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The Developer's Dilemma

HP TouchPad Review: A Tablet For Productivity?

HP needs to be given credit where credit is due. Speaking as a developer who writes much of our custom-coded testing automation, webOS is the easiest mobile operating system to write for because it adheres to Web standards like HTML and CSS. Android comes in a close second because everything is Java-based. In comparison, Apple offers granular control over iOS programming, as the framework is object-oriented C, but this translates into a longer learning curve.

Mobile OS
Programming Ease
Tablet Market Share

Moving forward, HP faces two problems: documentation and market share. While webOS is easy to adopt, HP provides poor documentation relative to what's accessible via the Apple and Google developer sites. Second, market share continues to be a major reason to hold off on webOS for software developers. Programming ease means nothing when your goal is to make money. However, that requires a large base of users willing to pay for applications. That's one reason iOS continues attracting devs, despite the intricacies of object-oriented programming.

So what comes first? The chicken or the egg? Vendors need tablet users to draw developers, but they also need developers to create apps to attract users. Ultimately, it's HP's job to get developers amped up. And thus far, its success has been limited as a result of getting caught in the Android/iOS crossfire. That seems to be the impetus behind the recent $100-off TouchPad sale. However, HP needs to make that sale price permanent if it wants to really attract a following of any significant volume.

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