The latest tablet device to try to muscle in on Apple’s market defining iPad is the Hewlett-Packard TouchPad. HP announced the latest tablet to enter the tablet wars will be available July 1st. A Wi-Fi connected version will launch first, followed shortly by a 3G version to launch on AT&T’s network.

Needless to say, HP has their work cut out for them. The iPad is by far, the market leader for tablet devices, and Android tablets galore are all over the marketplace. Add RIM’s PlayBook into the equation, and the tablet marketplace is quite crowded.

And for good reason. Tablets are redefining the mobile web experience and are beginning to significantly impact PC and laptop sales. Consumers are adopting the device en masse, and businesses are not far behind.

Both HP and RIM hope the latter of the previous statement opens the door for their entry – businesses adopting tablets. Apple is the consumer darling, having created a unique relationship with the buying public. HP hopes they can leverage their longstanding enterprise relationships to build a beach head with the TouchPad.

The TouchPad has some unique features, including the ability to print wirelessly to compatible networked HP printers. You can also exchange information between your HP Pre smartphone and your TouchPad by simply touching the two devices. The device is priced similarly to the iPad at $499 for the 16GB version and $599 for the 32GB version.

Here are some additional specs:

  • 9.7-inch XGA capacitive, multitouch screen with a vibrant 18-bit color, 1024×768 resolution display
  • Virtual Keyboard
  • Email capabilities include Microsoft® Exchange email with Microsoft Direct Push Technology POP3/IMAP
  • Integrated IM and SMS
  • A-GPS (3G models only)
  • Front-facing 1.3-megapixel webcam for live video calling4
  • Light sensor, accelerometer, compass (magnetometer), and gyroscope
  • Audio formats: DRM-free MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR, QCELP, WAV
  • Video formats: MPEG-4, H.263, H.264
  • 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
  • 16GB or 32GB internal storage
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-CPU APQ8060 1.2GHz
  • Dimensions – Width: 190mm (7.48 inches) Height: 240mm (9.45 inches) Thickness: 13.7mm (0.54 inches)
  • Approximately 740 grams (1.6 pounds)

HP also hopes its webOS operating system provides some differentiation. HP bought Palm to gain access to the software. In my own opinion, webOS is excellent and better than Android and probably Apple’s iOS. I experienced it through using a Palm Pre smartphone for a couple years. It’s very intuitive and it achieves multitasking far better than any other mobile OS.

It suffers from one gaping hole though – a lacking app ecosystem. The TouchPad only has about 6K apps so far, compared to over 65K on the iPad. But, if HP is successful in convincing businesses to adopt the TouchPad, the app deficiency may not be as important. Stay tuned.


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