HP TouchPad Looks Promising, but Will Buyers Wait for It?

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2011-02-10 Print this article Print

Analysis: HP's Palm team has put its heart and soul into the TouchPad, and it has impressive capabilities. But it likely will have to find its own customer base.

SAN FRANCISCO-You never know how significant a product launch event can be. Fresh in mind was a big one Feb. 9 here at the Fort Mason waterfront for HP's two new webOS-driven smartphones and the TouchPad tablet PC.

This might turn out to be one of the most important launches in HP's long and celebrated history because it brings the corporation into the 21st century with its connected mobile devices. Or it could be the introduction of a real flop; an example of an event in the latter category was the Jan. 5, 2010, big-news launch of Google's first smartphone-the Nexus One.

Did that first Google phone ever crash and burn! Google shelved it by April, and the first ones were seen being resold by early buyers for $100 or less a few weeks later. Two biggest problems: The touch screen didn't work very well (too many repeated actions needed) and Google decided to sell it online only.

Most people want to have a phone in their hands to determine whether they like its look, feel and performance before they invest in it. For the record, Google and the manufacturer, HTC, learned some lessons and made improvements, and a new and improved Nexus is now on the market. We'll see if it sells.

New HP Devices Appear to Be Winners

Back to present day. HP's Pre3 and Veer smartphones look like successful instruments, and so does the new TouchPad. The biggest news certainly was the introduction of the TouchPad, which embodies a lot of capabilities the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy and other tablets simply cannot touch at this time.

For example, it will sport a videocam, a full suite of office productivity software and much better multitasking capability than any current competitor. It sports wonderful e-mail, photo/video and music (Beats Audio) capabilities. It is not relegated to one browser; it also supports Flash.

Sync-up with other devices will be easy; for example, to sync one of the phones with a TouchPad, all a user needs to do is touch the two devices together, and wow-they can share e-mail, video and other applications.

There's a long list of cool features that many people will like and want to buy.  See this slideshow for more details.

However, the TouchPad won't be available until summer 2011; that's quite awhile for people to wait. In the meantime, Apple will be out before that with its iPad 2, which is expected to include some-if not all-of the features noted above.

We're not even going to mention all the new Android tablets that also will be on store shelves by the time TouchPads come out.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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