Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad tablet is arriving in U.S. store shelves July 1. The device runs the company's webOS, which will also appear on its PCs and smartphones.
Hewlett-Packard will begin rolling out the WiFi-only version
of its TouchPad tablet July 1, according to the company.
In the United States, HP will offer the 16GB version of the
device for $499.99, and the 32GB for $599.99. The company plans on releasing
what it calls a "connected" version of the TouchPad, which presumably means 3G
capability, at an undefined date later this summer.
The 9.7-inch TouchPad relies on a 1.2GHz dual-core
processor, faster than a significant portion of the tablets already on the
market. Since unveiling the tablet in February, HP has been pushing it as an
all-in-one device, equally capable of running apps and games, displaying
e-books and periodicals, and Web-cruising with Adobe Flash and HTML5 support.
The TouchPad runs the webOS operating system, which HP acquired along with Palm
"What makes HP TouchPad a compelling alternative to
competing products is webOS," Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president and general
manager of HP's Palm Global Business Unit. "The platform's unmatched features
and flexibility will continue to differentiate HP products from the rest of the
market for both personal and professional use. This is only the beginning of
what HP's scale can do with webOS."
The TouchPad faces substantial competition on a number of
fronts. In addition to Apple's iPad franchise, which currently occupies the
lion's share of the consumer tablet market, a variety of manufacturers continue
to push Android-equipped tablets. Research In Motion is also promoting its BlackBerry-branded
PlayBook tablet, which uses a QNX-based proprietary operating system, and
Microsoft will likely release tablets running the next version of Windows
sometime in 2012. In other words, HP is entering a very crowded arena against
some of the biggest names in tech.
Nonetheless, the manufacturer has ambitious plans for webOS.
In addition to the TouchPad and a revived Palm smartphone line, the company
plans to load the operating system onto its desktops and laptops, and
eventually license it to other manufacturers.
"I happen to believe that webOS is a uniquely outstanding
operating system," HP CEO Leo Apotheker told an audience at AllThingsD's D9
conference in San Francisco, according to a June
2 Reuters report. "It's not correct to believe that it should only be on HP
HP's plans could offer substantial benefits for the company,
according to some analysts. "webOS is HP's Trojan horse to marry cloud, mobile
and social," Ray Wang, principal analyst of Constellation Research, wrote in an
email to eWEEK. "It's a smart move in leveraging an underused asset."
The first PCs dual-loaded with webOS will apparently begin
shipping in 2012.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.