One of HP’s stated features for the HP TouchPad’s WebOS is that it features a WebKit based browser with Flash AKA The Rest Of The Internet.
WebKit of course is the code phrase for “Apple’s web browser that they stupidly gave away so we could use it too!”.
Or did they?
Anyone comparing an HP TouchPad browser against an iPad 2 browser will rapidly notice a few things.
The HP browser is slower.
The HP browser is actually less capable, it is missing features and not implementing others the same way an iPad does.
The simple power demo for this is Amazon’s new iPad compatible Amazon Cloud Player application. It runs a treat on the iPad 2. Solid, reliable and sounds great. You can even push it into the back ground with four fingers and go about doing other things with the tunes continuing to roll in the background.
My Mac Pro is presently busy pushing 100GB of music up into Amazon’s cloud for me. (Yeah well I was a bit surprised to find out how many tracks I’d purchased over the years…)
Try the same experiment with the HP TouchPad and you get stuttering in the background and a UI that in some cases is just plain broken. And yet these two browsers are built on WebKit right?
Well, there’s WebKit, there’s WebKit2 and there’s the plug in packs that Apple and Google have for their browsers. I don’t know what Blackberry uses but right now they’ve got the best “WebKit” browser around. Heck I’m so impressed with it that I entered my admiration for it in a recent Twitter contest to send Blackberry love notes.
The thrust of the love note was a play on the confucian description of a perfect wife. And I think my love note also speaks to what makes a good web browser these days.
@BlackBerry #PlayBook #BlackBerryLoveNote By day you are elegant and refined, at night you are my total media whore, you are perfect for me.
When I examine the counter-Apple current out there one of the central themes I find is a resistance to being limited in access. Some of these people want access to every scrap of internet they can get. Yes, some want every scrap of seamy Internet available but some just want their Farmville-esque pursuits and beyond. They tell the HP TouchPad they want to go someplace they want it to chew up and render unto them whatever they point it at: total media whore for want of a classier term.
In my opinion HP needs to pour some serious cash into both speeding up the WebOS browser as well as completing it’s abilities with web rendering. If they don’t then I predict the anti-Apple camp they are courting will turn on them. And again I point to the Blackberry Playbook, when you’re not the top dog you have to try harder and the Playbook is I think an excellent example of out-browser-ing Apple in the tablet space.
I fully support competition making the various browsers better. After all, I’m a Tablet Whore myself: I use whichever one gets the job done best, even the Dirty Pad.