HP has launched its much awaited webOS-based tablet the TouchPad, putting to rest reports of a possible tablet launch that have been circulating since HP acquired Palm in April 2010.

The acquisition of Palm took place in the same month that Apple launched its game-changing device the iPad. And after a year the webOS tablet TouchPad resembles an iPad in design but has a different OS under its hood.

While Apple is on its way to launch its next beefed-up version of iPad questions surface as to whether the HP latecomer to the party, earlier surmised to be called Topaz but now called the TouchPad, has the specifications to take on iPad.

The TouchPad has a 9.7-inch with 1024x768 screen resolution, the same configuration that an iPad offers. 9to5 Mac reported that the iPad 2 will have a better screen build but will have the same screen configuration of 1024x768 as the existing iPad. DigiTimes had reported that iPad 2 could boast 2058x1536 in screen resolution. However, the current line-up of Android tablets say Xoom offers a 1280x800 in resolution, Samsung Galaxy Tab offers 1024x600 resolution and Dell Streak 7 sports 800x480 in screen resolution. Thus it is highly plausible that Apple may retain the same screen resolution as it is similar to what Android’s are offering. Thus HP is in good company as Apple may not beef up its screen resolution.

HP TouchPad packs a 1.2 GHz Snapdragon processor to power its webOS while the iPad uses a 1GHz A4 chip. However, the next edition of iPad is reported to sport a new A5 processor with SGX543 graphics support. The current iPad uses SGX535 graphics support. This addition will bring 1080p video capability to iPad 2. The existing iPad offers 720p video playback.

HP TouchPad offers a higher 1GB RAM compared to iPad’s 256 MB RAM but offers the same internal memory as iPad with 16GB and 32GB memory configurations. The existing iPad supports up to 64 GB internal memory.

The TouchPad also offers a 1.3MP front facing camera for video chat which scores over the iPad’s no camera status. The advantage won’t be held too long by HP as it is reported that the iPad 2 will have a 5MP and VGA camera. Although 9to5 Mac had reported that the iPad 2 will have a rear-facing 2 MP camera and 0.3 MP VGA front-facing cameras.

The TouchPad weighs about 1.6 pounds which is equal to iPad’s existing weight. The iPad has been found to be rather heavy for use as an eReader. Although reports suggest that the next iPad will be lighter. A patent filing by Apple for a technology titled Reinforced Device Housing revealed that Apple could possibly use fiber-in-matrix type material like carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) in the upcoming iPad. The current iPad uses an aluminum frame.

HP packs in a novel touch-to-share feature which enables a user to just bump a Palm Pre phone with the TouchPad to share URLs, document or songs with Palm Pre phone. It integrates the phone and the tablet, allowing access to the phone or tablet through either device.

However, HP is coming late as Android 3.0 tablets like Motorola Xoom which are already far ahead in the game. Also, coming late translates into lesser apps and thus HP will be working hard to garner mindshare which Apple and Google have been able to raise for their operating systems. Also HP will compete with RIM’s new OS QNX which powers its PlayBook tablet and will also compete against Windows 7. HP launched HP Slate 500 last year which run on Windows 7. If the TouchPad is successful it can cannibalize its line-up of Windows tablets.

Here is a comparison between HP’s webOS tablet TouchPad and Apple’s iPad:

 

HP TouchPad

Apple iPad

OS

webOS

Ios 4.3

Processor

Snapdragon 1.2 Ghz

Apple A4 1Ghz

Display

9.7-inch

9.7-inch

Resolution

1024x768

1024x768

Memory

16 GB/32 GB

16 GB/32 GB

RAM

 1 GB

256 MB

Camera

1.3MP front facing

No camera

Video Playback

 

720p

Wi-Fi

802.11b/g/n

802.11a/b/g/n

Sensors

Light sensor, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope

accelerometer, ambient light sensor

Battery

 

10 hrs

Weight

1.6 pounds

1.6 pounds