HP has officially introduced its first webOS tablet, the HP TouchPad. The tablet features a 9.7 inch, 1024 x 768 pixel display and weighs about 1.6 pounds. A WiFi-only version is due out this summer, with 3G and 4G versions set to follow. We’d been led to believe that the tablet could be available earlier than that, but them’s the breaks.

The HP Touchpad measures about half an inch thick, has a 1.3MP camera and supports video calls. It has stereo speakers, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, a dual core 1.2 GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, and 16GB or 32GB of storage. There’s a gyroscope, accelerometer and compass. The tablet will have a 6300mAh battery.

Basically, the TouchPad is what you would get if you took a Palm Pre, blew it up, gave it a higher resolution display, and took away the keyboard. It’s pretty clearly HP’s answer to the Apple iPad: but aside from the dual core processor and webOS 3.0 operating system, it really doesn’t seem all that different from the iPad, which makes me wonder if it’s really enough. While webOS supports Adobe Flash and has better support for multitasking, the OS hasn’t exactly won over the masses in the smartphone space the way iOS has.

That said, HP has developed a resizeable virtual keyboard which can be used in small, medium, or large modes on a tablet. There are also a series of apps which have clearly designed to be used on a tablet rather than a keyboard. That includes a dual-pane email app, a beautiful photo and video browser, and a notification system which doesn’t take up too much screen real estate.

Probably the biggest selling point for the tablet right now is how it integrates with webOS on a smartphone. If you have a webOS phone and a TouchPad tablet, you just login with your account information and all of your data will be made available on both devices — much the same way as you can login to multiple Android devices using your Google account info.

But the TouchPad will also let you do things like send and receive text messages or even make phone calls by connecting wirelessly to a webOS phone. The devices work together in other ways too. For instance, you can open a web site on your phone and tap it against the tablet to open the same web site on the Touchpad.

HP is describing the tablet as the first member of the TouchPad family, implying that there will be more devices in the future — presumably with different screen sizes. The company is also showing off some of the accessories for the TouchPad including a keyboard, stand, case, and Touchstone dock for wireless charging. when using a supported HP networked printer, you’ll also be able to send print jobs from the Touchpad to your printer without wires.

While webOS doesn’t have hundreds of thousands of third party apps like iOS or Android yet, the TouchPad will have some top notch apps available at launch including Angry Birds, Facebook, Last.fm, NBA, and Time Magazine. Amazon has also announced plans to develop a Kindle eBook app for the TouchPad.

HP also unveiled two new phones today, the HP Veer and the HP Pre3. The Pre3 is the next generation of the Palm Pre, and features a 3.6 inch, 480 x 800 pixel display, a 1.4 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8×55 CPU, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a 5MP camera with a flash and a front-facing camera for video calls. It supports 802.11b/g/n WiFi, HSPA+ and EVDO, and will be available this summer with 8G or 16GB of stroage.

The HP Veer is a much smaller smartphone which HP describes as being the size of a credit card. It has a 2.6 inch, 320 x 400 pixel screen, an 800 MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 7230 processor and support for Adobe Flash, HSPA+, 802.11b/g WiFi, and Bluetooth 2.1. It can also be used as a mobile hotspot to share your mobile broadband connection with a laptop or other device.

You can find more details at the Palm web site and at Engadget’s liveblog.

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10 replies on “HP introduces the Touchpad webOS tablet”

  1. The battery mAh is very good on this. So high.

    But Brad, I need to inform you of something very important. Since you have a worldwide audience, netbook buyers are often misled with reviews done in the US. You see, buyers simply assume 6 cell batteries are the way to go and the moment you see 3 cell, just reject it.

    But what the sneaky manufacturers are doing is giving different 6 cell mAh batteries for different parts of the world to cut cost.

    Like the Asus 1015PEM, in Asia, its a pathetic 4400mAh. So, the reviews in the US, which probably have a higher 6 cell capacity, don’t do justice to the people in Asia.

    My standard Asus UL20A on the other hand has a 63W battery, much higher than anywhere in the world. So, I get much higher usage time.

    So Brad, you need to be very careful as to what type of 6 cell a netbook manufacturer gives as your blog caters to audience of different parts of the world.

    Ironically the Samsung NF310 has a 5900mAh battery in Asia, higher than the one in US

    1. It’s annoying when spec sheets list a product as having a “4000 mAh” battery — with no voltage in sight. Specifying batteries in Whr (or the much-neglected Joule) is the only way to give a single number that has any real meaning.

      1. that is so true. The manufacturers are taking advantage of this. Most consumers only know 3 cell or 6 cell. Whr and mAh are far more important.

        I noticed Asus is a big culprit. 4400mAh batteries are so common now and we consumers are ignorant of the fact that a 4400mAh battery is not as good as a 5900mAh battery.

        So, the weight of the machine has gone down to 1.25Kgs because of a lower capacity battery. In actual fact, the manufacturers have done zero R & D to reduce the weight of netbooks to improve portability. Just a bit here and there to please aesthetically, that is all.

        Spec sheets are so annoying and misleading. People buy Asus netbooks cause they still think it is the old Asus 1001 with a mega Whr and mAh battery but it is no more the case

  2. With the ability to sync it up with a Pre phone, this seems more in direct competition with the Blackberry Playbook than with either iOS or Android. I think both tablets have some neat features, but they’ll both need to build rapid app support in order to drive users towards them.

    That said, the screen on my Galaxy Tab is large enough and has a high enough resolution that I often use the browser for tasks that require an app on my iPhone. So I think apps are somewhat less necessary. What tablets need to do, and this goes for all operating systems, is really try to match (or even beat) a desktop browsing experience. We’re not there yet, but I think we are heading in that direction.

  3. “it really doesn’t seem all that different from the iPad, which makes me wonder if it’s really enough”
    Simple answer: WebOS has true multitasking 🙂

    1. True… but that’s also true on existing webOS smartphones, and for some reason the Pre hasn’t overtaken the iPhone in sales. I think webOS is a great operating system, but I don’t know if it has the cache necessary to really draw potential iPad customers.

      But maybe it doesn’t have to. Maybe there are plenty of people who didn’t want an iPad for one reason or another, but they *do* want a consumer tablet. I’m sure that’s what HP is hoping anyway… (and Motorola, and Asus, etc…)

      1. What HP showed us today looks very promising but I also wonder if it will be enough.

        I think the big problem with the Palm/WebOS phones was that they really didn’t have great marketing, the hardware was outdated shortly after it was released and they don’t have a huge app catalog.

        I think HP can take webOS to new heights, but is it “too little, too late”? I’m a webOS user and I like my Pre Plus. But there are some really nice Android phones out there these days and HP wants me to wait until summer for a Pre 3 when what I really long for is a Samsung Fascinate running webOS???

        WebOS looks great. The Touchpad looks like it will be very nice, but the new phones don’t blow me away and I’m more interested in the phones than the pad. Everyone has a phone, but not all of us even want a tablet device. I think they needed to show us more phones and the phones should have been released today.

        While they spend the next few months putting the finishing touches on their new products, Verizon will be attempting to put iPhones and iPads into the hands of every living person in America (just like they have been doing with Android and Blackberry before that.)

        1. Also, don’t get me wrong, the Pre 3 looks like it’s a very nice phone by today’s standards, but who knows what will be out by time it’s released.

      2. I’m one of those who wants a consumer tablet but doesn’t want an iPad. The reason is simple: I’m a software developer, but you can’t develop for iOS unless you do so on an Apple desktop or notebook. That’s just petty nonsense on Apple’s part. Android SDK comes pre-packaged for the three big flavors, and the webOS SDK is packaged as a Virtualbox machine which can be run from any platform that Virtualbox supports, which is a bunch. Folks talk a lot about Apple’s “ecosystem” of devices and apps, but it’s more like a terrarium than an ecosystem: you’re either locked in or you’re locked out.

      3. The Palm Pre didn’t overtake the iPhone in sales. The Touchpad is unlikely to overtake the iPad either. But, yes, there are some people who don’t like the iPad because it doesn’t have a camera, because it doesn’t support Flash, because it doesn’t have ports, because it doesn’t have …

        The TouchPad and many of the upcoming tablets may impress them. And that is what these companies are hoping to.

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