The intial reviews for HP's new tablet, the TouchPad, are in and the device is being released in a crowded field led by Apple's iPad 2.

Several reviewers have rated the overall device below the iPad 2, however there are some generally positive views on the TouchPad's operating system, known as webOS.

The Wi-Fi version of the device will be available in U.S. stores on July 1 with the option of 16GB or 32 GB internal storage for $499 and $599, respectively, according to HP.

Edward Baig of USA Today says the device, with its operating system, has a fighting chance to take the No. 2 spot behind the iPad.

I actually prefer webOS to early Android tablets and believe it compares favorably to iOS in many respects, he said.

[T]he TouchPad, which I generally like, has a world of potential, he writes

David Pogue, of the New York Times, faults the device for being slow.

When you rotate the screen, it takes the screen two seconds to match - an eternity in tablet time.

He says one chat app on the device takes seven seconds to appear, and adds that animations are sometimes jerky, reactions to your finger swipes sometimes uncertain.

On the positive side, he calls the device iPad beautiful, commends webOS for consolidating data from different online accounts, and says the onscreen keyboard provides easy access to numbers compared with other tablets.

Meanwhile, PC Magazine's David Pierce calls the TouchPad the best tablet available that's not named iPad.

WebOS seems naturally suited to the 9.7-inch screen size, with a card-based interface that makes multitasking easy and even fun.

InfoWorld's Galen Gruman seems more downbeat saying the device is a mediocre tablet that poses no threat to the iPad or to Android tablets such as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 or Xoom.

The TouchPad will roll out to the UK, Ireland, France and Germany on July 2, followed by Canada on July 15, according to HP. It will be available later in the year in Australia, Hong Kong, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore and Spain.