Well, it was always about the tablet really. webOS phones have come and gone in the past with little delight, but it’s never before been seen on a tablet. But, it’s here. The HP TouchPad is here. Running webOS, obviously, and sporting a quite honestly stunning design, it’s nothing less than a dream machine.
Size wise, it will be familiar to iPad owners being 9.7″ diagonally, and 13.7mm thick, as the rumours suggested it would be.
Inside, though, it’s a different story altogether. Running on a brand new dual core Snapdragon 1.2GHz CPU, it’s far and away more powerful than the iPad (though bear in mind it is due an upgrade soon), it has twice the memory of the Pre 2, 3 and Veer, and again, twice the storage, 16GB or 32GB being the options.
Connectivity-wise, it has Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1+ EDR, and other features include a Gyro, accelerometer and digital compass. Obviously these features come in handy when playing games etc. and using certain apps too.
The speakers are also worth nothing. Stereo ‘Beats Audio’ technology built in, though this is sometimes a bit of a facade for something which actually isn’t bearable without headphones.
HP has also shown off a bit of webOS running on the tablet. There is obviously the standard multitasking facility that webOS offers in the ‘cards’ style running in stacks, which is probably my favourite implementation of multitasking on a mobile OS thus far, as well as a panelled mail application quite similar to that in iOS.
In terms of layout, it’s very similar, if not identical to how it is on a phone, and notifications are thrown in at the top right corner. The press shots of the OS in action are simply gorgeous, although the lack of developer support does take it down a notch when compared to iOS, and even Android. The calendar application isn’t original, neither is the keyboard; it bears a remarkable resemblance to iOS, but all in all it looks like a great implementation.
One of the more interesting aspects is the introduction of Adobe Flash to the tablet, which is of course not featured in the iPad, much to the distaste of users I’m sure. Books, newspapers, magazine subscriptions and various other functions of the software, such as video calling and QuickOffice were also shown off on stage. The video calling obviously requires a camera, which HP has provided in the form of a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera.
There area also accessories for the tablet, such as a wireless keyboard and stand, which makes it almost a perfect portable, fold-away, PC setup, similar to a lot of what we’ve seen for the iPad. I was thinking, too, that it would have been preferable for a kickstand rather than having to carry a stand, but then I took another look at the design of the thing, and swiftly changed my mind in favour of keeping the unit unblemished.
Stunning. That’s all there is to say. It’s remarkable, really, how far webOS has come, and I love the platform so much that with this hardware too it would be a shame, no a catastrophe, if the dev support continued to fail to such an extent that it’s not a viable option. Having said that, with full web capabilities, it’s a darn sight easier to get by without apps on a tablet than a phone.
HP is also coming close to building a complete ecosystem of mobile devices, much like the iOS range, which in itself puts all devices in a much more commercially viable place, with apps only having to be bought the once in most cases. Let’s hope that’s the case here too.
Do you think that HP’s TouchPad can compete with Apple’s iPad and other tablets on the market, or is it simply too late to the game? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!