Designing a Tablet

As Tom Reestman said on The Small Wave, “This one’s hard to believe. HP would have the software and hardware groups less involved with each other? Sure, it’d still be an all-HP effort, but it seems this approach is more like every other tablet being made except RIM’s. HP has everything in-house, yet they’d build a wall between them? That’d be crazy. Is HP that crazy?”

It was reported:

HP’s approach would be in the reverse direction, according to the tips: the company would supposedly be transferring the development of the next TouchPad to its notebook division rather than rely on the former Palm team. The reasons weren’t clear, but the company was already in the early planning stages and setting the product direction.

A switch wouldn’t preclude the involvement of the former Palm team but would suggest that most of their involvement to webOS rather than the complete design, as they had in the past.

I see an even bigger issue at hand here. I was a huge fan of what HP was doing under Mark Hurd (sexual issues aside). However, this culture is one that isn’t confronting reality. Tablets are not laptops, and laptop designers will build a tablet like a laptop.

This is like Kodak when digital started to become popular, stuck it in the film division where it rotted away for a decade before they realized film really was going to die and invested in digital. In the meantime, companies such as Nikon, Canon, and even smaller less photo-centric companies built awesome digital cameras, making Kodak nearly irrelevant today.

HP did a smart thing by acquiring Palm – these guys think differently than what HP does. That’s not a knock on HP, they have their strengths, but it would be in their best interest to let Palm keep doing what they are, because they have the closest thing to an iPad competitor thusfar1.

  1. Assuming it actually launches []
March 8, 2011