HP announced this week that it’s not going to sell Web OS–the operating system it bought the remnants of Palm to get–and plans to open-source the platform, as well as re-introduce tablets based on it sometime in the distant future.
The move isn’t guaranteed to work, but I think it’s a shrewd move.
At full price ($499 for the 16 GB model and $599 for the 32 GB model) the HP Touchpad was a colossal flop. Like AT&T’s first PC clones of the mid 1980s, it was a me-too product at a me-too price that wasn’t quite as good as the product it was imitating. So, basically, there was no reason to buy it.
At closeout prices, it became an Internet sensation. The few web sites that have it in stock can’t handle the traffic they’re getting. At $99 and $149, it’s selling like the Nintendo Wii in its glory days.
And I think there’s a significant parallel there that highlights the missed opportunity.
HP figured out what to do with all those unsold tablets. Friday they dropped the price in Canada to $99 and $149, depending on the memory. And this weekend, they’re doing the same in the States.
They’re underpowered and they’re orphans, but at that price, I’ll bet they’ll sell.
The Register reports that Lenovo is gloating over its purchase of IBM’s PC division and its turnaround efforts, while IBM doesn’t regret pulling out, at all, even going so far as to call the PC dead. Who’s right?
Lenovo. Though IBM was right to get out–but the PC is only as dead as the television. Old media doesn’t go away quickly. Radio was supposed to make newspapers go away, and it’s only now, 90 years later, that newsprint is hurting. The old stuff adapts and evolves and finds new uses. Some people argue that if newspapers were managed better, they wouldn’t be hurting, but that’s a different issue. Let’s talk IBM PCs.
And speaking of duds, it looks like HP has one on their hands in their Web OS-based tablets.
Best Buy has about a quarter-million unsold tablets in their warehouse and has only managed to sell 25,000 of them. And when Woot ran a special on them, selling them for $120 off, they sold a whopping 612 of them.
And now it looks like HP is just going to discontinue Web OS altogether.
I was shocked to read today that Google went out and plunked down $12.5 billion for Motorola. I’m sure that other Android phone makers aren’t exactly happy about it–it means Google is going to be competing with them, unless Google just bought Motorola for patents–but I don’t really see how Google had much choice.
Google risks alienating its partners, but…. More on that in a minute.
I keep reading stuff about Windows and ARM and, well, I think people just aren’t remembering history.
I’m not saying that Windows 8 on ARM will save the world, or even change it substantially. It probably won’t, since Microsoft tends not to get things right the first time. But will I automatically write off the project? No. It could prove useful for something other than what it was originally intended. That happens a lot.
But I’m more interested in clearing up the misinformation than in trying to predict the future.