By Greg Mills
When I was a kid I got in trouble on many occasions for taking things apart. It drove my father to distraction and got me a number of lickings with his belt, along with a serious brow beating. I remember his taunting statement, “how arrogant of you to think you could improve something an engineer designed”!
Well, its 55 years later and with 12 US Patents to my name, I can say with certainty, improving something an engineer designed is no big thing. Engineers do the dumbest things sometimes. I have a Sharp microwave oven with the start and stop buttons so textually obscure, without plenty of light you can’t find them quickly. Why would the popcorn button be so obvious with a nice bold logo and the start and stop buttons be hidden in a world of text?
There is a company that does the industrial equivalent to the kid who tears things apart, iSuppi of El Segundo, Ca. ISuppi employees stand in line to buy the next big thing in the high tech market and take it back to the shop to tear it apart. Most of the time they do get it back together, but not always. I suspect they have a better track record than I did as a child. I didn’t have all the cool tools they have and using my dad’s tools is another childhood story I won’t bore you with.
See the complete breakdown, if you are interested at; http://www.isuppli.com/Teardowns/News/Pages/HP-TouchPad-Carries-$318-Bill-of-Materials.aspx
HP TouchPad’s reviews have been mixed with a number of reviewers questioning the price point, retail. HP has priced the TouchPad at exactly the prices Apple is asking for iPad2. The problem for HP is that launching a new platform running the Palm OS for tablets amounts to using an orphan from the get go…. The lack of apps is likely to kill HP’s new tablet no mater how good the hardware is.
Without stealing all iSuppi’s thunder, iPad2 and TouchPad have almost identical cost to manufacture numbers. Apple, due to it’s parts supply system and volume likely has advantages in prices for parts and assembly that iSuppi can only guess at.
The market for touch screen tablets is based upon a triad of required element that make a platform succeed or fail. The hardware has to be sound, there has to be a well defined and supported developer program and there have to be enough apps a launch to allow buyer to imagine using the device in real life. No one wants an expensive paper weight that has no practical applications or breaks down with normal use. All of these elements have to be present for success in the mobile device market.
I submit, that if HP had created a dead ringer for iPad from a parts and technical standpoint, the failure I predict in the market is related to the lack of apps and a well managed developer program. Time will tell but as Microsoft can testify, even with tons of money, launching another touch screen platform is tricky business. How many mobile platforms will the market support? I don’t think the answer is more than 3. That’s Greg’s Bite
(Greg Mills is currently a graphic and Faux Wall Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. Greg is an Extra Class Ham Radio Operator, AB6SF, iOS developer and web site designer. He’s also working on a solar energy startup using a patent pending process for turning waste dual pane glass window units into thermal solar panels used to heat water see: www.CottageIndustrySolar.com Married, with one daughter, Greg writes for intellectual property web sites and on Mac/Tech related issues. See Greg’s art web site at http://www.gregmills.info He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org )