Today HP announced their long awaited webOS tablet entry the TouchPad, as well as a new smartphone the Pre 3. The TouchPad looks great and has some impressive specs & features although many question how this will stack up against the iPad and growing list of tablet competitors. One of the typical objections that come up by pundits is the comparison to how many apps are available for iPad and Android. Certainly this will be a factor in some decisions about personal usage and if a prospective customer has a favorite app it needs to be available on webOS for consideration. However if the use cases are more about internet surfing, photos, email and access to work apps then the sheer number of applications should not be the prime consideration, even if there are hundreds of thousands of iPad and Android apps. Others will debate “yet another mobile OS” and whether ISV’s and developers can be enticed to support the HP re-invigorated webOS platform. This dilemma is valid for app developers having to choose between iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, etc. However for companies looking to deliver apps to employees this does not need to be a major issue.
When it comes to using the HP TouchPad tablet for work, the killer app they can count on is Citrix Receiver, the universal client for corporate application access. More than 100 Million people use Citrix Receiver to access their work apps every day. 500,000 apps sounds like a big number but consider every commercial Windows app available plus all the custom apps built by the millions of in house Visual Studio developers. Add to that customized Excel templates with macros, Access databases and Word document forms plus the thousands of company web apps that require IE or some specialized browser plug-in. These are all the apps that companies depend on everyday and employees need access to in order to be productive. As long as those apps are hosted on XenDesktop or XenApp they can be delivered to any TouchPad tablet equipped with Citrix Receiver.
The Citrix Receiver under development currently works with WebOS on PalmPre devices now and will be available for the TouchPad and Pre 3 when shipping. The HP Veer looks interesting but may be too small to optimize Receiver for with a 2.6 inch display. We will be focusing on including many of the native webOS UX and gestures of the TouchPad to bridge the gap to enterprise apps hosted on Citrix. The TouchPad 9.7 inch display with 1024×768 resolution should provide a great experience for most apps. For the Pre 3, unaltered apps will work, but we will recommend Mobile app optimizations to provide the best experice with the 3.6 inch display. Let us know if you plan to give the TouchPad or Pre 3 a look and what apps you care about using with the new devices.