Lenovo Throws Their ThinkPad Tablet Into The Mix

With tablets being the talk of the town recently, thanks to HP liquidating their TouchPad for $99 after killing off webOS, Lenovo has decided to finally announce and release their ThinkPad Tablet. Although Lenovo has had the IdeaPad series of tablets available for quite some time, the new instalment brings along the well-known “ThinkPad” brand and markets it directly to the the business crowd.


Built atop Android 3.1, it brings along corporate-centric software such as Documents To Go, Citrix Receiver and PrinterShare. The ThinkPad Tablet even goes to the extent of bundling McAfee’s Mobile Security package for Android in an obvious attempt to appeal to upper management. Full device and SD card encryption is supported, along with anti-theft software and remote device disabling.

With Android pushing the ARMs race, it should come as no surprise that the ThinkPad Tablet continues along with the trend.

  • NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual-Core 1GHz Processor
  • 10.1 WXGA (1280×800) 16:10 IPS screen with Corning Gorilla Glass
  • 5 megapixel rear-facing camera
  • 2 megapixel front-facing camera
  • Up to 64GB of storage
  • Bluetooth, WiFi and 3G connectivity
  • Native USB 2.0 and micro-USB ports, full-size SD card slot and mini-HDMI output

The tablet also brings along 3 accessories for maximising productivity. The Tablet Dock is as it sounds, a dock that stands the device up to provide easy viewing angles and port extension. The Keyboard Folio packs a case and physical keyboard all into one. The Tablet Pen allows for fine-tuned pressure-sensitive precision on the capacitive multi-touch display.

The Wi-Fi-only version of the ThinkPad Tablet is priced unusually high. $499, $569 and $669 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB devices, respectively. Lenovo plans to integrate mobile broadband into the next version of the tablets to allow for 3G connectivity.

It’s nice to see that ThinkPad continues its styling and design in the tablet instead of straying to provide an iPad look-a-like. Targeted mainly towards the business professional, a market where the only competitor is the BlackBerry PlayBook, the ThinkPad Tablet certainly has clear advantages over consumer devices. Both RIM and Lenovo have strong ties to the corporate world through existing products, and with HP no longer pushing their TouchPad, it’s become an even smaller space to compete.

HP TouchPad Running Android 2.2 and Android 2.3 Videos Surface

The HP TouchPad is currently the number 1 selling tablet in Amazon, and across all the retail stores in the U.S. Even though the tablet and webOS is dead, the $99 price is too tempting to give this tablet a miss.

As we had reported earlier, developers all over the world have already started working on porting Android to the TouchPad. There is even a $1500 bounty up for grab for anyone who manages to port Android to the HP’s dead tablet.

Now, two mysterious videos have surfaced on YouTube, which shows the TouchPad running two different  flavors  of Android.  In the first video, the TouchPad is running on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and the owner of the video promises to publish a tutorial on August 24th, which will allow other users to install the OS on their $99 tablet as well. In fact, the owner of the video goes ahead and states that he will release a working Honeycomb port for the TouchPad on August 26th. Sounds quite dubious to me, considering Honeycomb’s source code is still not available to the public.

Below is a video of the TouchPad running Android 2.3 Gingerbread –

In the second video, the TouchPad is shown running on Android 2.2.1. The owner of the video claims that his friend’s TouchPad shipped with Android 2.2 pre-installed. Yes, pre-installed! The most interesting part of the video is that the TouchPad’s boot logo is that of Qualcomm’s. Quite interesting huh? The second video can be seen here.

Hopefully, by the end of this month, we should see some partially usable Android ports for the TouchPad.



Why I’m Dying to Buy the HP TouchPad, And You Should Too

As all of you probably know by now, HP killed webOS on its earnings call this week. It also announced that it will be liquidating its TouchPad stock and selling it at fire sale prices – $99 for the 16GB TouchPad and $149 for the 32 GB TouchPad. After that announcement, the TouchPads which weren’t selling at all, became the top selling gadgets of the week.

I have been trying to get my hands on one since 2 days now, but everywhere I check, it’s just sold out. Anyways, a lot of people still aren’t convinced if the TouchPad is a good buy at $99. This post is meant to knock some sense into them.

HP TouchPad

Here’s why I’m dying to buy the HP TouchPad, and you should too:

It’s only $99, dude!

If you said that it wasn’t worth buying the TouchPad at $499, when you could buy the iPad 2 instead, I would totally agree with you.

But with the TouchPad priced at $99, it’d be stupid to not buy it. The hardware powering the TouchPad is really good. It comes with a dual core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon processor, 1 GB RAM and 9.7 inch capacitive display. The cost of these components alone is way more than $99. Besides, there are very few tablets which offer this kind of hardware right now. Compared to those that do, the TouchPad is priced at least 80% lower.

You cannot even get a Chinese knockoff tablet for $99. If you were to just foot the bill of the components used to manufacture the TouchPad, you would be paying more than $200. There has never been a better bargain in the tablet world.

Android for the WIN!

You may be wary of the TouchPad, considering that webOS isn’t as good as iOS or Android. However, here’s some good news. As soon as word of the TouchPad fire sale got out, a group of Android hackers has already announced that they will be porting Android to the TouchPad. While it won’t be getting Honeycomb, it will definitely get a Gingerbread port, and quite possibly, an Ice Cream Sandwich port as well.

I currently have a Nook Color, and trust me, sometimes, support of the dev community is what you want more than great hardware. The dev community has transformed the Nook Color from a puny eBook reader to an excellent Android tablet. They can definitely work wonders with the HP TouchPad, which is a beast in terms of hardware.

webOS isn’t that bad

Even if you don’t see yourself installing Android on the TouchPad, webOS definitely isn’t so bad that it doesn’t deserve even $99, especially when coupled with such awesome hardware. Screw apps, even if you just use it for web browsing, reading books and for an occasional movie, it’s definitely worth the money.

Well, I doubt you can get one now, but if you can, go for it.

How Microsoft Capitalized on the Death of webOS and Attracted 1000+ webOS Developers to Windows Phone 7

Right after HP announced that it would be discontinuing webOS operations, effectively killing the TouchPad and webOS phones, Microsoft made a very smart move.

Brandon Watson, Director for Windows Phone 7, immediately tweeted this:

To Any Published WebOS Devs: We’ll give you what you need to be successful on #WindowsPhone, incl.free phones, dev tools, and training, etc.

With Windows Phone 7 still not as popular as Android or iOS among developers , this was a great initiative by Microsoft to strengthen the numbers of its army of developers.

Soon after he tweeted this, there was a deluge of replies from published webOS developers who had applications on the webOS store.

Today, Brandon confirmed that he had received more than 500 emails from webOS developers about the Windows Phone 7 offer, in less than 22 hours after the first tweet.

I have >500 emails in just the last 22 hours. Had to rethink the algorithm for responding to all.

With webOS dead, Android and iOS are the only two major platforms out there. However, iOS is locked on to Apple devices, and Android may now be perceived as impartial, thanks to Google’s Motorola acquisition. Windows Phone 7 may be the only major platform available for hardware manufacturers who don’t want to develop their own software.

Lately, Microsoft has been getting along really well with the developer community. Moves like these will help Microsoft, which has an improved image now in developer circles. Microsoft may be the greatest beneficiary of the untimely demise of webOS.

Update: Over 1000 webOS developers have contacted Brandon now.

HP’s webOS Runs Faster On iPad 2 Than On TouchPad

Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that HP is looking into a sale or spinoff of its PC business and is discontinuing its webOS-based hardware program. An interesting move by the company, considering HP obtained it last year with the $1.2 billion purchase of Palm and relaunched on Pre smartphones and the TouchPad tablet just months ago.


According to This is my next, HP engineers had tested webOS on an iPad, discovering that the operating system ran “over twice as fast” on the iPad 2 as it did on the TouchPad for which it had been designed for. Surprisingly, webOS running as a web app within the iPad 2’s Safari browser proved to offer better performances than on the TouchPad.

In addition, The Next Web reports that the TouchPad hardware had already been designed when HP acquired Palm last year. Engineers were tasked with getting webOS running on the existing TouchPad’s design, and due to outdated hardware the webOS team lacked the ability to innovate and led to poor response from the market.

The hardware reportedly stopped the team from innovating beyond certain points because it was slow and imposed constraints, which was highlighted when webOS was loaded on to Apple’s iPad device and found to run the platform significantly faster than the device for which it was originally developed.

With a focus on web technologies, webOS could be deployed in the iPad’s Mobile Safari browser as a web-app; this produced similar results, with it running many times faster in the browser than it did on the TouchPad.

HP has discontinued the TouchPad, but is still available for purchase for  just $99.

HP Kills webOS; Plans to Spin Off Hardware Business

HP announced its Q3 results today, which were slightly below expectations. It also announced that it is in talks to buy Autonomy Corp., and is exploring alternatives to spin off its PC business, because its CEO wants to get out of the low-margin hardware business and get into the high margin software business.

However, that wasn’t the most shocking news today. This is what was: HP also announced that “it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones.”

HP TouchPad

If you remember, HP bought Palm last year primarily because it wanted to enter the tablet and smartphone markets. Palm’s webOS was one of the few good options except Android and iOS. It even launched a few new phones like the HP Pre 3, and the HP TouchPad, but they failed to make much of an impact, in terms of sales. Reportedly, some retailers were unable to sell almost 90% of their TouchPad stocks even after continued price cuts.

Even so, today’s announcement comes as a surprise. webOS was a really promising OS, which was considered by some to be better than both iOS and Android.

HP has stated that it “will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.”, but that just seems to be PR speak for “I don’t have a clue about what I plan to do with this.”

R.I.P webOS.

PS: Google is venturing into hardware, HP wants to go all-software; it’s getting a bit crazy out here, in the tech world.

HP Pre 3 Up For Pre-Order In the UK

Back in February, HP announced the amazing Pre 3 smartphone. This handset runs on the HP webOS 2.2 Operating System and it comes with a 3.6 inch touchscreen display, 1.4 GHz Qualcomm processor, 5 megapixel camera with HD video recording, etc. HP Pre 3 is the successor of the HP’s popular Palm Pre 2 smartphone. This handset was expected to release during this month in the UK, but it was delayed due to some unknown reason.

The folks living in the UK, can now go ahead and pre-order the HP Pre 3 smartphone. Mobiles.co.uk, a popular online retailer is currently taking the pre-orders of this powerful smartphone. This device will be exclusively available for the Orange and T-Mobile customers in the UK. Check out the complete specs, after the break.

hp pre 3

HP Pre 3 features a 3.6 inch touchscreen display sporting a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, 1.4 GHz Qualcomm processor, HP webOS platform, Slide-out QWERTY keyboard, 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash, HD (720p) video recording and playback, front-facing camera for video calling and more.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, Active noise cancellation, Mobile hotspot, 512MB DRAM, 8GB / 16GB internal memory, A-GPS, Wifi b/g/n, 3G connectivity, microUSB 2.0, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, Mobile Hotspot, Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta and a 1230 mAh battery.

Orange customers can get this handset for free with a 2 year service agreement and a minimum monthly plan of £30. On the other hand, T-Mobile UK customers can get this handset for free with a 2 year contract and a £25.54 per month plan. To pre-order the HP Pre 3, head over to this page.

Who can compete with the iPad?

The iPad is the king of tablets

Apple’s iPad has dominated tablet sales so far. Android tablets have started making some dents, but none of them are really gaining steam as a product (vs. Android tablets gaining some share as a collection). Harry McCracken at Technologizer asked the simple question every tablet maker should be asking at the time of creating their products: Why should someone buy this instead of an iPad?.

Not just the hardware

The iPad and iPad2 are exceptional products by themselves. Great design (although, I could do with a non-glossy/non-reflective screen), light enough to be really portable, GREAT battery life, and to me, a good size for a screen which would be used for media consumption like movies and TV shows via Netflix, hulu and the like.

The key to their success though, besides the hardware itself and the beauty of the operating system, is the ecosystem. The apps, music, movies, podcasts, iTunes U, and the sometimes overlooked accessory industry. Apple has made slow and steady progress in putting these pieces together and has a seemingly invincible position, but in the world of technology today, it could be very short-lived.

Of course, the starting price of $500, thought by many at the time of the iPad launch to be too high, seems like another killer feature of the iPad.

Ecosystem providers, real competition

Who can really compete with the iPad? Not just the tablet, but the entire package of the tablet, the ecosystem, and the price? Remember, it may be ok to just meet the iPad, but in order to create a serious dent, the competition has to have a pretty big advantage on almost all of the aspects. So, let’s see who is competing:

  • Android at the low end: Cheap Android tablets are everywhere but they may not have Google’s blessing and as a result be cut off from the first-class Android experience, including the Android Market. So they have the price advantage but nothing else.
  • Android at the top end: Motorola XOOM and Galaxy Tab started off as 3G devices sold by the carriers. They required a data contract or ended up costing more without data contract, than an iPad. They suffered from the data contract/price issue to start with, but more importantly, there are hardly any apps for Android in the tablet form factor. An ecosystem though, is not just about the apps, it should also provide a good collection of music, movies and TV shows, which Android seems to lack today.
  • HP TouchPad with webOS: HP recently launched the TouchPad and the sales as well as reviews are not encouraging. HP has a problem similar to Android tablets in terms of getting quality apps available for the customers. It does not have to be hundreds of thousands of apps like the iPad apps, but when you start from zero, it is really an uphill climb. HP does not have a marketplace for music, videos and TV either, but it is big enough to cut some deals and get something going. The point right now though, is that there is nothing on offer, making it difficult to justify the purchase for consumer use.
  • RIM Playbook and Windows 7 slates: I won’t go into too much detail because it is clear that RIM released this thing too soon. It is an unfinished product and has been a flop so far. It is hard to imagine a product from the maker of Blackberry devices that does not have native email and calendar. Native email and calendar are supposed to be coming this summer, but until then it is an incomplete product.   I am similarly ignoring Windows 7 tablets like the the Asus slate, because Windows 7 Touch seems like touch was slapped on Windows 7 rather than it being built for touch-first use. While it works much like a PC, thereby providing a healthy ecosystem to rely on, it is not really an iPad competitor because it is not as light, and is way more expensive.

Windows 8, Amazon tablet Two legitimate competitors

We know very little about Windows 8 and almost nothing about the Amazon tablet. In fact, we don’t even know if any such product is going to come from Amazon, but here is why I think either of these, or both, are going to be viable competitors to iPad (and also lay out conditions for their success).

Windows 8 (especially ARM version): ARM is known for its power efficiency, and we can assume that it will enable small form factor Windows 8 devices with a long battery life. Combine this with the public announcement by Steven Sinofsky that Windows 8 system requirements are going to be same or lesser than Windows 7, and we have a good chance of seeing Windows 8 tablets/slates in the iPad form factor with similar battery life. Windows has a great ecosystem which it supports on the XBOX and Windows Phone, in the form of the Zune Marketplace. It provides a huge collection of music, movies and TV shows. Windows of course, has the most extensive applications catalog (although the current Windows applications will not automatically work on ARM, but will do on Intel architecture as-is). Windows Phone has rapidly grown its app catalog, starting from zero in October/November of 2010 to about 25,000 this June. Since we don’t know what Windows 8 application development will be like outside of HTML/Javascript, let’s just assume that the app ecosystem will be rich enough to start with. This assumption is generally for Windows 8 with full support for legacyWindows applications. We cannot discuss ARM applications until we know more, supposedly at the //build/ conference in September this year.

One concern I have is that Microsoft seems to be fixated on the fact that tabletsare full PC’s, just in a different form factor. Maybe they consider slatesto be the lightweight PC with a similar form factor. I hope that one way or the other, that they understand that there is a product category which is not necessarily a full PC, but serves the purpose of casual computing much like the iPad does today.

Amazon tablet: Of all Android tablet makers, Amazon surprisingly is poised to be the best equipped in terms of an ecosystem it supports music, movies, TV shows, instant streaming, subscription, cloud storage, cloud music player, digital goods, and very recently, even its own curated Android market for apps! It has already shown manufacturing prowess with the highly successful Kindle, although I understand components for a tablet are different from those used in making the Kindle. Amazon also has a great retail shelf spaceto sell their tablet, and that is their home page, visited by millions of people every day.

If they can pull off a 9- or a 10-inch tablet built on Android with their own marketplace for apps, movies, music and TV shows, they would immediately be a competitor.

It is strange that I feel most optimistic about something that we may not see for one more year, and something that does not even exist as a product today. Such is the state of iPad competition (or lack thereof) today, that we are left to place our bets on almost-unicorns and unicorns.

I sure hope there is some real competition for the iPad though, because that can only be good for us, the consumers. Right?

Apple Maybe Making More Profit Selling One Mac Than HP Does From 7 PCs

Apple Logo

A new blog post by  high school student Matt Richman titled  “A Consequence of Losing the PC Wars” compares  Apple’s profit margin from the sale of Macs to HP’s sales of PCs. The numbers which are revealed are mind blowing.

According to the report,  Richman reports that  Apple accumulated  $4.976 billion in revenue from the sale of 3.76 million Macs during their previous quarter, giving a Mac an average selling price of $1,323.40. Richman then multiplied that number by a 28% gross margin for Mac sales from Jefferies & Co  to arrive at a profit of $370.55 per Mac sold.

A June 1st research note from Peter Misek of Jefferies & Company pegged Mac gross margins at 28%. Multiply $1,323.40 by .28 and Apple makes $370.55 for every Mac sold.

In comparison, HP’s PCs  brought in  $9.415 billion in revenue and returned a profit of $533 million last quarter. Hewlett Packard’s  operating margin, which doesn’t include  overhead costs, came in at 5.66%.

HP’s Personal Systems Group, the division at HP that sells PCs,  brought in$9.415 billion in revenue and turned a profit of $533 million last quarter. Their operating margin, which doesn’t factor in overhead costs, was 5.66%. If we assume they spent 1% of their $9.415 billion in revenue — $94.15 million — on operations, then their profit margin was 6.66%. But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and make it 8%.

Richman says that  “If we assume they spent 1% of their $9.415 billion in revenue — $94.15 million — on operations, then their profit margin was 6.66%…But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and make it 8%.”.

With an average selling price of $650 and a profit margin of 8 percent, HP would be making approximately $52 on the sale of each PC, translating to “Apple makes more money from the sale of one Mac than HP does from selling seven PCs.”

HP TouchPad Pre-Orders Open; 16GB for $499, 32GB for $599, Ships July 1st

The much awaited tablet HP TouchPad is now available for pre-orders on the official HP site and several retailers including Amazon and BestBuy. The tablet runs on WebOS 3.0 and will sport a 9.7 inch display and a dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.2 Ghz processor. (HP TouchPad Specs)

HP TouchPad

The pricing for the HP TouchPad 16GB in UK is £399 (~$643) and for the 32GB TouchPad is £479 (~$773). In the United States the tablet pricing is $499.99 for the 16GB version and $599.99 for the 32GB version. The pricing of the device looks on par with other tablet devices available in the market.

HP is betting big in the tablet market with their WebOS 3.0 platform and had also said that they would be manufacturing PCs and Laptops which will run the software. The launch of the TouchPad in July should give them an idea on how consumers react to it. It will also be pitting WebOS 3.0 against Apple’s iOS which runs and and Google’s which powers several tablets including the and 10.1.

So if you are looking forward to get your hands on the HP TouchPad, you can pre-order the HP TouchPad tablet for US from Amazon or directly pre-order it for UK from here.