Saturday, July 16, 2011


Posted by Vishnureddy at 5:51 PM

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HP new tablet computing, though it has some growing pains that need to be worked through – especially in the hardware department.
Measuring 13.7 millimetres deep and weighing 740 grams, the TouchPad is a chubby, glossy black obelisk. A handful of ports and buttons – power, volume, headphones, and miniUSB – surround its clear and bright 9.7-inch 1024-by-768 touch screen display. A front-facing camera is at the top of the screen for Skype calls (there’s no lens on the back, which means no stealth videos or pictures when people think you’re just reading a book on your tablet), and a Home button sits at the bottom.
It looks more or less like the original iPad, but is considerably heavier, which could make it a hard sell for people eager to own the sleekest, slimmest gadgets. However, there are a couple of original hardware features here that could go overlooked.
The first is built-in wireless induction charging. Just prop the TouchPad up on the Touchstone Charging Dock ($79.99), and the 6300 mAh battery – which, by the way, endured three days of frequent but casual use with screen brightness turned down and WiFi on – will automatically begin juicing up, even through the TouchPad’s thick protective case. Great stuff for folks who hate fiddling with plugs and wires.
The other is Touch to Share, which lets users swap URLs with the soon-to-be-be released Pre 3 smartphone simply by making the two devices physically touch each other (assuming both devices are signed into the same WebOS account. I watched this feature in action with a pre-production Pre 3 and saw a website instantly migrate from phone to tablet. It felt a little like magic – the sort of marvellous, ridiculously intuitive technology seen in near-future sci-fi films brought to life.
Touch to Share feels limited at the moment – it would be great to be able to sync and share more substantial content this way – and it necessitates buying into HP’s “better together” sales pitch, but there are definitely some unique possibilities here.
The TouchPad comes in two hardware configurations to start: a 16-gigabyte WiFi version for $519, and a 32-gigabyte WiFi version for $619, which is about on par with competing iPad models. HP refused to comment on the possibility of 3G editions, but I expect they will come, and sooner rather than later.
Viewed next to the svelte forms of an iPad 2 or Galaxy Tab 10.1, the portly TouchPad doesn’t do a great job of selling itself. But the real draw of HP’s tablet is webOS, the critically acclaimed but slow-to-catch-on operating system that powers HP’s Pre phones. It’s been optimized for the slate’s larger screen, and it distinguishes itself from the competition in a number of ways.

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