A 'source close to the subject' told The Next Web the TouchPad's hardware was desperately slow, and hindered the development team. Its software even performed better as a Web version running in the iPad's Safari browser than it did on HP's own tablet.
Last night HP announced it would stop supporting webOS, effectively signalling the end of both the TouchPad tablet and Pre smart phones.
Apparently, HP was also working on a second 7-inch version of the TouchPad, with a higher-resolution display and a metal body. But having abandoned webOS, we'd be amazed if HP bothers to bring out another TouchPad, even if it was quite close to completion.
So is poor hardware to blame for the TouchPad failing to unseat the iPad 2? We don't think so. Sure, the TouchPad's hardware might have been sub-par, and proved frustrating for the team developing software for it, but if the iPad 2's success teaches us anything it's that software -- not hardware -- is king.
The iPad 2's greatest strength isn't that it's the most powerful bit of kit -- that's something Motorola learned to its chagrin with the Xoom, which had more hardware than B&Q, including iPad 2-beating cameras, loads of connectivity options and a dual-core processor. Instead, the reason the iPad 2 is so successful is that its iOS software is attractive, blissfully simple to use and most importantly is jam-packed with apps.
We were impressed by webOS, but it's a new operating system that has a radically less impressive app selection than the iPad, or even an Android tablet. So regardless of its potential to be brilliant, in terms of whether you should actually buy one right now, the TouchPad is incredibly hard to recommend.
We think blaming the TouchPad's hardware for its failure is a bit of a cop-out, and an oversimplification to boot. It's a tough time to launch a new operating system, but we don't think companies will make it any easier on themselves by obsessing over things like processor speed, which the average consumer couldn't give two hoots about.
What do you think? Are you sorry to see webOS down the tubes? Let us know in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page.