Should the HP TouchPad have launched first?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: June 9, 2011

The HP Veer has been out for a little while now, but it hasn’t been long enough for AT&T or HP to start talking sales numbers. But, considering the device’s remarkably small stature, and the impressive list of smartphones available on AT&T’s network, I wouldn’t be shocked to hear that the Veer’s sales aren’t as high as HP might have liked. But the device is a 4G-capable device, and it is featuring the latest version of the webOS mobile platform for smartphones. With so much going for it, it begs the question: was the HP Veer the right device to launch webOS into 2011?

I’m bringing this up now, and not right at the launch of the Veer, because we finally have an official release date for the largest webOS-equipped device, the HP TouchPad. This is the tablet that the company unveiled along with the Veer and Pre 3, and since its debut there have been plenty of people eagerly anticipating an official release date. Now that that’s happened, I feel like we can talk about why HP’s plan to launch the new face of webOS on the Veer wasn’t a good idea, especially considering the long wait time between the Veer’s launch, and the subsequent release of the TouchPad.

Let’s go through a little refresher on the Veer, shall we? It has been awhile, after all. The Veer’s stand-out feature isn’t the software, more or less. It’s the fact that it measures in at only 3.25-inches, which is about the same length as a credit card. The capacitive touchscreen measures in at 2.6-inches, and it features a portrait slider that reveals a full QWERTY keyboard. There is a 5MP camera around back and the device features 8GB of onboard storage. Under the hood you’ll find an 800MHz Snapdragon processor running the show. And, as I mentioned above, the Veer is running webOS 2.1 when it launched.

HP took a step similar to Google’s methodology with tablets, and altered the next version of webOS from 2.x to 3. There are plenty of similarities between the 2.x versions and 3, but HP’s improvements to the mobile platform for tablets warranted the new version number. At least, that’s how HP sees it. In any event, the Veer and TouchPad are both running the latest versions of webOS for their corresponding devices, so neither one of them can be docked for that. Despite this fact, I don’t believe that the Veer was the right hardware to bring webOS into 2011.

When HP unveiled the newest hardware running webOS, they included the Pre 3 in the family, too. But unfortunately, we still have no idea when that device is coming out. And yes, I do believe that the Pre 3 should have been the new face of webOS in 2011, even compared to the TouchPad. However, considering we don’t have a release date for the medium-sized member of the webOS family, we’ve got to compare the Veer to the TouchPad. The truth is, HP needed to make a bold move with webOS in 2011, especially compared to the likes of Android, iOS and Windows Phone. And while the software may be fantastic, it isn’t just about the software – the hardware plays a huge role in the adoption by the general public. And when we look at the Veer compared to the other high-end smartphones available on the market, I don’t see the Veer being a hot product for the majority.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the Veer probably did pretty well around its launch date, but I think since then it’s probably waned. People are waiting to get their hands on the Pre 3, and I don’t blame them. A full-sized device featuring truly high-end specifications, and also featuring the latest version of webOS for smartphones, why wouldn’t consumers be waiting for this handset? Well, unless they don’t want webOS, then obviously the Pre 3 doesn’t matter.

I think the TouchPad should have launched back in May, and it should have been the first device to bring webOS into the New Year. The Veer could launch this summer, and perhaps it could even be seen as a great back to school gift. But, as a device to launch the new face of webOS and HP, I think the Veer just doesn’t have what it takes.

Do you think the Veer should have been the first device to hit store shelves this year? Or should it have been the TouchPad, or even the Pre 3? Did you buy a Veer? And if so, why? Are you still waiting to buy the TouchPad or Pre 3? Let me know in the comments below.

Products mentioned