Hewlett-Packard's answer to the iPad and tablet-mania is coming out July 1st the company announced.

The HP Touchpad will be hitting retail outlets in the United States in a few weeks as the company's first major competitor to Apple's iPad. The touchpad uses WebOS operating system, which it developed in house after acquiring Palm. It comes with either 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage for $499.99 and $599.99 respectively. Consumers can preorder the tablet on June 19.

What makes HP TouchPad a compelling alternative to competing products is webOS, Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president and general manager of the Palm Global Business Unit at HP said in a statement. The platform's unmatched features and flexibility will continue to differentiate HP products from the rest of the market for both personal and professional use. This is only the beginning of what HP's scale can do with webOS.

The webOS technology opens the door for next-level multitasking, easier access to the web and premium audio playback with stereo speakers and Beats Audio technology. There is also a Just Type feature, which allows consumers to find information on the device or on the cloud. HP Synergy's allows for the sharing of web addresses between HP TouchPad and compatible webOS phones

The technology comes with a Snapdragon-equipped chip and has a 9.7-inch screen, built-in accelerometer and gyroscope. HP introduced it formally back in February at a show where it also introduced two webOS phones Palm Pre and the Palm Veere.

A few days after the US release, the Touchpad will be available in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Germany. After that, Canada is set for mid-July and Italy and Spain, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore are scheduled for later this year.

Analysts aren't as keen on the device, with one saying it is far too pricey to be competitive against the industry dominating iPad.

While we expect HP's webOS platform to be a differentiating factor compared to the many Android tablets expected to reach the market, we do not think the price points on the TouchPad are aggressive enough to attract the incremental buyer from the iPad. We do not think HP's pricing [is] good enough, Mark Moskowitz, analyst at J.P. Morgan, said in a note.

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