In conjunction with the announcement of the Veer and Pre 3 webOS smartphones, HP has revealed that users will soon be able to enjoy the webOS experience on a bigger screen. Its new TouchPad tablet is headed for a Q3 release and will run on a dual-core Snapdragon processor, offer genuine multi-tasking and feature a host of useful productivity tools like Synergy and touch-to-share. There's Wireless-N and Bluetooth connectivity, a webcam for online chat and cable-free charging via an optional touchstone charging dock.
The first thing you are struck by when looking at the TouchPad is its similarity to Apple's tablet. The display is of the same 9.7-inch proportions and capacitive, multi-touch functionality, and it has the same 1,024 x 768 pixel resolution. The tablet is also exactly the same weight at 1.6 pounds (740 g). HP's slate starts to break away from the iPad at its slightly chunkier dimensions of 7.48 x 9.53 x 0.54 inch (190 x 242 x 13.7mm), and then there's its inter-device connectivity.
The TouchPad's innovative touch-to-share feature allows users to share data stored on a webOS smartphone by brief physical contact with the tablet – no wires in sight. It can also be wirelessly charged via a newly-developed Touchstone for TouchPad charging dock right out of the box and the webOS operating platform allows users to run applications specifically designed for Touchstone.
The Exhibition feature, for instance, launches as soon as the TouchPad is placed on the dock, and can show off the day's schedule or a slideshow of photos while the 6,300 mAh battery gets a top up. There's also wired charging via micro-USB if you don't fancy parting with extra cash for the Touchstone dock.
Mobile productivityThe TouchPad is powered by a Snapdragon 1.2GHz dual-core APQ8060 processor and HP promises true multi-tasking performance with all the different activities represented as onscreen cards instead of application icons. The operating platform will group related activities into stacks of cards - an email linked to an open web page for instance – and those sending emails, SMS text messages and photos all over the place will appreciate the grouping together of all communications sent to the same person.
The TouchPad also includes HP's Synergy contact/calendar management tool that brings together all networking and communications profiles – like Facebook, GMail, LinkedIn and so on – into one place.
A 1.3 megapixel front-facing webcam takes care of video-conferencing or web chat needs and the included 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR wireless technology should help keep you connected while mobile. The latter also features A2DP stereo Bluetooth support.
Kindle app incomingFor those who enjoy a good read, wherever they might find themselves, but prefer not to have to carry around a hefty hardback, Amazon has announced a free Kindle App that will be tailored specifically to the TouchPad. Storage shouldn't prove too problematic with either 16GB or 32GB on offer and the tablet is compatible with HP's wireless printing technology.
Completing the specifications on offer is VPN support for connecting to corporate networks, access to numerous webOS apps, support for Adobe's Flash, and an ambient light sensor, accelerometer, compass and gyroscope. Beats Audio engine integration holds the promise of a more natural listening experience through the 3.5mm headphone jack or via the stereo speakers and a 3G model will have built-in GPS functionality.
Unfortunately, HP didn't reveal pricing information for the new TouchPad. This will be announced closer to the time of release.