Hewlett-Packard is set to enter the tablet race and compete with Apple's iPad by the official arrival of its TouchPad on July 1 in the United States.

The HP TouchPad will line up along with Samsung Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom, and BlackBerry PlayBook as a potential iPad competitor.

In the first month after their initial launch, the Xoom and the BlackBerry PlayBook each shipped an estimated 250,000 units, while the iPad 2 in March alone sold 2.5 million units, 5 times the number of Xoom and PlayBook sales combined.

Will HP be able to catch up?

The 9.7-inch, 1.6 pound TouchPad tablet will sport a dual-core 1.2GHz SnapDragon processor, and a 1.3 megapixel camera.

What makes HP TouchPad a compelling alternative to competing products is webOS... 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, John Robinstein, senior vice president and general manager of HP stated in a press release.

 

The iPad, which has single-handedly dominated the tablet business since its introduction last year, will account for the bulk of the DRAM (dynamic random access memory) demand in the market in 2011 and the following years, IHS principal DRAM and memory analyst Mike Howard stated. However, competition to the iPad is seeping into the market, driving further DRAM demand.

According to PCWorld, what will determine whether or not the TouchPad can compete with the iPad 2 is webOS, and what kind of tablet experience HP can deliver with the updated optimized webOS 3.0 platform.

 

Starting June 19, orders for the TouchPad can be made on HP website. Retailers Fry's Electronics, Best Buy and Amazon will also sell the tablet. 

The pricing for the TouchPad mirrors iPad 2 models:

- A 16GB version of the TouchPad with Wi-Fi at $499.99

- A 32 GB version at $599.99

The tablet will land in UK, France, and Germany a few days after its U.S. debut, and mid-July on Canada.