HP webOS TouchPad First Thoughts


HP held their big webOS event today, in which they detailed how the computer powerhouse intends to leverage their Palm acquisition in 2011. As expected, they’re taking the luscious webOS experience beyond the smartphone… to printers, tablets, and computers (!). But what interests me most is that tablet play.

The newly announced webOS TouchPad not only borrows from iPad nomenclature, but bears a strong physical resemblance (both size and weight) to Apple’s successful touch-centric tablet… right on down to a single centered physical home screen button. Of course, there’s also a front facing camera as video conferencing is all the rage these days. And, as you’d expect from newer hardware, the TouchPad ships with a sprightly, modern (dual core) processor.

On the software side, webOS 3.0 seems to operate as you’d expect. Although their well done alert system visuals have been slightly relocated. Related, and unlike the iPad’s mostly minimalist title/info bar, the TouchPad more resembles an Android phone or tablet. However, where as I find Android to be a patchwork of apps and UIs, webOS has always presented an attractive, unified look & feel. On the app front, it looks like HP is making up for lost time by actively soliciting new partners (Kindle, Skype, Time Magazine) to flesh out their ecosystem.

Speaking of ecosystem, HP intends to launch the TouchPad with some key accessories including the requisite wireless keyboard and case. More interesting is the re-envisioning or evolution of Palm’s Touchstone inductive charging technology into a TouchPad tablet stand (pic, bottom center). No cables? Hot!

Of the highly anticipated new tablets (Android Motorola Xoom, Blackberry Playbook), I have to say HP’s TouchPad interests me most… after the iPad 2. Unfortunately, other than “summer” we just don’t know when it’ll hit or for how much. And by the time we do, I may have already made my tablet purchase for the year.

11 thoughts on “HP webOS TouchPad First Thoughts”

  1. You hit the nail on the dead. A release date of sometime this summer will likely kill any buzz they have going right now. I thought HP was going to stop making announcements for products it didn’t have.


  2. Thanks for the gesture area correction. Will tweak the post when I’m at a computer in the AM. Disappointing. Although, maybe not practical given all the ways one holds a tablet?

  3. as someone who has a love for iOS… i’m glad someone is going to at challenge apple at feature set and experience… even if they don’t do great… it helps push innovation.

    I want that symbiotic relationship between my iPhone 5 and iPad 2 (or 3 if you read some reports today of both coming out this year.)

  4. Aside from pricing and availability, the biggest concern is 3rd party development. I am looking to get a tablet at some point this year. The Playbook (as a Blackberry user) and HP look very tempting, but regardless of specs without robust development of 3rd party apps I don’t see any reason to choose them over an iPad or Android tablet (or get something like the W7 Asus EEE slate where Apps are irrelevant).

  5. DamianP — Just curious what apps you feel are the most important? Or what apps do you feel differentiate these OSs?

  6. Keefer – for example I just jailbroke my wife’s iPad and was able to install XBMC (this is nice not only from a GUI standpoint but now the iPad is responsible for handling multiple formats instead of stressing my WHS to do the transcoding via AirVideo). Of course this may not matter depending on what video/audio codecs HP/Playbook will support. We also have subsonic installed which allows us to stream music from my WHS to the iPad/iPod/iPhone, as well as using the iPxx as a remote to control various devices in the house (most important being Sonos but also used to control Dune players, PCH, etc…) Also, my wife and I have a lot of Apps installed on her iPad for my two sons (educational and games). So for me these are the two big areas for me (multimedia playback/support and educational), and this is what leaves me hesitant to look at the Playbook or HP until I can get a better sense of what Apps would look like.

  7. I just have to say that this looks amazing. WAY better than the Motorola Xoom.

    What makes it more attractive is not only the fresh, smooth and consistent WebOS operating system, but I hear the Xoom will come locked down. They say that if you do not subscribe to a data package with the Xoom for at least a month, the internal wifi is DISABLED. Nothing urks me more than a company who puts all the functionality in the device that you PAY FOR, and they DELIBERATELY disable these things. How would you like to buy a car where the steering wheel doesn’t work, unless you pay a monthly subscription fee? The Xoom is also $800. Yeah $800! The iPad is cheaper and has more refined apps.

    But this HP Tablet looks fresh and I’m interested in keeping my eye on where this thing goes. No wires to charge? Thats awesome in itself!

  8. No word on Netflix or Hulu? I’m excited to see more players in the tablet space, but I’m getting tired of all but only one being able to do Netflix and/or Hulu

  9. It’s something of a catch-22 I suspect… The apps we want will eventually come to the successful platforms. But can a platform find success without those apps? Netflix is a done deal for Android. I suspect Hulu as well. Beyond that, who knows.

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