HP had their big announcements this week of their new hardware lineup, the Veer, Pre 3, and TouchPad. I have had a Palm Pre since launch day 2 years ago, and have been waiting… patiently… for this announcement for a very long time. I have had a Palm device since the Palm 3 back in 1998. Along with other fans of Palm, and early adopters of the Pre hardware, I was left a bit disappointed.
There are a couple issues that have most of the fan base upset. The first was the annoucement that older hardware (namely the Pre and Pre Plus) would not get an update to the latest version of the webOS operating system. HP defends this by saying it was a decision that was carefully thought out, and had to happen in order to make the newer hardware all that it could be. I wasn’t too concerned about this, since my hardware is 2 years old. What I really wanted was a new phone, not improvements on my old phone, which is on its last legs hardware-wise anyway.
The other issue was the lack of annoucement on which carriers would launch the new hardware, and any sort of street date for the hardware. When the Pre was first released I switched my carrier to Sprint in order to get the new phone. Six months later Verizon and AT&T recieved better phones. Now, 2 years later the early adopters are still waiting for even a slightly better phone then our release day Pres (we never did get the Pre Plus). If early rumors are true, this new hardware will not be coming to Sprint on launch day either.
HP definitely heard the backlash, and responded to the feedback from the fanbase. Being one of those disappointed fans, it seems like HP is completely abandoning the Palm name and brand. webOS is a fantastic operating system and it’s exciting to see it come to a tablet. Someone at HP should take a lesson from Apple though, and release the hardware very shortly after it’s announced. If you announce hardware, and wait 6 months to release it, your competition will have already passed you by. Hopefully it won’t be a case of too little, too late, since there are so many vendors already at the tablet party, and are very successful there.