HP’s TouchPad tablet hits stores tomorrow, and while the device is being compared to Apple’s iPad 2, an HP executive told The Loop that’s not its target market.
[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]In an interview with The Loop, Richard Kerris, HP’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations, said that HP is focused on more than just the TouchPad.
“It’s not just about the tablet,” said Kerris. “It’s about the OS, the ecosystem and connecting devices like phones, printers, tablets and computers together.”
Kerris explained that once you setup a webOS profile, it’s always with you. Calling webOS “a true cloud initiative that’s functioning today,” he said that webOS’ Synergy will seamlessly sync calendars, emails, photos and other files, across all of your webOS devices.
“These are the subtle things, but they matter so much to individuals,” said Kerris.
Of course, Apple’s iOS 5 and iCloud will have the same types of features when it’s released in the Fall, but for now, webOS has this functionality as part of its core. Apple is also making other changes that webOS already does. For instance, the initial setup of the device.
“We’re the tablet that when you take it out of the box it doesn’t ask you to connect to something to get started,” said Kerris, referring to the need to plug in an iPad to a computer.
However, the early reviews were not glowing for the TouchPad. Responding to the mixed bag of reviews, Kerris said that the things mentioned will be fixed with over-the-air updates.
“As long as you have a plan, you’ll be fine,” said Kerris.
One of the advantages that Apple has over its competition is the developer community. However, Kerris said that interest in webOS has been high from new developers. In fact, he said, in the past 45 days more than 400 developers have attended one or two-day webOS workshops in California. Kerris noted that the workshops are already booked over the summer.
HP acknowledged Apple’s dominance in the tablet market, but said Apple wasn’t its target with the TouchPad.
“We think there’s a better opportunity for us to go after the enterprise space and those consumers that use PCs,” said Kerris. “This market is in it’s infancy and there is plenty of room for both of us to grow.”
HP’s views are totally different than most of its competition. From Android tablets to RIM’s PlayBook, tablet makers have entered the market with the intention of dethroning Apple.
HP seems to have a saner view of the situation.
“We think the world of Apple and have the utmost respect for their products,” said Kerris. “It would be ignorant for us to say that we are going to take it [the market] away from Apple.”
Of course, the another advantage that Apple has over its competition is iTunes. The integration of music, TV shows, movies, apps, books and other media gives Apple a lead in the market when attracting new buyers. But maybe not for long.
HP said they would also have stores that offer many of these media options to its customers.
If there is one thing that was clear speaking with Kerris it was that HP is focused on more than just launch day. They have a plan.
The company’s plan doesn’t just include the TouchPad, but will integrate printers, phones, computers and other devices, all running webOS. This will be the core of HP’s strategy going forward.
With a growing developer network and a high volume of shipping products, HP is looking towards 2012, 2013 and beyond, not at tomorrow or next week. Many companies, including RIM have already proven that short term goals don’t work, so it will be interesting to see how HP’s works.
While I haven’t used webOS 3.0, I have used older versions of the OS and liked it. This, in addition to its long term strategy, should be enough to give HP a strong position in market.