PC giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) will be launching its Touchpad tablet device in United States on July 1.
The key feature of the tablet is none other than its operating system - WebOS, which HP with its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm. Touchpad will be loaded with WebOS 3.0 operating system.
The WebOS was critically acclaimed, but was said to be dampened by the hardware of Palm. The operating system was very much appreciated for its ease-of-use, multitasking functions and open architecture.
What makes HP TouchPad a compelling alternative to competing products is webOS, said Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president and general manager, Palm Global Business Unit, HP. 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.
So, a neat operating system along with HP hardware makes Touchpad a good competitor in the tablet space.
TouchPad, which boasts a 9.7-inch screen, is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The device supports proximity-based sharing, allowing compatible devices to wirelessly exchange data, media, and information, via Bluetooth.
The device provides premium audio playback with stereo speakers and Beats Audio technology. It has the Just Type feature to find information on the device or in the cloud and offers integrated access to their information with HP Synergy. Meanwhile, HP's exclusive Touch to Share capability allows users to share web addresses between HP TouchPad and compatible webOS phones.
Recently, HP announced HP webOS Pivot, providing users an entertaining and informative editorial resource for discovering webOS 3.0 applications for the HP TouchPad.
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.
Optional accessories for HP TouchPad include the HP Touchstone Charging Dock, the HP TouchPad Wireless Keyboard and the HP TouchPad Case.
HP TouchPad will be available in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Germany on July 2 and in Canada on July 15, with availability scheduled to follow later this year in Australia, Hong Kong, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore and Spain. A Wi-Fi model for Asia Pacific is expected to arrive later this year.
In U.S., apart from HP's online store, HP TouchPad will be available at Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot, Walmart, Sam's Club, OfficeMax, Amazon.com, Fry's, Microcenter and other leading local and regional retailers.
Now, let's take a look whether Touchpad has the meat to beat the market leader Apple iPad 2.
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.
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 models 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:
Apple iPad 2
9.7-inch XGA capacitive, multitouch screen, 1024x768 resolution
9.7 inches LED display, 1024x768 resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi)
Width: 7.48 inches
Height: 9.45 inches
Width: 7.31 inches
Height: 9.5 inches
Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-CPU APQ8060 1.2GHz
Apple A5 processor; 1GHz dual-core
Front-facing 1.3-megapixel webcam for live video calling
Back 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
Light sensor, accelerometer, compass (magnetometer), and gyroscope
Ambient light sensor
Media Formats Supported
Audio 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
Wi-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
16GB or 32GB
16G, 32GB or 64GB
Rechargeable 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
Connector 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;
Micro-SIM card tray (Wi-Fi + 3G model)