SmartphoneMag’s Nate Adcock recently posted an article called “What happened to the iPAQ”. His core point is that iPAQ’s look boring compared to devices like the HTC boxen, and that HP should spice up its graphics department to make its handhelds “cool” again.

Even though HP had some excellent consumer handhelds like my beloved rx4240, Nate IMHO still missed the point. HP is a B2B company that caters to businesses – and corporate IT departments couldn’t care less about stuff like TouchFLO. For them, every extra app is more support hassle…and the more an app looks like Windows 2000, the better.

The lack of upgrades has actually surprised me to some extent, as Compaq has traditionally had long model cycles with excellent spare/software update supplies (sometimes lasting over ten years). The reason why HP eventually stopped to offer WM upgrades IMHO was a sort of stand-still at Microsoft’s…the changes in WM 6 were not considered important enough by many to warrant the hassle of an effortful upgrade.

Thus, a generation or two went by without upgrades…and HP fell into the same mind set when Windows Mobile 6.1 hit the scene. But: WM 6.1 is completely different. Even though it looks bland from the outside, IT departments love it due to the addition of a central management server that allows WM devices to be managed remotely with ease.

And this is where the hare is buried. IT departments don’t care about design, coolness or duffergile – for them, a device must be easy to maintain. WM 6.1 gives competitors devices a real advantage here…an advantage that HP IMHO will not be able to ignore on the long run…

As for the current devices: I am sorry, but I don’t think that HP will offer upgrades for these unless huge movements happen in the market. However, I am pretty sure that the boys in blue will eventually rediscover old (IBM-American) values – it (hopefully) is a question of time…

What do you think?

P.S. In case anyone feels like asking about entertainment iPAQ’s – these probably are done for good. The competition is way to intense here…

Related posts:

  1. Re-Run: Do you speak iPaq
  2. No Windows Mobile 6.1 for existing iPaq’s
  3. Do you speak Windows Mobile
  4. HP speaks iPAQ – the Rudolf Gruber interview
  5. ipaq 600/ipaq 900, new details available

One Response to “Do you speak iPAQ?”

  1. [...] Hanna Traditionally, HP’s iPaq handhelds were targeted to businesses: our recent editorial on speaking iPaq covered this issue. However, HP now feels like entering the consumer market once again (after [...]

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