The new HP TouchPad -- do you care?
I finally got around to reading up on the HP TouchPad today. It sounds like a pretty decent device, one that differentiates itself technologically from the Apple iPad and Android tablets in certain ways.
But it represents a fourth signficant mobile/tablet platform (behind Apple, Android, BlackBerry) that tech consumers have to wrap their brains and fingers around. Even though HP, which bought Palm, is dovetailing its tablet with the Pre smartphone, is it too late to the game for it to draw market share from the iPad juggernaut?
Here's what's cool about the TouchPad: It runs on the tablet version of WebOS, which has been critically acclaimed as a well-oiled response to Apple's iOS. The tablet incorporates some pretty nifty wireless features that connects a Pre smartphone to the tablet wirelessly. You can touch the phone to the tablet and share web pages, for instance. And you can wirelessly charge the TouchPad.
And if a call or text comes in on your Pre, you can receive it on the tablet. That's cool. To boost its attractiveness to smartphone-using consumers who mostly have BlackBerry, Android and iPhones, HP should consider enabling that feature with non-HP phones, if technically possible.
The other thing that is appealing is the app switching interface that webOS offers. For high-use multi-taskers, webOS purportedly enables app switching that is smoother than the iOS/Android experience, many think. (My experience has been with a first-gen Palm Pre -- the app switching, I found, was good, but not necessarily a make-or-break reason to adopt the platform.)
The TouchPad price is $499 for a tablet (16GB version) that offers video chat and Wi-Fi; but there isn't a 3G option yet, the way Apple and some Android tablets offer. HP said it will soon partner with AT&T for a 3G version later this summer.
Pre-ordering begins June 19, and the TouchPad will hit stores on July 1.
All in all, I worry that HP's tablet offering will essentially be competing for third place in the market, against BlackBerry and its Playbook, and behind Apple and Android.
But it is good to see a company as big as HP staking its claim in the space and continuing to drive innovation.
Expect to see Apple adopt (er, "borrow"? hehe) some of the innovations that HP is bringing with webOS and the TouchPad.
Here's a video of the TouchPad:
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