HPs 9.7-inch TouchPad is the companys entrant into the burgeoning tablet market. Its success or failure will help determine the viability of webOS, the operating system that HP acquired in its takeover of Palm. HP plans to port webOS onto desktops and laptops in addition to tablets and smartphones.
WebOS is similar to other tablet interfaces, such as Apples iOS and Google Android, at least when it comes to things like the grid-like screens of individual apps. As with Research In Motions PlayBook tablet, the TouchPad puts heavy emphasis on swiping gestures and multitasking.??Ã
The TouchPads screen offers 1024 x 768 resolution, perfectly sound for the current generation of tablets.
The TouchPads initial lineup of baked-in apps includes email, calendar, chat, photos, maps, Adobe Reader, Quickoffice, and a few others. Combined with the Facebook app and Angry Birds, thats more than enough for most consumers to start.
The TouchPads multitasking lets users swipe through thumbnail images of running apps, then tapping on the one they want to activate. You can draw a finger upward from the bottom rim to minimize an application, before flicking to banish it.
Here is the TouchPads virtual keyboard.
What would a tablet be without access to Angry Birds?
The webOS ecosystem boasts a relatively small number of apps at the outset, with the HP App Catalog listing 4,450 new ones.
Although HPs tablet boasts a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, the user interface feels slow. Every application seems to require a few seconds worth of loading time before it actually runs.
The TouchPads battery will last around five or six hours, depending on intensity of use.
The TouchPad supports both Adobe Flash and HTML5, opening much of the Web for cruising.
The TouchPad weighs 1.6 pounds, a bit heavier than the iPad 2 at 1.3 pounds and Samsungs Galaxy Tab 10.1 at 1.24 pounds. It also feels thicker than those tablets, perhaps because of the softly rounded edges and sloping back.
Unlike other tablets on the market, which come with a charger cord, the TouchPad includes a Touchstone adjustable stand for plugin-free charging.
A Bit Bulkier
The charging stand is a little bulkier than a standard tablet charger. Those who travel frequently with a tablet, without a lot of space in their bag, may find themselves a little frustrated with having to devote a few more cubic inches of room to HPs latest innovation.