Daily Archives: February 9, 2011

HP fires Microsoft?

Todd Bradley, HP executive vice president, and Jon Rubenstein, of Palm

One of the shockers at the HP event is that these two guys (Todd Bradley and Jon Rubenstein) fired Microsoft.

Whoa?

Well, they announced that the WebOS behind the TouchPad and other devices is being ported to laptops and other form factors.

Imagine telling me 10 years ago that HP would announce a family of products that aren’t running on Windows.

Whoa!

So, as soon as I got together with HP’s CTO, Phil McKinney, after the demos were over that’s what I asked about. His answers are telling.

HP makes Google Android look even more creaky (and RIM, Nokia, Microsoft not in the game)

Jon Rubenstein introduces new HP TouchPad

HP’s Jon Rubenstein just showed off the HP TouchPad.

I’m so glad that I told my readers to wait before they bought a tablet until at least today.

What did HP just do?

1. Showed it can bring some innovations (especially in power charging and multitasking) that Apple hasn’t yet shipped.

2. Totally made the other, non-Apple, players on the board look lame.

3. Further weakened Microsoft’s stance in the marketplace. If you told me 10 years ago that HP would introduce a major new consumer product that’s not based on Windows I would have said you are totally crazy.

4. Made a major Apple fan (me) think twice about buying another iPad.

5. Helped keep Adobe Flash relevant. The movie they showed in Flash and games makes Apple’s anti-Flash stance look lamer than when just Google was pointing that out.

6. Showed off how to compete with Apple: have better cross-app communication. They showed how you could search or tweet all from one interface, which is quite nice.

So, where does the HP effort fall short?

1. Not many apps. That’s one reason it’s going to be hard to rip me away from the Apple ecosystem (I’ve now spent about $300 on apps). Plus, most new cool apps are coming out on iPad, not on Android or HP or RIM.

2. They are making us wait until summer to get one, with wifi, or later with 3G. In that time it’s expected that Apple will have iPad 2 out and we haven’t yet seen how Apple will refresh its OS to add some of the capabilities.

3. As of this moment they haven’t announced a price. If it’s less than $500 it will be a sizable winner, if more, we’ll quickly forget it like we are forgetting about the Motorola Xoom. I’ll update this post as soon as they introduce the price (within seconds).

Short? HP has a winner that other players MUST consider now. That is a major winner and, so, we must name this man a genius:

One on One with Phil McKinney

Who is he? Phil McKinney, HP’s CTO. He’s the one who spent three years building his own tablet, but decided it wasn’t good enough, so went and bought Palm.

UPDATE: I just interviewed Phil after the demos were done. He gave me some details behind HP’s purchase of Palm and plans to use Palm’s WebOS in other, laptop devices.

That looked like a strange decision at the time, but look at what it did for HP:

1. Put it on the innovator’s table.
2. Got it out from under Microsoft’s thumb.
3. Made HP cool again and made it something that RIM, Google, and Nokia needs to pay attention to (just when they thought they had figured out the game they were going to have to play in 2011).

Why do I say RIM isn’t in the game? They weren’t even the coolest tablet at CES (Motorola Xoom won that title) and app developers just aren’t taking them seriously. At least with HP’s effort they are betting big time on web apps, and their developer tools are easy to develop for and, even, loved by developers who have tried them. Microsoft? Sorry, not in the game at all. Neither is Nokia.

Congrats Phil and Jon. I can’t wait to get my hands on one.

Preview of HP launch today: smartphone so small it is cool

HP/Palm announcement

I really hated Palm’s devices the past couple of years. Why? I wrote I hated their small screens. I still do.

But recently I got a look at the smartphone that HP will be announcing in an hour and a half. More on that later today.

What is it? The smallest little phone I’ve ever seen. It’s like a large pebble in your hand. Smooth and really nice to hold.

This still sucks as a competitor for the iPhone or Android.

But they’ve made it so small now that the thing I hated (small screen, which isn’t good for really doing work) is now an attribute.

Why?

Because I could see owning this as a second phone. A “date” phone.

Why?

Because it’s so small it helps me keep my online addiction at bay. But it still lets me tweet or look at the web in an emergency.

It’s fashionable.

It’s cute.

Women are gonna love it.

People who don’t want to look like a geek on their nights out will love it.

That’s the “small” thing HP/Palm is announcing today. I’ll get you some video and photos.

Congrats to HP/Palm on turning around my objection to your crappy small screens and making that a real product attribute.

That’s what they mean in the announcement by “small.” The “big” is their 10-inch tablet. I haven’t seen that or the services that will power all these things. More later today.

I got that image over on the Everything Pre website. Watch that and Techmeme for more.

The post-burn Nokia (that turkey can do some “Angry Bird” damage)

Well, the CEO at Nokia has finally set all the fan boys who’ve been attacking me for years into their places.

FINALLY.

Some clear thinking at Nokia. Wow. And what a memo it is.

FINALLY. Someone at the top of Nokia notices what I’ve noticed by traveling the world. Nokia is in serious trouble.

Can Stephen Elop jump his company off of the burning platform, as he put it, and do something interesting?

Well, at least the execs are not sounding arrogant anymore (first time in years!) and they aren’t saying “we are the marketshare leader.” As if THAT ever matters! Just ask all the “market share leaders” who have disappeared into the bowels of the Computer History Museum.

So, what’s the post-burn Nokia look like?

We’ll find out Friday, but it sure looks like he’s working on the list of things I laid out.

In the meantime Google’s VP, Vic Gundotra, is adding gas to the fire with his tweet saying “two turkeys do not make an eagle.” What does he mean? Oh, Nokia hardware with Microsoft Windows Phone 7 OS won’t make a good smartphone.

Vic is pretty correct. Microsoft is late to the party and Nokia is even later. Google is in a much better spot, especially on software and services.

But Vic better watch out for this “turkey” NokiaWP7 device, or family of devices. Why? They seem to be playing a lot of Angry Birds over at Nokia and if you put a turkey into a catapult it can do a lot of damage to Google.

It seems to me that Nokia is changing the game, or trying to. While Google is playing Flight Simulator, Nokia is playing Angry Birds. And, no, Google hasn’t been acting like the mighty eagle, either, lately. Just ask the Wave team.

I actually like using Windows Phone 7 better than I like using Android. Can they capitalize on that, or will Google come out with a revamped Android OS with new UI that makes them the user experience thought leader?

Also, counting Microsoft out seems like a no brainer. Hell, I left Microsoft four years ago because I knew the product pipeline was dry. I was right. But now Steve Ballmer has a fire lit under his own behind and can point to Kinect as a consumer success. A huge success. Fastest selling new product in history.

So, if Microsoft and Nokia can pull harder on the Xbox brand they have a real shot at doing some damage to Google. That turkey might end up looking like an Angry Bird that takes out a good piece of a building over in Mountain View.

Plus, Nokia does have nice maps (NAVTEQ and Microsoft have been partners for a long time) and they do make nice hardware. Love those cameras and radios!

So, with a new, flattened Nokia (what happens when your company jumps off something and hits the water? It gets flatter!) and a new partnership with Microsoft, Elop is ready for some Angry Birds wars with Google and Apple.

I’m not counting them out. But Elop sure has to aim that turkey carefully. He only has one shot and if he aims wrong that turkey will fly off the screen without hitting Google or Apple. Aim right, though, and we could have some new fun!

Oh, and GDGT’s Peter Rojas? Right on about the Nokia fanboys. They have always been wrong and now Stephen Elop has put them in the jail they so rightfully deserve being in.