HP announces its first webOS slate, the TouchPad

Attendees got more than they expected at HP’s press conference today. Not only did the company unleash its long-awaited webOS slate; it also gave folks a glimpse of two upcoming phones, the diminutive Veer and a third revision of the Pre. Phones are all well and good, but I was more excited about the TouchPad.

Now, HP doesn’t plan to have this puppy out in stores until the summer, and it has yet to announce pricing. That’s probably a smart move considering the iPad 2 should be debuting soon. Still, the TouchPad may well be the most polished iPad competitor yet. Just look at this video of it in action:

HP has crammed some nice hardware into this half-inch-thick slate. The 9.7″, 1024×768 touch screen conceals a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 16 to 32GB of flash storage, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, and a 6,300-mAH battery. There’s also a 1.3-megapixel camera, micro-USB 2.0 output, an ambient light sensor, an accelerometer, a compass, a gyroscope, a GPS, and built-in support for Touchstone inductive charging. The device runs a specially tailored version of webOS with full-fledged multitasking and Flash video playback capabilities.

Physically, the TouchPad is about the same size as the iPad—7.5″ x 9.5″ x 0.5″—and it weighs 1.6 lbs, just like the 3G-enabled version of the Apple device.

Mirroring Apple again, HP has arranged to have magazines and video content served up on the device. Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, and People will all be available, as will movies and TV shows through the HP Movie Store. There will be an Amazon Kindle app, too.

Among its other neat features, the TouchPad can act as a companion to a regular webOS phone, allowing you to answer calls or receive SMS messages. HP has implemented an all-in-one messaging application with support for SMS, Google Talk, AIM, and Yahoo Messenger, and the firm says it’s working with Quickoffice to integrate software for viewing and editing of Word and Excel documents.

It’s just too bad HP opted to brand this thing with the most generic, unimaginative trademark possible. TouchPad, really? HP already has its work cut out if it wants to establish itself amid the iPad and the deluge of Android 3.0 slates; naming its product after a generic input device doesn’t seem helpful.

Comments closed
    • wikkum
    • 9 years ago

    1990 called and they want their video template back.

      • Chrispy_
      • 9 years ago

      It’s not quite as bad as a school project done on Movie Maker, but it’s not far wrong….

    • odizzido
    • 9 years ago

    throw windows and a keyboard on there and it’s exactly what I would want.

      • dpaus
      • 9 years ago

      Be patient; they’ve also trademarked a device called the “DuoPad” which is rumoured to be the Windows 7 -based HP Slate from earlier this year, ‘insta-booting’ into WebOS, and then running Windows 7 as an option. Oh, and the TouchPad already has a bluetooth keyboard available.

    • End User
    • 9 years ago

    I wish HP all the best. I particularly love how they are pushing WebOS into both the PC and laptop space (traditionally the stronghold of Windows).

    • blastdoor
    • 9 years ago

    Very curious to see the price on this. It sounds like this might be the most similar to the iPad in terms of specs. Should be really interesting to see if Apple’s economies of scale / supply chain muscle give them a noticeable advantage.

    • puppetworx
    • 9 years ago

    The only thing which is keeping me optimistic about webOS devices is the plan to introduce it on PCs later this year. HP has such a big market share in PCs that they might be able to swing some pretty big cross sells on other webOS devices.

    Much like everything else at the launch today webOS on PC “later this year” just reeks of following Apple’s lead though.

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    It was going to be called “palmPad” but they couldn’t get a trademark on that; it was rejected as being ‘too generic’

    But they got a copyright on “TouchPad’ and it [i<]isn't[/i<] too generic?? WTF......???

      • Mourmain
      • 9 years ago

      Won’t even be able to google for it…

      • Trymor
      • 9 years ago

      Hey, check out my new touchpad! – Where, I don’t see a laptop?

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    Didn’t their new CEO (Apotheker) say that they wouldn’t announce any device that wasn’t ready to ship within weeks of the announcement?? What exactly did the groundhog see on Feb 2nd??

    • crose
    • 9 years ago

    3 quick thoughts…

    1) Why is it so heavy? Even heavier than iPad.

    2) I heard they plan to start selling it this summer.. like really? iPad 2 will be here by then.

    3) At least they say it will have Flash.

      • cygnus1
      • 9 years ago

      1- please learn to read, even the article says it weighs the same as the ipad w/3g. it’s only 0.1 lbs heavier than the wifi only ipad. and anyway, this should be compared to the new android slates and ipad2, not the year old original ipad

      2- ipad2 specs aren’t likely to be any better than this

      3- agreed

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    I looked at that video and wondered what the point was. It is in no way better than an I-pad sadly. they didn’t even demo the touch interface in the video, some simpler folks will wonder how you use it, “maybe it uses the new kinect technology from microsoft?” People will ask these kinds of questions. Sure this isn’t a bad device but that video is pointless.

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    Nothing in this differentiates the device enough from the other players in the market. The downside is Palm just hasn’t been around long enough for people to say: Hey this platform will be around in 10 years, let me put my eggs in this basket!

    HP also has a historically terrible UI design philosophy, while Palm has had a great design philosophy. wonder how these will clash?

      • Dazrin
      • 9 years ago

      I don’t know, from the Engadget live blog (or whatever) the syncing features between the phone/pad looks pretty cool. That seems fairly unique/cool feature.I know a bunch of people who really like their Pre.

      • Da_Boss
      • 9 years ago

      My guess is they won’t clash much. From the videos, it looks like HP is really letting palm stay at the helm with respect to UI.

      My concern is that I’m not sure if devs will be eager to get behind webOS again. Who can blame them if they do.

        • dpaus
        • 9 years ago

        [i<]"I'm not sure if devs will be eager to get behind webOS"[/i<] - as HP announced at their event, they're putting WebOS onto every PC, every laptop and every printer (!) they make. That's more than 100,000,000 devices per year. Damn right devs will be eager to get behind it!

      • jwb
      • 9 years ago

      What the hell? Palm has been around forever.

      • jpostel
      • 9 years ago

      been around long enough??? google palmOS, palm pilot, etc.

      Palm is so old that they were once acquired by US Robotics. Yes, the modem company!

      Palm pretty much created the smartphone in 2002. Look up Handspring/Palm Treo.

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