The TouchPad is HP's long-awaited attempt at an iPad killer and although some have written it off, we found it had some interesting features which could attract users who have yet to commit to the Apple or Android platforms.
The 9.7in display comes with a 1024 x 768 resolution and looks impressive. HP has chosen to go with the larger form factor as it will allow users to view web pages and email comfortably without constantly having to scroll and zoom in and out.
With a 1.2GHz dual-core processor powering the device, movement between applications is very quick and the device was capable of multitasking without a problem.
However, it's the webOS operating system that is going to differentiate this tablet from its competitors and the platform looks like it still has much to offer.
Initial impressions of the interface were that it looks remarkably similar to the one present on the BlackBerry PlayBook. Interaction is purely gesture based and this works really well with the screen responding to gentle swipes and presses.
There were a few features built into the tablet that were particularly impressive. Firstly, the native email application is really well designed and makes full use of the 9.7in screen.
Opening up the application reveals a three pane view, one for each for accounts, inbox and email. The ability to resize these views is very useful, so users can focus entirely on the email with a single click without having to wait for another window to load.
The keyboard displays letters and numbers as standard, a nice touch meaning that users are not going to spend time switching between input methods, while the ability to change the size of the keyboard is also a useful feature.
The way in which the TouchPad will integrate with other HP devices such as the upcoming Pre 3 is something that other manufacturers should learn from. Users will be able to receive instant messages, texts and even take phone calls on the tablet using the loudspeaker if they wish.
Another feature that impressed was the Touchstone technology, for which usage has expanded beyond simply charging devices wirelessly. Users wanting to transfer a web page from their Pre to their tablet, for example, simply have to touch the back of the smartphone onto the screen of the tablet and the link will automatically open.
HP is also planning to extend the use of this feature to share documents, photos and maps in the future.
HP told V3.co.uk that it will aggressively market the webOS this year. However, despite all the positives for the TouchPad it is pricing and the ability of HP to create an ecosystem to rival the Android and Apple stores that will largely determine the success of the device.
Author: Khidr Suleman
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