HP today announced its iPad rival - a 9.7in touchscreen tablet PC called the HP TouchPad. The TouchPad is the first tablet PC to run the Palm WebOS, comes with either 16GB or 32GB storage, and has a Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-CPU APQ8060 processor running at 1.2GHz. It will be available in 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi-only versions, and will be available in the US and 'key selected markets' (which will almost certainly include the UK) in summer 2011. For the latest news and reviews on tablet PCs visit Tablet Advisor.
HP TouchPad: communication and connectivity
You can receive text messages and answer phone calls on the HP TouchPad. But in the first iteration the connectivity is all web-based, so don't expect to be able to use the TouchPad as your mobile phone.
The HP TouchPad contains a technology HP calls 'HP Synergy'. This is an app within the webOS that brings together the different ways you communicate. You can compose an email from anywhere within the OS, and source contact information from calls, email and social media on a single view. The HP TouchPad also has a 1.3Mp front-facing video camera for video calling, and uses the cloud for photo storing, so with a single sign-in you can view photos from Facebook, Snapfish, and Photobucket.
Connectivity is taken care of with Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n using WPA, WPA2, WEP, 802.1X authentication, and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR with A2DP stereo Bluetooth support. The second generation TouchPad will also have 3G and 4G connectivity.
HP TouchPad: apps
HP says there are 'thousands' of apps for webOS, and today announced new features for app developers to encourage more, and a redesigned App Catalog. Whether sufficient apps are developed depends on the popularity of WebOS devices, however.
HP TouchPad: music, movies and games
Like other tablets the HP TouchPad will be multimedia device. Assuming developers port their titles, you'll be able to play games in it. It will have a digital audio player under the HP Beats Audio brand, and will allow access to movie and TV show downloads from the HP Movie Store.
HP TouchPad: productivity
TouchPad includes essential productivity apps right out of the box. Collaborate with colleagues using Google™ Docs or Box.net. Print wirelessly to compatible networked HP printers.5 And browse the full web at blazing speed with support for the latest web technologies, including a beta of Adobe Flash Player 10.1.
HP TouchPad: sharing with other WebOS devices
A technology HP calls Touchstone means HP devices can easily share a URL simply by tapping them together.