HP Competing with Self
HP Competing with Itself
HP not only is competing with 80-plus other tablet PCs, but it also will be competing with itself. It was only in October 2010 that HP introduced its first Windows-based business-oriented tablet, the Slate 500, and soon it will have the TouchPad as an in-family competitor.
The Slate 500, which has a lot of good business features but garnered mixed reviews, turned out to not have the user-interface performance elegance (to say the least) of an iPad. Neither does the TouchPad, although it seems to be somewhat more responsive.
As a person who has tested all three devices (the TouchPad only very briefly, but long enough to register its look and feel), I did not experience a user interface nearly as smooth and responsive as Apple's. Frankly, I was hoping to, but HP/Palm isn't quite there yet. Of course, nobody else is at that level.
Touch performance was closer to the Slate's behavior, frankly. For example, when moving a document or Web page up and down the screen, or when making a document larger, the page slithers in sections like an accordion. That's not the way a new-gen interface should act-not with the smoothly moving, gold standard Apple UI helping sell millions of iPads each month.
Since there are still several months before TouchPads get into stores, perhaps the HP team can smooth it out a little. Overall, however, the device is an impressive one, and HP's Palm team should be congratulated.
Pricing will become a key factor when the TouchPad comes out. Apple's are bordering on expensive at $500 to $800; if HP can undercut those numbers by 20 percent or more, then the game will be on.
In summary, the TouchPad is a remarkably capable device and deserves a close look by anyone considering a tablet PC. But if you're already hooked on an iPad, you may be a difficult customer to sway.