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Really HP? Really?

Well, the first reviews are in and I have to say, I’m shocked and surprised that yet another tablet device hits the market with buggy, unresponsive software.

I also ran into plenty of bugs in my tests, even though H-P said I was testing a production unit. For instance, on various occasions, the email app failed to display the contents of messages, the photos app failed to display pictures, and the game “Angry Birds” crashed repeatedly. All of these problems required a reboot of the device to resolve. In addition, I found the TouchPad grew sluggish the more I used it. Again, a reboot was needed to restore normal speed. H-P acknowledges most of these problems and says it is already working on a webOS update, to be delivered wirelessly in three to six weeks that will fix nearly all of them.

Walt Mossberg - All Things D

Most apps are quick to load and responsive enough, but some, like Weatherbug, are very slow. It’s easy enough to blame the developers getting to grips with new hardware at this point, but ultimately we never felt wowed by the performance. Sure, flipping between tasks is quick and snappy, but changing from landscape to portrait is occasionally sluggish and, after about a day or so, we found we had to give it a reboot to regain optimum performance.


The TouchPad often seemed quite slow at launching new apps, leaving me staring at a pulsating, glowing icon. When a lot of apps were running, everything could get especially laggy. Occasionally, everything would freeze for a few seconds and then resume. The TouchPad also seemed to get confused about its orientation regularly—every time I laid it down flat on a table, it wanted to flip into portrait mode. More than once I got in a situation that would have been comedic if it weren’t so frustrating: I’d be holding the TouchPad in landscape mode, but its interface would remain in portrait. When I turned the TouchPad back to portrait, it would rotate to landscape. A few times, the apps within the multitasking interface appeared rotated correctly, but the overall UI was rotated incorrectly. Suffice it to say, there are some bugs affecting performance and usability.

Jason Snell - Macworld

All the other tablet releases have been train wrecks, with products rushed to market well before they were ready.

HP seemed to be in a strong position, with having a good foundation in WebOS and they also seemed to be taking their time getting the HP TouchPad ready for release. I really thought they were going to release a credible alternative to the iPad.

The form factor seems to have been put together in response to the iPad 1, so obviously, the product has been on the drawing board for some time. I imagine that the behemoth that is HP was not agile enough to re-design and re-tool in response to the iPad 2 release. Yet it ticks most of the boxes for hardware specification and has average battery life.

The main issue seems to be the software, and most if not all of the reviews indicate it’s buggy and worst still, unresponsive at times. Surely when going up against the iPad, one of the prime design goals for any tablet manufacturer, is that it just has to perform - effortlessly.

HP are saying that there is a fix in the works but all these reviews were on production ready units.

First impressions stick and buggy software is pure buzz kill.

Hopefully they will be able to sort these issues out over time, but the initial damage is done. The iPad really would benefit in having a strong competitor, but it looks like the HP TouchPad isn’t it in it’s present form.

Makes you think just how well the design, construction and launch of the iPad has been executed by Apple. Let’s not forget, the original iPad was launched well over 12 months ago and even in it’s first incarnation performed beautifully with unheard of reliability, performance and responsiveness.

Can anyone catch them?

Reader Comments (2)

I read the Walt Mossberg review yesterday and couldn't help thinking "Yup another one".

I think Steve nailed it when he stated that other companies need to innovate and stop coping. Apple certainly hit the nail in the head with the iPad, but that doesn't mean its the only or best solution. Companies like HP need to be brave and give there teams the time, resources, and freedom to be creative.

I fear until then, we will see this time and time again.

June 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark Dalton


It is funny that you are saying companies need to give their teams more time - when running to catch up in a field like this - time is the one thing they do not have. They should actually be freeing these teams up from the corporate machine and placing them into Rapid development teams that are allowed to break all the rules to produce a product that works. Organisations like the Armed forces have engineering teams, called Tiger teams, which have access to any resource they require to resolve issues. These companies, if they are serious, should have utilise this concept when playing catchup in critically important fields like this. Of course this does not preclude the quality control processes to ensure the potentially radical/unfettered design is a not let down.



June 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris Kernaghan

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