Meanwhile, in the other place

Could it be pure coincidence that the candid note from Nokia’s CEO surfaced in the press on the same day that Hewlett Packard announced a new range of mobile devices, including its own take on the tablet computer?  HP has in the past been remarkably successful at spreading its product range around many parts of the IT sector, so this is an announcement worth watching.

HP’s tablet offerings use an operating system called WebOS, which is a redeveloped and rebadged version of the operating system developed by Palm, who were absorbed by HP last year.  This had an excellent reputation for many years as a base for small portable devices.  But HP’s tablet needs to appeal to many customers who cannot remember the Palm Pilot, and some who will remember it well but associate it with an earlier generation of devices – part of the reason that the Pre hasn’t proved to have much impact in the smartphone market.  So HP’s tablet may be a promising enough product but I’m pessimistic about the prospects for that specialised operating system.

The pattern of the last 20+ years in personal computing has been that Apple, and only Apple, can successfully sell products with a proprietary operating system that’s linked to a particular hardware manufacturer, and it looks as though the same pattern applies to mobile phones and tablets

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