HP's TouchPad promises a sold entry into the growing tablet canon, second to Apple's iPad but well-positioned to challenge the Motorola Xoom and RIM PlayBook.
The tech world
was not exactly blown away by HP's TouchPad when the company introduced
the WiFi tablet Feb. 10, but most
analysts came away convinced the machine was a solid No. 2 entrant to chase
At a rumored
$699 price point, the TouchPad could be
more enticing than the alleged
$799 price tag on the Android 3.0-based
Motorola Xoom or Research in Motion's PlayBook, which is slated to be tethered
to Blackberry devices.
While the TouchPad
will eventually need to come in 3G and 4G versions, Forrester Research analyst
Sarah Rotman Epps said the device's 9.7-inch screen will make it easier for
developers to bring their applications over from the iPad.
The device is
with several features that differentiate
it from the current iPad. The short list includes: front-and-rear cameras for
video calling, multiple data ports, wireless printing capability and Touchstone
technology to let users share e-mail, video and other applications merely by
touching a phone to the TouchPad.
Of course, the
will launch by this spring, and the device
is expected to have a dual camera for Facetime chats and likely a USB port or
two. That would negate some of the advantages to the TouchPad.
HP also has
strong channel advantages over, say Android tablet makers such as Samsung or
Motorola, which are primarily relying on wireless carriers to sell their
Epps said a
recent survey of 4,000 U.S. online consumers revealed that 40 percent of
consumers said they'd prefer to buy a tablet from retailers like Best Buy,
compared to 11 percent who said they prefer to buy from a mobile-service
provider. Even so, she added that Apple's iPad enjoys placement not only in
Best Buy and other retailers but its own Apple
While HP has a strong consumer brand, webOS, which HP gleaned from its $1.2
billion acquisition of Palm, "is a complete unknown to consumers."
Most consumers prefer to have Microsoft Windows on a tablet compared to webOS.
product has a chance to beat RIM and any individual Android tablet, but not
Apple, not this year or next," Epps wrote
. "Consumers will consider the
TouchPad, and then buy an iPad. iPad sales will be the lion's share of the 24.1
million we forecast will sell to U.S. consumers in 2011."
some folks got hands-on demos after the launch. Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes
came away impressed
by the TouchPad's software and syncing
capabilities. With HP continuing to invest in Palm's Pre brand, it could
provide a good link between the tablet and future smartphones.
with a nice OS, we believe that HP's channel strength, link to its printing
franchise and overall brand strength could enable it to be one of the few
relevant tablet players far behind Apple over the long-term," he said.
Mark Moskowitz added: "For HP," he said, "we believe the initial
mission is to capture meaningful share among the non-iPad tablets, i.e.,
Android and Windows-based devices."
analyst consensus is clearly that the TouchPad is no iPad killer, it stands
well-positioned, versus the PlayBook, Xoom and a litany of other Android 3.0