Apple Inc. is facing heavy competition from other tablet makers. Adding heat to Apple is the news that on July 1 HP released its first WebOS-based tablet, TouchPad. Can HP TouchPad be an iPad killer?

The key feature of HP TouchPad is none other than its operating system - WebOS. Touchpad will be loaded with WebOS 3.0 operating system. A neat operating system along with HP hardware makes Touchpad a good competitor in the tablet space.

The current TouchPad, which boasts a 9.7-inch screen, is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and comes in 16/32GB models. The device supports proximity-based sharing, allowing compatible devices to wirelessly exchange data, media, and information, via Bluetooth.

HP will release a white glossy 64GB TouchPad model that will sport a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon, according to leaked HP product roadmap published Monday by Pre Central. The white glossy model is expected to have the same 9.7-inch (1024x768 pixel resolution) LED capacitive backlit multi-touch display as the current model.

Must Read: Apple iPad 2: Will 10.1-inch Toshiba Thrive pose a threat?

It is not clear whether the new HP TouchPad will sport a better camera. The current TouchPad has a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chat but is devoid of a rear-facing camera.

The Touchpad currently comes only with Wi-Fi, costing $499.99 for a 16GB model and $599.99 for a 32GB model. But, the company said it will be partnering with AT&T later this summer to launch a connected version of the tablet.

The white glossy 64GB model is expected to retail for either $699.99 or $799.99. A rumor also suggest that HP is planning an August release of a 32GB TouchPad with support for AT&T's 4G HSPA+ network.

iPad

iPad 2 is the second generation of the iPad, a tablet computer designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc. iPad 2 has a lithium-ion polymer battery that lasts up to 10 hours, a new dual core Apple A5 processor and VGA front-facing and 720p rear-facing cameras designed for FaceTime video calling.

The tablet, which runs on iOS 4.3.3, is 15 percent lighter and 33 percent thinner than its predecessor. iOS 5, which was previewed to public on June 6, is currently available as beta version for developers only.

Apple unveiled the device on March 2, 2011, began selling it by website and retail stores on March 11, and released it in 25 other countries on March 25, including Australia, Britain and Canada.

iPad is one of the best-selling gadgets and Apple recently announced it sold more than 25 million devices since iPad was launched in April 2010. In 2011, iPad is expected to take 83 percent of the tablet computing market share in the United States.

Wi-Fi model of iPad 2 starts at $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB and $699 for 64GB. Adding 3G costs $130 extra per model, so the most expensive model (64GB / 3G) is $829.

Now, let's make a head-to-head comparison of the two products:

SpecificationsHP TouchpadApple iPad 2
ColorBlackWhite, Black
Operating SystemWebOS 3.0iOS 4.3.3
Display9.7-inch XGA capacitive, multitouch screen, 1024x768 resolution9.7 inches LED display, 1024x768 resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi)
DimensionsWidth: 7.48 inches
Height: 9.45 inches
Width: 7.31 inches
Height: 9.5 inches
Weight1.6 pounds1.33 pounds
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon dual-CPU APQ8060 1.2GHzApple A5 processor; 1GHz dual-core
CameraFront-facing 1.3-megapixel webcam for live video callingBack camera: Video recording, HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with audio; still camera with 5x digital zoom
Front camera: Video recording, VGA up to 30 frames per second with audio; VGA-quality still camera
SensorsLight sensor, accelerometer, compass (magnetometer), and gyroscopeThree-axis gyro
Accelerometer
Ambient light sensor
Media Formats SupportedAudio formats: DRM-free MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR, QCELP, WAV
Video formats: MPEG-4, H.263, H.264
Audio formats supported: HE-AAC (V1 and V2), AAC, Protected AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX, and AAX+), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV
Video formats supported: H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second;
MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second;
Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second
Wireless ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n with WPA, WPA2, WEP, 802.1X authentication;
Bluetooth wireless technology 2.1 + EDR with A2DP stereo Bluetooth support
Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.1+EDR Technology
Memory16GB or 32GB16G, 32GB or 64GB
BatteryRechargeable 6300 mAh (typical battery)Built-in 25-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery
Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music; Up to 9 hours surfing on 3G network
PortsConnector Charger/microUSB connector with USB 2.0 Hi-Speed;
Headphone jack 3.5mm stereo headset/headphone/microphone jack
30-pin dock connector port
3.5-mm stereo headphone minijack;
Built-in speaker;
Microphone;
Micro-SIM card tray (Wi-Fi + 3G model)

Can Touchpad be an iPad killer?

WebOS actually makes the TouchPad's user interface look and feel 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.

WebOS also allows you to integrate all the data from different online accounts together, thanks to Synergy, even as it handles multi-tasking like a pro unlike the iPad, which tries hard but fails at multi-tasking.

Just like the iPad, HP TouchPad has a Home button below the display, volume up/down buttons on the side and it has a similar border around its screen, but TouchPad is thicker and heavier than the iPad. TouchPad also boasts of 1GB RAM compared to 512MB RAM in iPad 2.

Unlike iPad 2, which runs on 1GHz dual-core Apple A5 processor, TouchPad runs on a more powerful dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and both come with 16/32GB storage space. However, Apple is also selling the 64GB version of iPad and very soon we'll see the 64GB TouchPad that will run on dual-core 1.5GHz processor.

In the TouchPad, all the numbers keys 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. The TouchPad keyboard can be made larger or smaller to match the thickness of your finger.

The TouchPad can play Flash videos on the web, while the iPad can’t. Unlike iPad'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.

Despite all these features, HP TouchPad can't stand the mighty tech giant Apple. Apple's iOS features are extensively varied from WebOS, which means loyal Apple fan base remains the same. And for Apple, there is no reason to fear a potential loss with respect to buyers.

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