HP’s New TouchPad Takes Aim at the iPad

If you missed it earlier, HP had a big event and announcement. The company unveiled its new line of webOS devices. Later this year customers will be able to pick up a revamped, HP-branded Pre, called the Pre 3, a new micro sized phone called the Veer, and a new iPad rival dubbed the TouchPad. While both the smartphones models deserve attention, the HP TouchPad stole the spotlight. The tablet features a dual-core 1.2Ghz ARM processor, 9.7-inch 1024×768 display, 16/32GB of storage, 1.3MP webcam for video chat, Beats Audio, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+ EDR, gyro, accelerometer, and compass. The enclosure is 13.7mm thick and weighs about a pound and a half.

To get a better idea of what the webOS tablet experience is like, make your way over to Engadget’s liveblog or check out the full event video below (1hr 49min). You’ll see that webOS shares a lot similarities to iOS on the iPad, but webOS has nifty features the competition doesn’t. For example, webOS has taken its online multi-account sync prowess and expanded it to multi-devices. Owners of webOS smartphones and tablets can easily move between devices and have all their info, media, and mobile notifications sync’d up. What’s more, webOS can share web links and other content from one device to another with a function they call “touch-to-share”. Just swipe your Pre or Veer over the TouchPad and the handset’s opened web page will launch on the tablet’s browser (or vice versa). Another neat trick is that the Veer, Pre, and TouchPad all go into “Exhibition” mode when set on the Touchstone charger or stand, providing a clock and notifications or photo slideshow. And then there’s, of course, webOS’ advanced multitasking features that just seems leaps ahead of what everyone else is doing.

Overall, I think HP’s webOS-powered TouchPad has a fighting chance against Apple’s iPad, in terms of general likability, usability, and eye-candy. Now we just have to wait and see if the developers will come. So far support from the magazine, eBook, game industry seems to be positive, as shown by the partners HP brought on stage at today’s event. On the other hand, it’s starting to become clear that we’re seeing two tablet segments forming: Consumer (Apple iPad, HP TouchPad) and Business/Casual (Blackberry Playbook, Motorola XOOM/Android Honeycomb). If you’re looking for drop-dead simple with a pretty interface, both iOS and webOS are taking the lead.



Aside: HP says webOS will be coming to desktop and notebook PCs later this year. One report states that webOS will be an app that will launch on top of Windows like HP’s TouchSmart interface. However, I think many are hoping that HP will push webOS to the PC as a cloud-based OS much like Chrome OS or Jolicloud. Stay tuned.

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Filed in: Portable Media Players