Head of webOS Ari Jaaksi responds to TouchPad reviewers
In a blog post on his personal website, Senior VP of webOS at HP Ari Jaaksi has responded to some issues that have been brought up in a number of HP TouchPad reviews from various news networks. With a more candid and public approach than Jon Rubenstein's recent internal email to HP staff, Jaaksi talks about three problems that reviewers keep bringing up, and which have inevitably trickled down into consumer discussions as well: A lagging OS, mistakes in auto-correct dictionary and the lack of apps.
Regarding the lagging OS, he notes that many of these reviewers are judging the device based on the experience that they have while the device is trying to manage more than the typical number of tasks on initial launch (downloading apps, syncing accounts/contact/calendars, making Skype video calls, etc...). While webOS can definitely still be improved to handle resources better during this phase, it's not unnatural for the first few hours of performance to be a bit sluggish, which is when accounts and apps are being synced and downloaded, which is unfortunately also when reviewers and users are getting their first impressions about the quality of performance.
Regarding the lack of apps, he again assures us that they are coming. Developers that have been waiting to get a TouchPad in their hands are now finally able to do so and test their apps properly on an active device. Jaaksi explains the reasoning why the app catalog growth has been slow up until now - "TouchPad needs applications, and developers need TouchPads." With that now in place, the platform that he believes is truly very good for developers, can now start to get the much needed app numbers to go with it. When reviewers had the devices, the only developers who had access were those very few privelaged enough to have that opportunity to partner with HP in the launch. The others had to wait until July 1st, just like the rest of us.
It might be easy to misunderstand Jaaksi in one way, though; He isn't making excuses for the less-than-perfect performance of the device that has been launched (which is still "a good start"). He is instead trying to put some facts into perspective on why many reviewers commented on the lack of apps (because there's a lack of apps) and the sluggishness of the OS. By the end of the piece he tells readers to go and try the device for themselves, rather than basing judgement just on what the reviewers had to say. In fact, he reminds us that they are hard at work right now on the first OTA update for webOS 3.0 already, which will apparently bring fixes and a bit of optimization to many of the problems that TouchPad reviewers pointed out.
We've been saying it all along and we'll say it again, updates are great to hear about, but we'll be even more glad to see them when they actually show up on the device. While Jaaksi's comments do clarify some questions that users might have about the reviews they've been reading, in the end we'll have to agree with what he says as the only way to find out the true answers to those questions: You just need to go out and try it for yourself. So far, we haven't heard that many of you regret it.