Thursday, April 21, 2011

Introducing the HP TouchPad

After months of rumor, speculation, and leaks, announced at HP's February 9th webOS event was the webOS iPad killer - the HP Touchpad.  Packing a similar, but more curvy design than the iPad, the two tablets go head to head with most specs:  They both have 9.7" glass screens with 1024 by 768 pixel, and like the iPad 2 - the Touchpad uses new pixel-on-glass screen technology.

Armageddon Squadron II has been
demoed on the Touchpad to show
its ability for 3D gaming.
Like the iPad 2, the HP TouchPad has a dual core processor, but while the new iPad's processor is clocked at 1 GHz, the TouchPad is clocked at 1.2 GHz.  The Qualcom Snapdragon dual-CPU APQ8060 1.2 GHz is accompanied by Qualcomm's Adreno 220 GPU, which may not be a dual-core GPU like the iPad 2 has in its A5 system on a chip, but still is fast enough for a fluid tablet experience and to smoothly run Armageddon Squadron II.  Also, while the iPad 2 only has 512MB of RAM (compared with only 256MB of RAM on the original iPad), the HP TouchPad doubles that with 1GB of RAM on the device.

Audio on the device is going to shine, with stereo speakers and HP beats audio powering it. Compare that to the iPad, which has a single mono-speaker.

The Touchpad's front facing camera
can be used for video chats.
Unlike most new tablets on the market, the TouchPad does not include a rear-facing camera.  It does however have a 1.2MP front-facing camera, compared to the .3MP (VGA) front facing camera on the iPad 2.   The Touchpad is currently announced to only be available in 16GB or 32GB storage capacities, opting not to include a 64GB version at this time but that the device will have "gigabytes of cloud storage."

Now for the form factor of the device:  Looking identical to the iPad but with a more curved design, the TouchPad weighs a little more, and is a little thicker.  At 13.7 mm thick, less than 1mm thicker than the original iPad and about half a centimeter thicker than the new iPad, I don't see girth being much of a problem.  Weight on the hand might be an issue - weighing more than 100 grams more than the iPad 2.  Though this might be a non-issue, as reviewers have said it feels better to hold than the iPad.
The Touchpad will be able to charge
wirelessly on its stand.

In my opinion the best part of the tablet is wireless charging.  Just set the tablet down on the stand and it will charge, in either portrait or landscape mode. This is probably the coolest feature about webOS smartphones, so I'm glad they incorporated it into the tablet.  When charging, the tablet will automatically open up Exhibition Mode.  The best way to describe it is just a "screensaver, but with useful information."

The web browser on the HP Touchpad has been refined,
and the virtual keyboard is just like a physical keyboard -
with a number row at the top.
The software looks like familiar webOS, but formatted to utilize more screen real estate.  It looks like HP opted to use Bing Maps rather than Google Maps as a default in 3.0, but hopefully users will get the option of both.  All the apps have been redesigned to utilize screen space, and come across as clean and elegant.  The virtual keyboard on the tablet is like a full sized keyboard with a number row at the top, not just a large smartphone keyboard  There is also a "next" button on the virtual keyboard, taking a user to the next form to fill out, like the TAB button on a PC.

Touch-to-share allows one to send a webpage from the
tablet to the phone or vice-versa.
Another cool feature is "Touch-To-Share", allowing the new smartphones, the Veer and Pre 3, to share webpages with the tablet by just touching the phone to the home button on the tablet.  The webpage automatically loads on the other device, and HP says that this will be incorporated to share maps and other data as well.

Now after writing up what's cool about the tablet, what's disappointing?  For me the first thing is the tablet's back is a glossy plastic, like a cheap laptop rather than a glass back like the iPad.  Other issues I have are a lack of an SD card slot, no information on whether or not the tablet will act as a USB host, no 64 GB option yet, or HDMI output.  Also, the tablet's lack of gesture areas takes away from the core webOS experience in my opinion. 

Overall, I think there are a lot of great things coming in this tablet and I can't wait for it to be released.  Battery life and pricing were not announced, but were said to be comparable with the iPad.  The tablet is scheduled to be released this June.

Here are some videos of the TouchPad:
HP's official video for the Touchpad:


  1. Look cool, You going to do a review or talk about the blackberry one? I'm really interested in that.

  2. I'm planning on getting the Playbook by the end of next month. I'll do a review of it once I get it. :)

  3. Looks really slick, I hoping to get one in the next few weeks

  4. I love HP stuff and that pad looks sick!

  5. Tablets are nice, but I think I'll save up for when they come out with the computer from Minority Report.

  6. I think the wireless charging function should be a standard. Also touch to share - this thing is genious!
    following you for more webOS goodies.

  7. I've played with this thing and it's pretty cool... Following...

  8. good to see some competition for apple

  9. very nice, glad to see another alternative to Apple's crippled garbage