HP TouchPad Announced – Looks a Worthy (current) iPad Rival

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HP TouchPad

The HP TouchPad has been announced today, at an event in San Francisco. From what I’ve seen of the TouchPad so far it looks like it may be quite a worthy rival for the iPad – if (big IF) its release isn’t too late.

It looks especially interesting because it’s the first iPad rival that brings some fresh ideas in terms of operating system, interface, and user experience. Like the Palm Pre it will run webOS, which should lend itself very well to running a tablet device. Here are a few things that caught my interest in the announced details for the TouchPad:

— It will use the same slick activity cards appswitching approach as seen on the Pre.

— There will be WiFi and 3G models (as tech specs mention GPS for 3G model)

–It will be able to be wirelessly charged with a Touchstone dock accessory. Other accessories shown for it are a case (with stand capabilities) and a wireless keyboard.

— These ‘connected’ features sound very cool:

The next generation of Touchstone technology makes HP devices work better together. Easily share a URL with your Pre3 simply by tapping them together.2,8Receive text messages and answer phone calls on your TouchPad so you don’t miss a thing.9,10,11 Start reading a website or blog on a TouchPad and then tap your smartphone to take it to go

— It will offer wireless print capabilities – to ‘compatible networked HP printers’.

Tech Specs:

— It’s got the same display size and screen resolution as the iPad

— It will have a single, 1.3 megapixel, front-facing camera – for video calling.

— It will offer 16GB or 32GB internal storage. So it won’t match the 64GB offered by the current iPad. This may be an issue for some given how good tablets are for multimedia content.

— It weighs 1.6 pounds – just about the same as a current iPad.

— Its processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-CPU APQ8060 1.2GHz

Some Missing Bits:

Things not mentioned anywhere yet (or I missed them) …

There are already thousands of great apps for HP webOS, and we’re adding tons of features for app developers to help bring you more amazing experiences. 

But no mention of an SDK for tablet apps for webOS.

No mention of battery life expectations for the TouchPad.

And the biggest missing bit

No release date. Here’s all we get on that:

Planned availability this summer.

So … the TouchPad sounds promising, but that release timeframe takes a lot of the shine off. The device looks good, particularly as a rival for the current iPad. We know there’s going to be an iPad 2 coming along within the next couple of months though. If the TouchPad comes out after the iPad second gen (which it sounds like it will) that’s going to make it a whole lot tougher for it to compare and compete well with the iPad.

For lots more detail on the TouchPad and full tech specs, see HP’s TouchPad page here.

What do you all think of the TouchPad? Will this tempt you away from an iPad?

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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