HP/Palm: Please Give Rhapsody and B&N a Call

Because of its relatively small market share, webOS suffers so far from a lack of supported services for things like ebooks, music subscriptions, and video downloads. At the same time, HP already has or is building relationships with a number of companies providing some of those very services. Hopefully, we’ll see HP leverage those relationship to bring them to webOS devices and close the gap with competing platforms.

Here are two that HP/Palm could implement today:

  1. Rhapsody: When Windows Phone 7 ships at the end of the year (or whenever), it will have a built-in mechanism for purchasing music and, more important, for music subscriptions. Being a Zune user myself, I’ve grown accustomed to paying $14.99 a month for the right to download as many songs as I like from the Zune Marketplace. For just a few hundred dollars over the past few years, I’ve downloaded and enjoyed many thousands of dollars worth of music.

    Of course, HP/Palm won’t gain access to the Zune Marketplace, and they shouldn’t. However, HP has a Rhapsody client running today on every TouchSmart PC they ship, that they wrote themselves. Writing a webOS client would give current and future webOS users access to a music download and subscription service to rival what Microsoft will be shipping (minus the 10 free songs a month that Microsoft provides). And, until Apple offers their own subscription service through iTunes (if ever), it would give HP/Palm a leg up on iOS, as well.

    Short version: HP/Palm, please give Rhapsody a call and accelerate their development of a webOS client. Or, write an app yourself.

  2. Barnes and Noble: As a nook user, I’ve been waiting not-so-patiently for a nook ereader client for webOS. A few months ago, I noticed that HP has partnered with B&N on an HP-branded site, hp.barnesandnoble.com, selling ebooks from Barnes and Noble. It seems like HP would be well-positioned to convince B&N of the value of a webOS nook client, which would integrate webOS into one of the leading ebook ecosystems.

    Short version: HP/Palm, maybe you’re waiting for the webOS tablet to be released before pushing the B&N relationship. If so, please reconsider: many of your current customers, present company included, would love to read their B&N ebooks on their current webOS devices.

HP is obviously positioning itself to offer a number of other services given their recent activities, for example with HP’s Snapfish buying Motionbox (video sharing) and with HP’s partnership with Vidyo (video conferencing services). Adding in music subscriptions and ebook purchases would round out what’s looking like an increasingly powerful set of services.

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