Is it possible that Apple’s iPad finally has some real competition or will the newest tablet on the block underwhelm? On July 1st, HP’s first foray into the modern tablet wars began with their introduction of the HP TouchPad. Utilizing the WebOS HP acquired when they purchased Palm, this new tablet marks the 3rd OS option after iOS and Android. Competition is wonderful, but can HP compete in the current market?
Engadets’ review of the HP TouchPad sings the praises of the tablet implementation of Web OS, but they seem to think the hardware leaves much to be desired. Boy Genius’ review was more supportive, but still took some exception to hardware and software implementation.
Basically the thoughts are as follows: Battery life is good, but not as good as the iPad or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. The physical design is less than stellar and the piano black finish is a magnet for fingerprints. The TouchPad weighs more than any of the big players in tablets, but is still light at only 1.65 pounds. Booting up takes about 1:15, compared to 30 seconds for both the iPad 2 and the Galaxy Tab. Performance in general seems slow considering HP’s use of the Snapdragon dual core processor.There were a few hardware pluses given to the TouchPad. For example the screen and video performance are very comparable to the iPad 2 and the Galaxy Tab. The sound of the TouchPad comes out clean and not as “tinny” as we’ve all become accustomed to lately. Finally there are several accessories including an inductive charging stand and a bluetooth keyboard. Both, reportedly, work very well.
The TouchPad comes with a full compliment of software to get any user started. There is an e-mail app, calendar app, Facebook app, Bing Maps app and a web browser. Quickoffice is pre-installed but while it allows for reading, it doesn’t allow for editing or creation at this time. All of these apps have been optimized for the tablet, but the ecology of tablet optimized apps for the TouchPad sits around 300.
Currently the iPad is seen by most as the reigning champion of tablets due to Apple’s “complete” solution. Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 have made excellent strides and in some ways surpass the iPad. HP’s entry into the tablet wars seems solid, but still wanting. Web OS is ready, but the app ecosystem isn’t yet and the hardware is 1st generation. The HP TouchPad price also seems just a little too high at $499 for 16gb WiFi and $599 for 32gb WiFi, or the exact same price as a similarly equipped iPad 2 or Galaxy Tab.
If any company can compete with Apple it’s HP. With WebOS they have a total solution all their own. They also have the resources. What is not yet known is if they have the drive and the vision to take on Apple. Competition is great, but HP will have to do more to take any real ground away from Apple or even Android.