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技术 - 平板电脑

惠普TouchPad无力绝杀苹果iPad

Michal Lev-Ram 2011年07月04日

惠普新推出的平板电脑可能会对安卓产品构成挑战,但无论从哪个层面上说,它都不是苹果iPad的对手。

    上周五,平板电脑市场又多了一名新成员,那就是惠普公司(HP)的TouchPad。这款新产品不仅是惠普公司挑战苹果公司(Apple)iPad的希望所在,同时也是一系列即将问世的搭载WebOS操作系统的产品的排头兵。

    惠普于2010年收购了奔迈公司(Palm),同时也继承了后者开发的操作系统WebOS。尽管搭载WebOS的TouchPad外形靓丽,甚至在某些方面的性能胜过iPad,但对惠普来说,它并非什么致胜法宝。原因何在?消费者想要的并不是普通的平板电脑,他们要的是iPad。

    在时尚新锐方面,惠普不是苹果的对手(即使请拉塞尔•布兰德代言TouchPad也无济于事)。而且,它在价格方面也无优势可言(与iPad 2一样,TouchPad起始售价也是500美元)。此外,它更无法与苹果丰富的应用商店(App Store)相媲美:发布之初,TouchPad的应用目录(App Catalog)只提供区区300个应用程序。而iPad用户则有超过10万个应用可供选择。

    尽管苹果对基于iOS的第三方应用的微管理之苛刻众所周知,但软件开发人员仍趋之若鹜,开发了各种游戏、生产力工具、以及其他运行于iOS手机和平板电脑的应用。最近,他们又竞相为搭载谷歌(Google)安卓(Android)操作系统的设备开发应用程序。原因在于,开发人员们希望为消费者青睐的平台开发应用程序。迄今为止,苹果已经售出了2,500多万部iPad,因此,为这款平板电脑开发应用程序的好处显而易见:其庞大并且仍然在不断扩大的用户群早在翘首以盼,准备将那些小巧且色彩丰富的图标下载到自己手中的触摸屏设备上。惠普表示,运行于TouchPad上的应用程序的数量将会日新月异。

    最近,我们采访了惠普高管,他们强调指出,TouchPad的应用目录注重的是质量,而非数量。说到这点,惠普即将发布Pivot数字月刊,并称之为“集知识性和娱乐性于一体的编辑资源,有助于用户探索基于惠普TouchPad的WebOS应用。”换言之,它有点儿像一本数字杂志,能为用户选择并突出呈现某些应用。由于苹果应用商店和安卓市场中应用程序的数量都在不断增长,对用户来说,挑选适合自己的那一款应用绝非易事。

    技术研究机构Canalys公司最近的一份研究报告显示,上述大型应用目录为消费者提供的选择简直令人毫无招架之力。“比如,用户在安卓市场里搜索天气应用,结果将数不胜数,其中许多尚未有用户给过评分或评价,”报告作者指出。当然,用户希望找到他们需要的应用。

    尽管TouchPad将提供Facebook和Kindle阅读器等流行应用,但它却无法提供其他许多热门的应用程序。当然,总有那么一些铁杆奔迈迷(不错,我指的正是你们这些Treo曾经的拥趸),他们一直对奔迈的回归翘首以待,很可能愿意掏500美元买一部TouchPad,而不是iPad,尽管其应用匮乏。此外,尽管用户对TouchPad的总体评价可谓好坏参半,但科技媒体领域的许多评测都对其搭载的操作系统WebOS赞不绝口。

    WebOS在许多方面的处理能力确实过人。对于入门级用户而言,它在多任务处理方面强于iPad,允许用户同时打开多个应用程序。它的协同(Synergy)应用与Facebook和Skype一样,能将多个联系人清单中的数据整合到一个主地址薄中(此外,它还能整合不同版本的在线日历和多个共享服务中的照片)。

    但是,仅凭上述这些优势,TouchPad是否能够吸引大量消费者和开发人员?难说。在平板电脑市场,惠普是个迟到者,大众市场才不在意新颖的操作系统特性,他们在意的是够不够酷。尽管其它品牌的平板电脑接踵问世,但这一市场依然是苹果一枝独秀。

    但是,惠普为WebOS设计的宏伟蓝图绝不仅限于平板电脑市场。正因如此,它才于去年斥12亿美元的巨资收购了奔迈。惠普已经表示,WebOS将运行于从打印机到个人计算机等多种设备上。因此,尽管TouchPad并非惠普的致胜法宝,但对苹果的iOS 和谷歌的安卓来说,WebOS最终仍然可能成为其强劲的竞争对手。

    译者:大海

    Starting Friday, there will be yet another tablet on the market—the TouchPad from Hewlett-Packard (HPQ). The new gadget is the hardware maker's attempt at taking on Apple's (AAPL) iPad and one of the first in a long line of upcoming WebOS devices.

    But while the TouchPad's WebOS operating system—which HP inherited from its acquisition of Palm back in 2010—is sleek and even does a few things better than the iPad, it's unlikely to be a slam-dunk for HP. Why? Consumers don't necessarily want tablets—they want iPads.

    HP can't compete with Apple on coolness (even by getting Russell Brand to endorse the TouchPad). And it isn't competing with Apple on price (like the iPad 2, the TouchPad starts at $500). It also can't compete with Apple's extensive App Store—at launch, the TouchPad's App Catalog will offer just 300 applications. iPad users, meanwhile, have access to over 100,000 apps.

    Despite Apple's notorious micromanagement of its third-party apps, developers have flocked to create games, productivity tools and other applications for iOS phones and tablets. Lately, they've also raced to develop apps for Google's (GOOG) Android-running devices. That's because developers want to develop for platforms that consumers want to use. With over 25 million iPads sold to date, creating apps for Apple's tablet has its obvious advantages—a huge and growing audience ready to download those tiny, colorful icons onto their touchscreen device. HP says the number of apps available on the TouchPad is "continuing to change daily."

    At a recent meeting with company executives, they also stressed that the tablet's App Catalog is about quality, not just quantity. To that end, HP is launching Pivot, which it calls "an entertaining and informative editorial resource for discovering webOS applications for the HP TouchPad." In other words, it's sort of like a digital magazine that highlights certain apps for users. As the number of applications in Apple's App Store and the Android Market grows, finding the right one can be tricky.

    According to a recent report from technology research firm Canalys, these large app inventories can present overwhelming choices for consumers. "A consumer searching for a weather app in the Android Market, for example, will find numerous possibilities, many of which have not yet received any user ratings or reviews," say the report's authors. Of course, people do want to find the apps they're looking for.

    While HP's TouchPad will offer some popular applications like Facebook and Kindle, it's lacking many others. Of course, there are some die-hard Palm fans (yes, I'm talking about you former Treo addicts out there) who have been itching for Palm's comeback and might be willing to shell out $500 for a TouchPad instead of an iPad, despite its lack of applications. And while reviews of the TouchPad are a mixed bag, many in the tech media have showered praises on WebOS, the operating system that powers it.

    WebOS does do a lot of things right. For starters, it's better at multitasking than the iPad, and allows users to keep multiple applications open at the same time. It also has a feature called Synergy, which consolidates data from multiple contacts lists—like Facebook and Skype—into one master address book (it also consolidates different versions of online calendars and photos from various sharing services).

    But will that be enough to lure significant numbers of consumers and developers to the TouchPad? Doubtful. HP is late to the tablet game, and the mass market doesn't necessarily care about new operating system features, it cares about what's cool. Despite the proliferation of other devices, Apple still owns the tablet market.

    But HP has big plans for WebOS that reach far beyond the tablet market. That's why it shelled out $1.2 billion for Palm, creator of WebOS, last year. HP has already said WebOS will run on multiple devices—from printers to PCs. So while the TouchPad isn't a slam-dunk for the company, WebOS might still end up being a formidable competitor to Apple's iOS and Google's Android.

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