Desktops and Notebooks: HP TouchPad a Solid Platform for webOS
HPs 9.7-inch TouchPad is the companys entrant into the burgeoning tablet market. Its success or failure will help determine the viability of webOS, the operating system that HP acquired in its takeover of Palm. HP plans to port webOS onto desktops and laptops in addition to tablets and smartphones.
Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad is a huge bet for the company, not only with regard to the tablet market (where it will compete with a large number of Google Android devices and Apple's bestselling iPad) but also as a testing ground for the company's webOS operating system, which will eventually appear in desktops and laptops. The TouchPad's webOS 3.0 will be familiar to anyone who's used Google Android or Apple's iOS, although some aspects are unique enough to warrant a learning curve. The operating system places heavy emphasis on multitasking, as well as finger-swiping to navigate the user interface. The initial lineup of baked-in apps includes email, calendar, chat, photos, maps, Adobe Reader, Quickoffice, and a few others; there are also more than 4,450 apps in the HP App Catalog. Unlike other tablets on the market, the TouchPad forgoes the rear-facing camera in favor of a single 1.3-megapixel lens embedded in the front. The interface certainly feels polished, although every application seems to require a few seconds' worth of loading time before it actually runssomething HP executives have suggested will be fixed in future over-the-air software and app catalog updates. Overall, though, the TouchPad represents a solid start for HP. In the United States, HP is offering the 16GB version of the TouchPad for $499.99, and the 32GB version for $599.99. It is WiFi-only for the moment, although additional connectivity is expected in future versions.