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How HP’s TouchPad Can Avoid Tablet Purgatory

With the exception of RIM’s Playbook, every iPad 2 challenger has been greeted by consumers with a lack of interest (at least as far as Android tablets go).

Instead of taking cue’s from RIM (who didn’t go out of their way to challenge Apple), HP has decided to boast about TouchPad’s superiority over rivals, claiming that their tablet will not only be able to challenge iPad 2, but also beat Apple at their own game.

Although early reviews of the TouchPad have thus far been positive, HP will have to do more than match iPad 2 on price if they plan on stealing the gold away from Apple.

Flash Forward

TouchPad can not afford to launch with Flash still in beta mode (note: remember Motorola Xoom?).

First impressions amongst consumers can make or break a product, and the last thing HP needs is laughter from the masses over a horrible user experience.

Without Flash in near perfect form, consumers have no reason to choose TouchPad over iPad 2 (or even future Android tablets like Galaxy Tab 8.9).

If HP nails the Flash integration, they will be able to stand out from underneath iPad 2’s shadow, helping them to win loyalty (and new customers) when TouchPad 2 is revealed in 2012.

Premier Apps

Simply having flash enabled isn’t enough, as popular video destinations (like Hulu) may simply block webOS.

HP would be wise to work with companies like Hulu, Netflix, etc. in order to have native apps available at the day of launch and NOT “sometime in the future” (which was RIM’s mistake).

If Hulu and Netflix are too busy to build apps for TouchPad, HP should work with these companies to build “official ones” for them.

Note: This also applies to other apps like Twitter, WordPress, etc., although Netflix and Hulu are the two major ones needed.

Home Grown Apps

While HP should make every attempt to empower webOS developers, they would be wise to create a slew of home grown apps to help “fill in the gap” until third party developers can do better.

Examples would include video, image and audio editing apps, as well as office suite apps (in order to appeal to the corporate world).

Since home grown apps can make developers nervous, HP should offer them to consumers for a fee (say $5), which will allow developers to compete by offering superior apps at a discount.

Note: Apple did something similar by launching iMovie, as well as various office suite products.

Battery Life

No matter how many more features TouchPad has when compared against iPad 2, if the battery life is horrible (as in below 3 hours), consumers are going to be asking for a refund.

Although it’s skeptical that HP can match iPad 2’s 10 hour battery life (due to their inclusion of Flash), HP needs to achieve at least 7 hours in order to remain competitive against not only iPad 2, but future Android tablets as well.

The easiest way to do this would be for an option for users to turn off Flash (although doing so would vindicate Steve Jobs position against Flash).

However if TouchPad can reach 7 hours of battery life without having to disable the one feature lacking upon iPad 2, then they should be able to easily compete against Apple.

Anything Else?

Aside from improving their dismal app store arsenal, what would you suggest HP do to avoid having TouchPad collect dust in a storage bin?

Also, would you consider buying a TouchPad over an iPad 2? If so, why?

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