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.