HP's TouchPad Might Be iPad's Top Challenger: 10 Reasons Why

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-06-02 Print this article Print

News Analysis: HP's TouchPad is still a few months away from release, but it has the features and design points that could make this tablet the biggest threat to the iPad yet.

Hewlett-Packard has been saying for quite some time now that it has big plans for the tablet space. And earlier this year, it took the first step in proving that with the announcement of its TouchPad tablet. The device will include the company's new WebOS platform, a 9.7-inch display and several other features that HP says will make it a force to be reckoned with in the tablet market.

Of course, Apple fans who currently enjoy running their iPads disagree. They see HP as yet another in a long line of companies that doesn't understand what today's tablet buyer is after. As a result, they believe in no uncertain terms that the TouchPad will die an early death as it tries and fails to compete with their beloved iPad.

However, those folks might be wrong. There are undoubtedly several devices in the tablet space that won't be able to match the iPad 2. But the TouchPad might prove to be different. In fact, the TouchPad might just be Apple's top competitor in the mobile market when it launches over the summer.

Read on to find out why:

1. HP understands the value of hardware design

Though it might have taken it too long to get there, HP eventually realized the value of a good hardware design in the computing space after Apple's MacBooks started flying off store shelves. Now, HP's laptops are among some of the better-designed PCs on the market. Building upon that, HP has delivered an appealing design with the 9.7-inch TouchPad. The device has a nice, black bezel, it's thin and lightweight, and it appears to have the kind of design points that consumers are looking for in a tablet design. That alone gives it an advantage over uglier competitors.

2. HP controls software design

The secret to Apple's success has been control over its mobile operating system, iOS. Other companies, like Motorola and Samsung, have been using Google's Android. HP is a different story. Like Apple, the tech giant has its own, unique operating system that it controls, WebOS, which it acquired in its buyout of Palm. That should help it deliver more unique features and offer updates more quickly than tablet makers that rely upon Android. WebOS could prove to be central to the TouchPad competing well against the iPad 2.

3. PC plans are important

HP has also said it plans to bring WebOS to its line of PCs. Considering the company sells millions of PCs every year, that simple addition could prove integral to its ability to compete against Apple in the tablet market. After all, if consumers and enterprise customers try out WebOS on a laptop and like what they find, they might be far more willing to buy a tablet running the operating system. Bringing WebOS to PCs is a smart move on HP's part.

4. The device has the must-have big display

Part of the reason for Apple's success in the tablet market has been the iPad's big, 9.7-inch display. Too many other companies, like Samsung and Dell, have delivered devices with small, 7-inch screens that fail to deliver an experience that consumers want. HP has gone with a 9.7-inch screen of its own in the TouchPad. It might not be a major addition, but it at least removes one advantage Apple has enjoyed against many of its other competitors.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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