on the smaller PlayBook than on an iPad.
Steve Jobs might have said a seven-inch tablet is junk, but you know what? It's actually not, and there's a sizable chunk of consumers who want a smaller tablet. They're just waiting for one that doesn't suck.