In the span of a few weeks, the HP TouchPad went from a highly anticipated device with a sleek Apple-esque UI to a product that completely failed to pick up any traction with consumers. The TouchPads’ inability to actually sell, which can be attributed to subpar reviews and shoddy performance, prompted the PC giant to completely terminate the TouchPad and announce plans to potentially spin off its entire PC business.
Regarding the TouchPad’s performance issues, The Next Web writes that HP’s WebOS team knew that the TouchPad wasn’t up to snuff when they saw how the OS performed on Apple’s hardware.
HP’s WebOS team almost certainly had an idea that the company’s new tablet, the TouchPad, had very little chance of challenging Apple’s dominance in the tablet market, as the company’s webOS operating system was running “over twice as fast” on its rival’s iPad 2 tablet, a source close to the subject revealed to The Next Web.
Illustrating the degree of disarray within the company, sources also told The Next Web that the WebOS team was so disenchanted with the hardware its OS was running on that they didn’t even want the TouchPad and HP’s line of Pre smartphones to hit the market.
“The hardware reportedly stopped the team from innovating beyond certain points because it was slow and imposed constraints,” the report notes.
Google’s recent acquisition of Motorola is effectively an admission that a premium user experience is contingent upon software and hardware playing nice together. If the above report about WebOS running significantly faster on the iPad is in fact accurate, it goes to show just how important software and hardware optimization is. HP was clearly running both the hardware and software with the TouchPad, but actually meshing those two dynamics together is what truly separates the men from the boys.
Think about it – spec wise, the iPad 2 isn’t necessarily the fastest tablet out on the market. But because Apple can optimize the software for the hardware, it can take advantage of design efficiences that competitors simply can’t match.