Having my Kindle app and read it too…

Apparently in Germany HP feels secure enough to run around teasing people with live demos of the Kindle app running on a tPad. Their insecurities might get out of hand if they demo’d a unit here in the States to a resounding wall of disinterest.

Either that or they’d get tired of answering “Hey, since you have a working copy, can you use that tappy sharing thingy to share a copy onto my tPad here???”

But the bigger question to me is what could have happened to lead to such a drastic withdrawal of a book reading application? In my own personal case I had a functional copy of the Kindle app on my HP TouchPad when I purchased it at Best Buy. I regret answering “Yes” when asked if I wanted to install the new copy of the app on that bus ride home from the Best Buy. I can only plead that thoughts of Sugar Plums and Unicorns distracted me.

I still have Dirty Pad’s brother boxed up in the living room. I’m wrestling with whether I should let his brother out and see if I can answer “No” on him and get a working Kindle app…. or leave him boxed up and send him back to Amazon.

But the reason I post here is of course the renewed speculation on the imminent arrival of the Kindle app. If it isn’t the demos in Germany it’s the expectations on Unicorns on Monday for the “real launch” of the HP TouchPad here in the USA.

But again, why did the app get pulled like that? And what happened to the HP Movie Store which similarly got embarrassingly replaced with a nearly identical IOU app?

My thought: DRM.

I’m thinking someone figured out how to slip past the digital rights management and grab the cookies to share with others.

The pro-HTML 5 application development camp will tell you that the HP TouchPad rocks because all you need is NotePad.exe and a competent HTML 5 browser (IE9?) to develop for the HP TouchPad. Bah! Goes the argument, I don’t know why HP even bothers to distribute a developer kit for it.

Well, there is one issue with HTML 5: it firmly believes data wants to be free.

Or at least if it isn’t free it hides behind a pay wall.

At which point, once someone pays to get it past the pay wall: it’s free. ๐Ÿ™‚

An example of this is the Kindle Web Reader. Didn’t know Amazon had an HTML 5 Kindle Reader Application?

Well they do.

Well, kind of.

For over a year now you’ve be able to surf over to Amazon *http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000579091ย and read a few demo chapters out of a few of their free ebooks. They’ve had a shingle out saying “Check back soon” for the full capability Reader that would let you tap into your Kindle Digital Content Locker and read your Kindle ebooks.

I beat at path to the Web Reader when I discovered my Kindle app had been IOU’d only to discover it was still not functional.

The other place Amazon has had a “Check back soon” shingle hanging out is on the Blackberry Playbook. Which is another HTML 5 or Flash only platform: no native development yet. In addition the Playbook has no access to Hulu or Netflix.

To me I look at all this and the conclusion I come to is I’m a law abiding customer being harmed by the fears of content owners that I’ll go rogue and start giving away copies of their content.

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Hulu or Powerpoint at the office?

I was standing at a Verizon store last night helping a friend upgrade her Droid to a shiny new white iPhone 4. She was tired of not having her Shape magazine (via Zinio), she was tired of Hulu being available on other Verizon phones and ditto for Netflix.

As we left I reminded her to order an HDMI cable so she could jack her shiny new iPhone 4 into her TV and watch Hulu/Netflix on The Big Screen.

This comment jogged my memory on one of the curious disparities in the Tablet industry.

The HP TouchPad can surf to Hulu and it kinda works. I say kind of because the HP TouchPad is a bit shaky on play back via Flash right now: it’s The King’s Speech TouchPad right now. But Hulu hasn’t blocked it for browser based playback.

The Blackberry Playbook though _is_ blocked. Which is sad because the Playbook has the best implementation of Flash I’ve ever used, anywhere, desktops included. QNX’s multitasking scheduler makes video playback like warm butter no matter what you have going on elsewhere on the Playbook. (if you love WebOS you really should check out a Playbook)

Then I thought of the Android devices that the Hulu app works on and the ones it doesn’t. If I’m not mistaken 100% of the devices it works on have HDMI jacks.

I wish the HP TouchPad had an HDMI jack but now I wonder if HP made a faustian deal with Hulu? No HDMI jack and your browser is left working with Hulu’s web site? Otherwise you’re waiting for an app to be delivered.

That HDMI jack sure would be handy at the office for hooking up Powerpoint presentations to the projector….

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The Official Launch is Monday (really?)

The spin HP is putting on the flop that was July 1, 2011 for the HP TouchPad launch is that it was actually a “soft launch” and apparently Best Buy failed HP. They’ve learned from it and Monday is going to be the “real launch”.

In particular HP indicated we’d be able to walk into places such as Staples and Office Depot starting Monday and see units on the shelves and enhanced HP TouchPad demo displays with knowledgable sales clerks eager to assist us.

Today I saw a reference to a $50 off coupon from Staples, specifically for the 32GB HP TouchbPad. This got me excited until I noticed it was valid 7/15 through 7/16. It prompted me to check the Staples web site again though and sure enough: zero stock at the 10 stores within 20 miles of my location.

What will HP do Monday? Will the mythical Unicorns be out in force to convince customers to buy? All I know for sure right now is I’m far more excited about the rumored update for the Playbook expected today. I’m supposed to get real time zooming during video playback. Yeah, assistive technology for examining belly buttons on belly dancers from last weekend! Time to go hit “Check for system update” again….

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Suggested HP TouchPad advertising tag line

Yep, that Beats Audio makes the HP TouchPad the most awesomely incredible iPod I’ve ever used. I just wish it wasn’t an Osborne One sized iPod. And uh, I wish it didn’t stutter and stammer like that royal dude in The King’s Speech that I can’t watch on my HP TouchPad because the HP Movie Store doesn’t work yet but again that’s OK because it’s the most awesomely incredible iPod I’ve ever used! I just wish ….

HP TouchPad: it’s the Osborne One of iPods!

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“Intuitive” multitasking: a tale of two tablets

Today’s post is on my thoughts about the WebOS’ “intuitive” multi-tasking. Yes, I’ve been abusing myself by watching those videos I find linked in tweets from HP.

Here is how I use the native WordPress app on my iPad 2 to copy a snippet out of an email into a WordPress posting I’m putting together.

Careful now, don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

Take four fingers, drag the screen sideways.

In the email app that was right next to the WordPress app because it was the last app I used I select and copy the snippet of text.

Take four fingers, drag the screen sideways the other way.

In the WordPress app that was right next to the email app because it was the last app I used I past the snippet of text.

Takes longer to read it than do it.

Now, on the most powerful Tablet in existence…

You are in the WordPress app. First you save your work because sometimes going over to the email app can cause your HP TouchPad to reboot.

Now you drag upwards from off the side of the screen being careful not to stop dragging your finger upwards on top of a control in the WordPress app because that control will activate.

Wait for the WebOS animation of the full screen app collapsing downwards into a card and sliding up into the middle of the screen as the other two cards on either side get drawn. Cool the first five times you watch it for fun, total time wasting buzz kill when you need to flip back and forth between apps for real.

Now, using one finger drag the screen sideways until you reach your email card. Now keep in mind your cards never get re-organized to keep the most recently used cards next to each other. Of course you can expend brain power to group cards and stuff but the HP TouchPad doesn’t save these groupings across reboots so if you get into grouping you really get lots of practice doing it.

On the upside all those spontaneous reboots help keep you from developing too many cards so you generally only need to flip 2 or 3 cards sideways to get to the email app. Waiting patiently for each card to flip by for each flip of the finger. Move 3 cards? Swipe three times, wait three times.

Are we there yet?

Once you have the email card front and center you then use one finger to tap the card to make it come forward. You then wait for it to animate its way to full screen domination.

Select text, copy text.

Now you drag upwards from off the side of the screen being careful not to stop dragging your finger upwards on top of a control in the email app because that control will activate.

Wait for the WebOS animation of the full screen app collapsing downwards into a card and sliding up into the middle of the screen as the other two cards on either side get drawn. Getting tired of that animation yet?

Yeah thought so and all you’re doing is reading about it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, using one finger start swiping the screen sideways until you reach your WordPress card. And again, keep in mind your cards never get re-organized to keep the most recently used cards next to each other.

At this point you may or may not get a spontaneous reboot. Something about flipping cards with some text in the clipboard seems to bring out the evil spirits as if someone had been drawing pictures of dragons on the screen complete with the caption “Here be dragons!”

Once you have the WordPress card front and center you then use one finger to tap the card to make it come forward. You then wait for it to animate its way back to full screen domination.

You then paste the text into the WordPress article.

I figure that’s the secret to being the most powerful Tablet in existence: you have to show it off by making users engage in lots of activities where you demonstrate the horsepower under the hood their hard earned dollars went into purchasing. Or as the drug dealer in _Pulp Fiction_ said “At the end of the day you’ll know where those dollars went!”

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HP Can we have a “Only show me TouchPad” software switch?

In the HP App Catalog I’d really appreciate it if HP could add a switch to only show software designed for the HP TouchPad. So far I’ve been less than impressed with the HP TouchPad’s emulator for running prior generation WebOS applications.

Most of them are just plain broken or broken in some major way. Take the Amazon Deals app. Sure the main page comes up but click on lightening deals and I get nothing. I get nothing but nothing at that point. I haven’t found any way to get back to the main page. In addition there is no screen doubler button to size the emulator up to use the full screen.

That on top of the lack of accessibility support of any sort makes these apps incredibly difficult for me to read.

So how about it HP? Can you throw in a switch to only show TouchPad apps? I’d add something clever about Apple added that switch to their app store in the first week but …

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Dirty Pad meets Microsoft’s Office 365

The HP TouchPad doesn’t come out of the box with the ability to create or edit the basic Microsoft Office documents. You can view them but you can’t alter them or start a new one.

I’m subscribed to Microsoft’s Office 365 so I figured I’d give it a try and see if it would enable me to use the HP TouchPad to create/edit documents.

I gives me the ability to create documents.

But alas it gives me no ability to alter documents, I can’t even enter text into a clean fresh document.

One issue is that the onscreen keyboard won’t come up.

So I got out the HP TouchPad wireless keyboard.

Even pounding away at the keys I couldn’t get the text to enter. (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote)

So there you have it: completely useless.

I have to add that so far testing software on the the most powerful Tablet in existence is a snap: it usually just doesn’t work.

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