The HP TouchPad Needs Developers, Not Russell Brand

If HP wants to succeed in , it needs more developers, and not necessarily a sales pitch from celebrity Russell Brand.

The English actor is serving as the spokesperson for HP's webOS tablet, starring in a series of commercials () that offer a humorous look at some of the major features of the tablet. Brand walks users through summaries of the major functionality of the tablet with a balance of glowing marketing-speak and humor.

The problem here is the same as with RIM's approach to marketing the PlayBook. Consumers don't care about "true multitasking," "type to share," "synergy," or surfing with Flash. Businesses care even less about these things.

What they care about is what they can do with the device. And today, that's defined more so by the ecosystem of developers around the device than it is by the manufacturers of the device itself.

have largely usurped the smartphone space from RIM by focusing on making it easy for applications of all kinds--from Angry Birds to SAP. This transition largely powered the tsunami of the consumerization of IT where new technology products, particularly mobile devices, come into the workplace with the end user and are integrated into the existing IT infrastructure. That megatrend is one of the few shaping technology today, and has mitigated a good part of what could have been HP's advantage in the tablet space for business--the acceptance and buy-in of IT professionals.

Still, HP's got several advantages. It's got loyal customers at all sizes of business in a range of products, and a huge network of providers that work with small businesses to create full technology solutions. Those two factors alone could make the TouchPad a formidable business device.