updated 06:10 pm EDT, Fri July 1, 2011
HP exec says webOS needs polish like Mac OS X did
HP's Senior VP for Palm Jon Rubinstein in a new memo kicking off the launch of the TouchPad paralleled it to his experience at Apple. After encountering some rough reviews that said the webOS tablet had promise but was buggy, he saw it getting the same reaction as Mac OS X did when it first launched. Early reviewers called OS X 10.0 "sluggish" and complained about a lack of apps, but the OS went on to be Apple's most successful release, PreCentral's copy read.
"It's hard to believe these statements described MacOS X - a platform that would go on to change the landscape of Silicon Valley in ways that no one could have imagined," Rubinstein said in the memo. "The similarities to our situation are obvious, but there's also a big difference. Like David Pogue, our audiences get that webOS has the potential for greatness. And like me, they know that your hard work and passion, and the power of HP's commitment to webOS, will turn that potential into the real thing."
HP has already promised updates within a few weeks that would fix slowdowns and crashes. For those that wouldn't be addressed right away, there was still work coming. "It's a marathon, not a sprint," the executive said.
Rubinstein has had a long connection with Apple and would be familiar with the Mac's early start on a new platform. He first worked with Steve Jobs designing hardware in the NeXT era and was brought over in 1997 at a time well before Mac OS X was shipping. Much of his tenure saw him simplifying and improving the Mac computer lineup, including during the early Mac OS X years when performance and compatibility were still sore points.
The executive retired from Apple in 2006 only to join Palm shortly after and orchestrate a revival much like that at his old employer. Palm continued to struggle but was successful enough that it attracted the interest of HP and a buyout last spring.