Hewlett-Packard has pushed an over-the-air update for its TouchPad, designed to tweak many of the issues cited by reviewers upon the tablet's initial release.
HP webOS system update 3.0.2 offers faster scrolling for email, quicker handling for some calendar features, improved performance for Web scrolling and auto-correction, and the ability to set wallpapers. There are also some bug fixes to music playback and screen rotation, as well as security patches.
Using a review TouchPad provided by HP, eWEEK found that downloading and installing the update took around 20 minutes. Following that process, the user interface felt a little faster and smoother than previously, although it may take some time to fully gauge the impact of the update.
Many early reviews of the TouchPad, which launched July 1, focused on the webOS 3.0 operating system, which emphasizes multitasking (with thumbnail windows to denote which applications are currently running) along with finger-swiping as a navigation gesture. Drawing a finger upward from the bottom rim will minimize an application, while flicking will banish it entirely. The TouchPad boasted a relatively small number of applications at the outset (the HP App Catalog currently lists 4,904 apps), but HP hopes developers will gravitate to the platform in coming months.
In its initial review, eWEEK described the TouchPad as a work in progress, albeit one more polished than other Apple iPad competitors currently on the market. Although HP's tablet boasts a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, we zeroed in on the slowness of the user interface, and how every application seemed to require a few seconds' worth of loading time before it actually ran.
The TouchPad's lineup of baked-in applications includes email, calendar, chat, photos, maps, Adobe Reader, Quickoffice and a few others. Combined with the Facebook application and Angry Birds, that's more than enough to start for most consumers. HP is also pushing the TouchPad as an enterprise device, although it remains to be seen whether business-minded developers will create large numbers of applications for webOS.
"You've also seen that reviews rightly note things we need to improve about the webOS experience," Jon Rubinstein, the HP executive widely credited as the driving force behind webOS, wrote in an internal memo that leaked onto the Web around the time of the TouchPad's release. "The good news is that most of the issues they cite are already known to us and will be addressed in short order by over-the-air software and app catalog updates."
Those updates have evidently started to arrive.