HP has finally entered the tablet race, with the announcement in San Francisco of the TouchPad, its 9.7in webOS 3.0-toting tablet that will be arriving on our shelves this summer. However, in something of a kick in the teeth for the ex-Palm staff that surely must have been involved in the product's development, HP made no mention of the Palm name throughout the press conference. From now on its HP, HP, HP!
The Touchpad sports a 9.7in XGA (1024 x 768 pixel) capacitive, multitouch display with webOS 3.0, “true multitasking”, inbuilt gyroscope, accelerometer, compass and 16GB or 32GB of internal storage space. Powering all this will be dual-CPU 1.2-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060 processor. The TouchPad will weigh in at about 740g and is 13.7mm thick – making it in size and shape a lot like the iPad. There is a front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera to allow for video calling, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, A-GPS (3G model only), "twice the memory of a Pre 2" and a set of stereo speakers from Beats Audio.
What sets the TouchPad apart from competitors like theXoom and PlayBook, as well as webOS, are features such as wireless charging, HP Synergy and touch-to-share. Wireless charging comes by way of the inbuilt Touchstone technology and once docked with the Touchstone charger, Exhibition mode will automatically launch to allow for presentations or slide-shows. HP Synergy will see a lot of email and call integration and will populate the TouchPad with contacts from Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Touch-to-share will work, thanks to Touchstone, in combination with the new Pre 3 smartphone, which was also just announced. It will allow for the easy transfer of a website, document, song, text or call from the phone to the tablet – or vice versa – simply by tapping the two devices together.
HP has not released a price, launch date, launch regions or carriers for the TouchPad yet but lets just be happy for now that the first webOS tablet is finally official - and save a thought for the Palm brand which for years was one of the foremost innovators in mobile technology and is now consigned to the mists of time.
Finally it was mentioned at the press conference that the TouchPad was the "first in the webOS TouchPad family," hinting that the Opal may be just around the bend.