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"Number One Plus" is Unrealistic. HP Should Shoot for Beating the PlayBook

May 23 2011, 5:19pm CDT | by , in News | Tablets

"Number One Plus" is Unrealistic. HP Should Shoot for Beating the PlayBook

Let's rein it back some, folks.

HP may think a little more of their upcoming tablet, the TouchPad than is entirely reasonable. The webOS tablet has seen a number of delays and still has no confirmed launch date. I had a chance to hold the tablet back in February at the Mobile World Congress and left very impressed.

The TouchPad is big, substantially larger than either the iPad 2 or the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Tab. This chunky package is somewhat offset by the added power of a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor. The tablet version of webOS is quite slick, and offers excellent multitasking and gesture-based controls similar to the PlayBook. It also has HP Beats audio, which make it a much more robust content platform than most tablets.

But a few neat tricks and a second gesture-based UI won't be enough to make the TouchPad stand out above the iPad. HP's European head Eric Cador has loudly stated his company's goal to become "number one plus one" in the tablet world.

Even with all of HP's marketing dollars behind it, I can't imagine the TouchPad striking enough of a chord with consumers that it beats the iPad. At this point, we might as well call that dream impossible. Any hope webOS tablets have is in steadily building a base of loyal users over the long haul. Impress us with a solid product and then follow up with something more streamlined. Build up a decent app selection and maybe- in a couple of generations, you'll have the market share to stand in the same room with Apple.

HP's real struggle right now is against the surprisingly successful PlayBook. A quarter-of-a-million units have been moved already, and the similarities between the two platforms mean there may not be room for both. Beating the PlayBook is certainly a more reasonable goal than taking down the iPad.

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