Consumers have to be educated

Yesterday John Gruber wrote a short article about the imminent release of the HP TouchPad.

He argues that the Touchpad seems to be the most compelling iPad competitor so far, but HP will have to wage an uphill battle:

I think the problem facing HP is summed up in the sub-head on this promotional page:

The ultimate in entertainment with Beats Audio and Adobe Flash.

That’s not a compelling answer to “Why should I buy this instead of an iPad?” I mean, who has even heard of “Beats Audio”?

I agree that the TouchPad will have to prove itself; a task not easily accomplished in a market dominated by the iPad. I don’t agree however with the assumption that the TouchPad has no differentiating features that would answer the above question.

Just like Apple had to tell consumers why the iPod/iPhone/iPad will make their lives easier, HP is going to have to educate consumers about what the TouchPad does and what it does that the iPad does not do. A consumer-centric feature like improved audio characteristics sound like a good argument to me, at the very least to grab people’s attention.

A well-made series of commercials — let’s call it Apple-y — focusing on what the TouchPad can do for the potential buyer would be a good start.

Alex Hoffmann @mangochutney