HP has one foot in the tablet market with the HP Slate 500 at a price of $800. When compared with the Apple iPad2, the Slate is clearly a dud; there maybe some Windows legacy environments where it makes sense, but without a radical redesign of the Microsoft Windows software, there is almost no chance that it will make any significant impact in either the business or consumer markets.
When HP bought Palm and webOS, the focus is on how HP would take this technology and produce tablets to compete with Google Android, Apple iOS, Research in Motion Tablet OS, and Microsoft Windows Phone 7. The HP webOS TouchPad is a nice product, but again it is unlikely that HP will make a significant impact in the next few years in the consumer/business tablets as they are known today. Wikibon believes, however, that HP can be very successful and become one of the largest tablet suppliers in the world.
HP has a 40% share of the printer market and, even more important, the printer ink market. Every one of those printers needs a control panel, and currently they use an Android seven inch control panel. This is likely to be the first target for webOS control panels.
Control panels come in a variety of form factors and are required to connect to sensors and signals from the devices they support. These devices can be printers, fridges, freezers, climate controllers, x-ray machines, MRI machines, manufacturing machines - the list from the home, the workplace, warehouses, factories, farms, and the battlefield is endless. The number of control panel tablets will eventually exceed the number of consumer traditional tablets.
HP as a signal and sensor integrator has few peers, and this expertise is in their DNA. Control panels are an ideal way to develop the WebOS volumes, ecosystem, and expertise required to sustain an second phase attack on the business/consumer tablet marketplace. The pressure is for HP to participate in the consumer tablet marketplace and achieve Apple-like valuations, and it will be difficult for HP to take a long-term view. Only HP can stand in the way!
Action Item: Technology advisors to manufacturers and deployers of devices needing control panels should look to HP as a potential partner.