The HP webOS event was a complete disaster leaving me questioning HP’s integrity. Am I shocked that product release dates and pricing wasn’t announced? No. However, I thought HP would at least make it look like they were interested in making webOS into something great.
1) The actual unveiling presentation was very difficult to watch demonstrating no clear understanding of who this presentation was intended for. Consumers, the press, developers? There was so much information packed into 2 hours, I don’t even know if there were good things announced. Imagine if Apple introduced the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad, along with iOS, in 2 hours. It just doesn’t work. There were definitely neat aspects of webOS, but they simply were overmatched by the negative aspects of the presentation. It’s a shame.
2) The products were not great. Hardware was sighted as a major downfall of the Palm Pre. To my surprise, HP webOS hardware was nothing to write home about. I really thought HP would use some Palm resources to come up with great hardware. (ok, I might have been fooling myself to ever think that). As demonstrated by iPhone and iPad, hardware is important. Why include a slide out keyboard on the Palm Pre 3? Why even make the Veer? There is no good reason the Veer should have been on that stage. It is irresponsible. If HP doesn’t know who should use the Veer, how would consumers figure it out? The TouchPad was essential an iPad clone. I am not sure if that was HP’s intention to maybe confuse consumers, but it was just bad.
3) I am left questioning HP’s overall direction. The webOS event seemed like HP gave this division a few million bucks and told them to go do something. HP’s CEO wasn’t even on stage. I didn’t expect him to demo the units, but at least show the world that top brass was fully behind webOS. In reality, HP is half-assing webOS due to fears that other strategic partners (like Microsoft) would begin to worry about HP’s commitment. HP mentioned they wanted to expand webOS into other things, but for now, it is just a lot of thinking in the clouds.
HP wants to be like Apple. Control hardware and software. HP’s webOS event made it look like they just don’t want to put the same amount of effort and attention to detail that Apple routinely gives their products.