Jon Rubinstein tells Palm employees to ignore TouchPad reviews, compares webOS to Mac OS X

HP, who purchased Palm in April 2010 and then killed the brand, mind you that internally the folks who once worked at Palm still refer to themselves as Palm, recently launched their answer to Apple’s iPad: the TouchPad. Yes, the name is bland, but it got a lot of people excited because it was the first tablet to ship with an operating system other than Apple iOS or Google Android. The OS in question is called webOS, and it’s up to version 3.0 now, but it’s still not competitive enough compared to what’s already out there since early reviews of the TouchPad were quite critical, to say the least. Jon Rubenstein (pictured above), Head of the Palm group within HP, sent out an email to all of his employees that basically said: “Listen, all the reviews out there on the net may be negative, but they all recognize the potential of webOS. Here’s some quotes from reviews of the early versions of Mac OS X. See, people didn’t like it too, but it grew into something magical. We’re on the same track, destined for greatness.” That’s all paraphrased of course, you can read the complete letter at Pre Central.

Now while Jon has a point, webOS has the potential to be kick ass, the old saying “you don’t get points for trying” holds true here. If you don’t get good reviews, you don’t sell products, and when Palm was independent that lack of sales caused them to nearly go under. With HP’s money, Palm has some additional runway, but if by this time next year they can’t release something that is on par with iOS 6 and whatever dessert Google will use to name their next version of Android, then they may as well close shop.

Then there’s all this talk about HP licensing webOS … yea, let’s see how good that goes. Licensing really helped Mac OS X take off, oh wait, it didn’t.

  • >but it got a lot of people excited because it was
    the first tablet to ship with an operating system
    >other than Apple iOS
    or Google Android.
    I think you should not forget about Blackberry and their QNX OS. Agreed it’s not very successful, but it nevertheless is also a serious contender.

    I think if HTML5 truly suceeds we might actually have several successfull Tablet makers.

  • Anonymous

    if HP had honestly said that this v.1 TouchPad is a prototype product, intended to get developers underway and feedback from early adopters, with the consumer ready v.2 coming later this year, there would have been a very positive reception.

    but by instead offering a flawed/incomplete product – especially the hardware – as consumer ready now, HP WebOS is deservedly getting bad reviews. it’s treating non-techies like suckers, trying to hype them into buying already-obsolete hardware.

    Rubenstein can BS all he wants, but this bad launch really hurts for the long run. HP has dug itself a hole it will have to climb out of. like the article says, its v.2 TouchPad will have to be really super just to recover credibility.

    and it will be following Apple’s big Fall iPhone 5/iOS 5/ICloud package launch, which will pretty much dominate the holidays. which means no matter how good TouchPad v.2 is, it may well be too little too late.

    reminds me of the Zune. v.2 was very good, but no one cared.

  • Lektriklisa

    Rubinstein conned a company into giving him a salary.  He made
    the same statements when the Palm Pre was released – this is just De’ja

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