Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad is receiving early reviews that praise its hardware but suggest the webOS platform has some kinks in need of fixing.
Hewlett-Packard has quite a bit riding on the marketplace success of its TouchPad tablet, slated for a July 1 release.
The 9.7-inch device not only represents the manufacturer's attempt to carve off a piece of the burgeoning tablet market, but also the debut of the webOS operating system on a form-factor other than a smartphone. HP has plans to port webOS onto desktops and laptops in the future, which in turn places a lot of pressure on the TouchPad to demonstrate that the software platform is a viable one. (HP inherited WebOS when it purchased Palm for $1.2 billion in 2010, and plans to load it onto PCs by early 2012.)
In the United States, HP will offer the 16GB version of the device for $499.99, and the 32GB version for $599.99. The TouchPad relies on a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, faster than a significant portion of the tablets already on the market.
But how's the TouchPad faring in early reviews? The hardware's attracting praise, despite the lack of a rear-facing camera, but webOS seems to have some kinks begging to be worked out in the near-term. At least, that's the opinion of reviewers like AllThingsD's Walt Mossberg:
"I've been testing the TouchPad for about a week and, in my view, despite its attractive and different user interface, this first version is simply no match for the iPad," he wrote in his June 29 review
. "It suffers from poor battery life, a paucity of apps and other deficits."
After a round of testing, he concluded that the TouchPad's battery life "was only 60 [percent] that of the iPad 2," and that its app store boasts only 300 "tablet-optimized apps." He also needed to reboot in order to correct its sluggishness, an issue that HP claims it will fix with a future software update.
Macworld.com's Jason Snell seemed to agree with many of those points.
"HP has gotten a lot right here, but on the software side, it's just not all there yet," he wrote in his June 29 review
. "The interface isn't responsive enough, app launching is slow, and there are too many other quirks that scream that this is a 1.0 release of a tablet operating system."
The New York Times' David Pogue also advised caution when considering a TouchPad purchase.
"In this 1.0 incarnation, the TouchPad doesn't come close to being as complete or mature as the iPad or the best Android tablets," he wrote in his review
. "You'd be shortchanging yourself by buying one right now, unless you're some kind of rabid A.B.A. nut (Anything but Apple)."
Nonetheless, he added, "there are signs of greatness here. ... [Hewlett-Packard is] tilting at windmills-but at least it's riding an impressive steed."
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