Apple iPad: Will HP TouchPad with WebOS end iPad's dream run?HP TouchPad is the latest tablet to challenge the supremacy of Apple's iPad but can it really beat the iPad? iPad is the reigning king of tablet jungle so far. Just in less than 16 months, up to 25 million units of iPad have been sold and over 100,000 tablet-specific apps had been attracted. However, iPad's unchallenged run could be put to an end by HP TouchPad, thanks to its distinguishing operating system WebOS. Actually, HP TouchPad, which has a glossy 9.7-inch LED backlit multi-touch capacitive screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio, bears a strong resemblance to the iPad. For instance, they both have accelerometer, light sensor, gyroscope and digital compass. However, it has some smart features that iPad doesn't have. Admittedly, it also has a few shortcomings. Let’s take a look at the groundbreaking tablet.
1. Innovative operating system: WebOS 3.0 - (A) Clever interface(A) Clever interface: The interface of HP TouchPad, which is HP's first device to run on WebOS 3.0, is pretty cool. Instead of having a row of icons, like in iPad, the TouchPad’s patented WebOS app switcher is formed of clever window ‘cards’. When you press the Home button, all open apps will change to half-size window 'cards'. You can move them around anywhere on the screen with a swipe of your finger or if you've had enough of any app, simply flick it off the top of the screen.
1. Innovative operating system: WebOS 3.0 - (B) SynergyWith the Synergy, your data from different online accounts is smartly combined together. You may have your colleague's contact information on Yahoo Contacts, your family contact information in Google or some friends’ information in MSN. Don’t be frustrated about consolidating them. TouchPad can combine them into a single color-coded form. Any other of your personal data, like photo libraries, online calendar, email accounts and chat accounts can also be handled at the same way.
1. Innovative operating system: WebOS 3.0 - (C) MultitaskingThe way WebOS handling multi-tasking is a standout feature of the TouchPad. You can keep all open apps running. In contrast, only some apps on the iPad stay in the background while everything else is suspended until you return.
2. Charging innovationsThe best thing is that TouchPad can be charged magnetically, without connecting it to anything. Besides, the $80 TouchPad dock can hold TouchPad upright and auto-activates a useful screensaver mode, like photo slide shows. Pretty innovative and fun.
3. ExhibitionIf you are not an active app user, don’t worry. TouchPad gives you an alternative. A clock, recent Facebook posts from your friends, your upcoming appointments or your pictures will show up instead of an app on the home screen, thanks to Exhibition function. When you set the TouchPad as a charging dock, you can turn Exhibition on manually.
4. Flash videosThe TouchPad can play Flash videos on the web, while the iPad can’t.
5. The Quickoffice applicationYou can conveniently view documents saved in Dropbox or Google Doc through this application on the TouchPad.
6. Smart onscreen keyboardAll the numbers keys in the TouchPad are just on the top row. You can clearly see them without switching keyboard views. However, iPad doesn’t have this function. This feature might seem insignificant but is quite innovative as no other has thought of this before. There are four key heights for you to choose. The keyboard can be made larger or smaller to match your the thickness of your finger.
7. HardwareHP TouchPad has a Home button below the screen, volume up/down buttons on the edge like iPad’s and it has a similar border around its screen. Unlike the iPad 2 which runs on dual-core 1GHz processor, HP TouchPad runs on dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and both come with 16/32GB storage space. However, you can get 64GB iPad too. TouchPad's size is the same as iPad, but it’s thicker and heavier than iPad. In the front, there is an 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chatting, while the iPad has a camera on front as well as the back. Like iPad, TouchPad has Wi-Fi, but it doesn’t have real GPS and can’t link the network.
8. Phone/SMS sync functionAmong the coolest features of HP TouchPad is its phone/SMS sync function. Thanks to the function, when you get a call, it will ring on your TouchPad and your phone at the same time.
Shortcomings - (1) ApplicationsHowever, there are also some shortcomings in HP TouchPad. (1) Applications Unfortunately, there aren’t much popular apps for HP TouchPad. For example, you won't get Flixter or IMDB, Pocket God, Google apps like Google Mobile, Google Earth or Google Voice and Netflix. There are only 300 tablet-optimized apps in Palm's App Catalog and only about 8,000 apps for WebOS, of which about 700 don't work on the TouchPad. In comparison, there are over 425,000 apps in Apple App Store and over 200,000 apps in Android Market. In both cases, almost all of them can run on tablets even though they aren't intended for the tablet.
Shortcomings - (2) Hardware(2) Hardware HP TouchPad lacks some key features that are common on other tablets, like a rear-facing back camera or a camera app for taking videos and still pictures. In fact, the lack of a rear-facing camera could be a real deal-breaker.
Shortcomings - (3) Battery Life(3) Battery Life This shortcoming in HP TouchPad is quite critical. The TouchPad's battery lasts only 80% of iPad 2's battery. In other words, on a single charge while the iPad's battery will last for about 10.3 hours, TouchPad's battery will choke after 8.2 hours.
Shortcomings - (4) Glitches(4) Glitches Sometimes HP TouchPad may experience some glitches. For instance, the email app sometimes may refuse to display the contents of messages. If you want to resolve it, you have to reboot the device. Also, when you rotate the screen, it takes the screen two seconds to match (an eternity for tablet users). Apps can also sometimes take forever to launch.
Shortcomings - (5) Size and Weight(5) Size and Weight HP TouchPad is 40 percent thicker (0.75 inch thick) and 20 percent heavier (1.6 lb) than the iPad - a brick for those who have a habit of working on their tablets all day long.
ConclusionHP TouchPad is a pretty impressive looking device with powerful specs and innovative features to match. However, it's not something that is likely to wean away iPad users. As HP TouchPad's price is similar to that of iPad 2 ($500 for 16GB model and $600 for 32GB model), it is unlikely that HP will have something to boast about on the price point. Moreover, to wean away iPad 2 users, you need to come up with something like Samsung Galaxy Tab. But then again, the Samsung tablet couldn't dent iPad 2's sales either. However, HP TouchPad comes tops in some regards. Take for example, charging. You can charge the TouchPad wirelessly simply by sliding it into its Touchstone charging dock (sold separately) while you have to physically plug the iPad 2 to charge it. Moreover, unlike iPad 2's notifications which shout out at you, HP TouchPad's notifications are more well-mannered and discrete. When a notification is delivered, the TouchPad top bar lights up softly if the HP tablet is sleeping. As for iPad, well if it's sleeping, it continues sleeping and you won't even get to know whether you've received any notification unless you wake up the device. HP TouchPad's beats audio and stereo speakers are also way better than the iPad 2's. Also unlike the iPad, HP TouchPad offers true multi-tasking support. It also comes with 1GB RAM compared to 512MB RAM of iPad 2. And yes, with the TouchPad, you can make video calls using Skype. But what definitely makes iPad beat TouchPad is its fabulous marketing, led by none other than marketing guru Steve Jobs himself and great media management. What do you think? Does iPad 2 stand a chance against HP TouchPad. Or rather, does HP TouchPad stand a chance against iPad 2? Leave your comments below.
HP TouchPad is the latest tablet to challenge the supremacy of Apple's iPad but can it really beat the iPad?
iPad is the reigning king of tablet jungle so far. Just in less than 16 months, up to 25 million units of iPad have been sold and over 100,000 tablet-specific apps had been attracted.
However, iPad's unchallenged run could be put to an end by HP TouchPad, thanks to its distinguishing operating system WebOS.
Actually, HP TouchPad, which has a glossy 9.7-inch LED backlit multi-touch capacitive screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio, bears a strong resemblance to the iPad. For instance, they both have accelerometer, light sensor, gyroscope and digital compass. However, it has some smart features that iPad doesn't have. Admittedly, it also has a few shortcomings. Let’s take a look at the groundbreaking tablet.