Tuesday, October 04, 2011

New ideas for WebOS Part 2

This is Part 2 of ideas of what to do with WebOS. For HP or whoever owns WebOS by now. Read Part 1 here.

Go vertical in Business
The Blackberry Playbook is a dud by all accounts. So why not a make a proper business tablet? There is a market for it even though Apple would like you to not think of them. A real business tablet that actually has a proper mail client that works with normal mail servers. Offer a ultra-high security communications back-end service that offers premium features, such as guaranteed delivery and end-to-end encryption. What does that have to do with WebOS? Not much. What does that have to do with selling the tablet? Everything. Businesses love security and centralized management. Neither are available in other tablets platforms.
Especially centralized management. It is the most counter intuitive idea to the tablet concept. The tablet is about mobility and connectivity. But fleet management is a big reason why business opt for Blackberry phones. Remote service provisioning and data security. Bring that idea to the tablet and you have a runaway hit.
Other business friendly features:  Instant Messaging so simple to use, it doesn't get in the way of the message while being secure end to end. And works with HP printers from the get go. Plus whatever a businessman would expect from a tablet on the go. Edit PowerPoint on WebOS? Cool.
Business is conducted everywhere and that is where a business tablet should work. So get the office / productivity apps to work right on the tablet. We'd don't like to think of it but there are times when we just can't connect to the network. Clouds are great but what can you do when it rains? We still need the device to work. Make office apps run on the tablet and push advanced options to the cloud. Most people use only 10% of the full capabilities of MsOffice anyway. Give them the right set of 15% and you're good to go.

Go vertical in Education
    When it comes to tablets, the education market is still wide open. iPads are there but their cost is prohibitive. So take that as an advantage and find revenues further down the chain. Think of the tablet as a service-enabler, much as the set-top box was supposed to be for cable TV. Make money on the hardware but cultivate a thriving market for educational software and services. Unlike the consumer market, when schools buy, they buy in bulk. Customize the app and service market to handle schools of all sizes as well as the home-schooled kids. Sell WebOS devices to publishers as a delivery tool. Whoever starts this at schools may have to pay for companies to come on board at the beginning. Don't charge too much for publishers but aim for gathering a mass market. Spend as much time building a community as you are building a market. Make it easy for people to share safely while offering paid services at many opportunities.
    The killer feature would be the ability to build a child-safe browsing environment with child-safe browsers (via a proxy connection to your subscription-based safe proxy service) or curated links at a predefined gateway. Build tools for collaborated learning for older kids while centralized controls would be nice for the younger set. Think of the teachers. Find ways or build products to be able to pull a particular tablet screen and put it on the big monitor or projected to the wall. Wirelessly. Or to turn off a tablet of an unruly kid until he behaves. Thrown in a lockable cart for charging and evening storage and you're golden.

    Combine a few from the above
    Vertical markets are always afraid of being trapped into buying a product that has limited appeal. The ideas is to invest in a product that everyone is using to leverage on consumer pricing. And pricing, as we have seen, will make or break the future of WebOS. So focus on the markets but offer the product on consumer channels. Sell to the consumer market by touting it's market specific features.

    I am sure my ideas are half cooked at best. I wish WebOS and the people who develop it and who will be supporting it all the success they deserve.

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