Rubinstein: “Of course HP is going to be successful in this.”

Listening to Jon Rubenstein, now head of HP’s Palm Business Unit, talk at the Web 2.0 Summit felt oddly familiar. It was more of the same, really: great things are coming, webOS enthusiasts should be patient, 2011 is going to be an exciting year.

The funny thing is: I believe him. It all makes sense to me. I’ve heard it before, and I expect to hear it again before all is said and done. And I’ve written about this so many times, I’m starting to sound like a broken record.

I’ve long submitted that with the HP acquisition, everything—brand new hardware in particular, as opposed to refreshes like the Pre 2—would be delayed. And not delayed by a few weeks or a couple of months, but potentially by many months. You don’t meld together two large organizations (one of which is absolutely huge) with different personnel, cultures, strategies, and objectives, and not have significant delays.

Therefore, we’re really right back where we started. Until HP-Palm are ready to release new devices, which will start sometime in the first quarter of 2011, we won’t be seeing or hearing anything new. Assuming that we’ll hear great things at CES is a mistake, as is assuming that we’ll see the kinds of crazy newage technology that some people are hoping for. The next webOS smartphone, I’m predicting, will be solidly built, will perform well, and will have capabilities that are par for the state of the industry at that point. It won’t have a single technology that makes it stick out from the crowd, except of course for webOS 2.X and the most productive environment on the market.

And so while it was fun listening to Ruby wax strategic in the future of the connected mobile devices market, if anyone was expecting to hear anything new and exciting, then they’re forgetting that—as he said himself—the HP-Palm acquisition only closed a few short months ago. It will bear fruit, but not for some time yet. Once it does, then we’ll have reason to be excited, but until then: yes, I’ll say it yet again. Patience is a virtue.

Oh, and take note: when Rubinstein said “Of course HP is going to be successful in this,” he meant it. And what he meant specifically was, a generally successful company with HP’s scale pushing an outstanding product like webOS is bound to succeed. I tend to agree with him, although HP’s definition of “success” might be open to debate.


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