HP just reported that profits were up a solid 5 percent in the second quarter, but PC sales were down by the same amount. It looks like the iPad continues to cause consumers to delay upgrading their laptops, which means HP will need to knock it out of the park with its webOS-powered TouchPad to help offset some of these losses. The post-Palm webOS era hasn’t gotten off to a good start, though.
The tiny Veer 4G phone for AT&T received moslty lukewarm to negative reviews. However, the TouchPad tablet will be the company’s first product running webOS 3.0, which features a more elegant notification system, smarter universal search, redesigned music app, better Facebook integration with photos, and a keyboard with dedicated number row. The TouchPad will also let webOS phone owners exchange info with the tablet with a tap. But features alone won’t sell webOS or help HP over the long haul.The big question for HP is whether it can get more developers on board. There are only 7,000 apps available for webOS phones thus far, and we don’t know how many apps will be available at launch for the TouchPad. Hopefully, it will be more than the 60 or so options in the Android Market.
webOS is also important for HP because the company will pre-install it on every PC it sells in 2012 as a web app. So if HP hopes to make webOS a compelling differentiating feature for its notebooks come next year, it will have to do everything in its power to get consumers excited about the platform starting this summer.
HP’s laptop lineup remains strong compared to the competition, especially the Envy line and value-priced models like the Pavilion g6x. But consumers just aren’t that excited about traditional notebooks anymore, which puts a heck of a lot of pressure on webOS to shine.