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WebOS powered HP TouchPad for US$99 – HP exits PC business in Apple’s Post-PC era

When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks because that’s what you needed on the farms. Cars became more popular as cities rose, and things like power steering and automatic transmission became popular. PCs are going to be like trucks. They are still going to be around…..only one out of x people will need them.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs at the Launch of the First Generation Apple iPad in 2010

Christmas came early for many Americans today, Sunday August 21st 2011AD. No, it’s not just about the 6MBps 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) Modem Dongles from Telecom Provider AT&T being available for pre-order on a two (2) year Data Contract. Spoiler alert: That’s another article folks!

Rather, it has to do with the HP TouchPad, one of Apple would-be combatants, now up for grabs for less than US$99 in what our American cousins up North refer to as a “fire sale” as HP throws in the towel for the Tablet and Pc Business as a whole. A Nuclear Bomb dropped on Silicon Valley, I dare say!

Readers, bear witness to the first casualty of the “Post-PC Era” as prognosticated by Apple CEO Steve Jobs as encapsulated in my article Are we witnessing Laptop and PC Extinction?.

 “Fire Sale” is quite an apt term to describe what has happened to Hewlett Packard, after they decided strangely, to sell out their entire PC business and discontinue development on the WebOS Platform and the HP TouchPad, mere months after the started selling Tablets in a stratagem reminiscent of IBM back in 2005AD. Apparently, they had not patience to wait for the product to ramp up and thus achieve profitability in the long term!

If anything, this helps to confirm that the market is not really a Tablet market, but an Apple iPad Market at least according to the US Second Quarter Results by analyst DisplaySearch. Apple now accounts for 21.1% of the US Market in terms of shipments, once you lump Tablets and PC together, seeing as how the Tablets are effectively killing off the low-margin PC business.

Worse, it also confirms that the “Post-PC Era” as prognosticated by Apple CEO Steve Jobs is upon us thanks in part to the Apple iPad as stated in my article Are we witnessing Laptop and PC Extinction?.

Thus, with this first casualty in the Tablet Wars as the management of HP seek refuge like rats scurrying from the sinking remnant of their US$25 billion purchase of Compaq purchase back in 2002AD, it demonstrates that the low-margin model of PC sales is not going to be profitable in the long run for HP when compared to HP’s other high-margin businesses.

Poor design and lackluster marketing led to the device’s slow sales. Developers, the support that the HP TouchPad desperately needs as stated in my article HP and the TouchPad – Release the WebOS and the Developers will Smile, panicked and fled, jumping over the cliff like Norwegian Rats escaping a coming deluge. HP saw this and decided to call it quits mere months after launch.

So much for Open Source on PC as I had prognosticated in my article HP and Web OS – 2011 is the Year of the Linux on PC; Dell and Canonical’s Ubuntu ALONE will take up that mantle!

So HP’s getting out of the PC Business, much as IBM (International Business Machines) did back in 2005AD, with Senior Engineer Mark Dean, who helped to develop the first IBM PC also recently prognosticating the same “Post-PC era” catchphrase, albeit not in so few words.

Bit of history: HP originally got into the Tablet business via purchasing Palm and their WebOS Platform in April 2010AD for US$1.2 billion as the history in the ABC News and PCWorld articles.

After all, from a purely logical point of view, people only buy PC’s and Laptops, really and truly, for their Kids, with themselves as an afterthought if they have no kids…or any other responsibilities for that matter.

Thus the nature of PC sales, pre-Apple iPad, was always seasonal and varied according the economy. A vagary of Computer Sales that even at one point placed Apple on the Brink of Bankruptcy until, ironically, Jonathan Rubenstein, the developer of WebOS and the HP Touchpad, helped to develop the Apple iPod music player and turned Apple’s fortunes around  in the First Decade of the 21st Century while still employed to Apple.

The Apple iPad’s model of selling a Tablet to be used as a Platform to sell you content from Apple iTunes and apps from the Apple Apps Store is the new business model that Tablet makers need to adopt to beat the unstoppable juggernaut that is the Apple iPad. This is The Apple iPad Effect: Post PC Era Accelerant in Nine Moves, Naruto Style! Apple’s profits to the tune of US$6 billion in the Second Quarter of 2011AD indicate that this model make the Apple iPad Apple’s biggest cash cow!

Throw in Freemium Apps, which are mostly games as stated in my article Smartphones and Apps – Freemium Games are No. 1 on both smartphones and Tablets, which are now gaining traction globally, and one can easily surmise that HP certainly will not be the first and only victim in this “Post-PC Era”.

One last tease, dear readers: Retina Display with a faster A6 Processor in 2012AD. Apple’s answer to Kal-El Quad-Core Processor as stated in my article Nvidia and the Quad-Core Kal-El CPU – Android leaves A5 Dual-Core Processor in the Dust coming in the Fourth Quarter of 2011AD will be loud! Apple Lemmings…er….I mean fanboys, time to start gathering once more for utterance from the mighty Apple CEO Steve Jobs in April of 2012AD and the debut….of the Apple iPad 3!

Eventually, even Android Tablets, too, will fall, despite their current dominance in the Tablet Market as per my analysis Android Tablets gain on the Apple iPad – Here Comes the Hot Steppa. Until then, the next victim looks to be Dell.

As for the eventual fate of WebOS?

That may be coming to a Kitchen Appliance or Car Stereo System near you. So hurry and get yourself an expensive placemat, the HP Touchpad, while stocks last at your nearest Best Buy and Wal-Mart Stores since Sunday August 21st 2011AD!

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.

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