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Hewlett-Packard on Friday said that it would start selling its highly-anticipated TouchPad media tablet starting July 1, 2011. Depending on the version, the TouchPad with Wi-Fi will cost $499 or $599. HP hopes that the TouchPad will be very competitive on the market because of its feature-set and flexibility.

"What makes HP TouchPad a compelling alternative to competing products is webOS. The platform's unmatched features and flexibility will continue to differentiate HP products from the rest of the market for both personal and professional use. This is only the beginning of what HP's scale can do with webOS,” said Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president and general manager of Palm global business unit at HP.

HP TouchPad with Wi-Fi will be available from U.S. retailers, commercial resellers and direct from HP with the option of either 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage for $499.99 and $599.99, respectively. Preorders in North America and Europe will begin June 19, 2011. HP also announced it will be partnering with AT&T to introduce a connected version of HP TouchPad later this summer.

HP TouchPad is based on Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060 system-on-chip clocked at 1.20GHz that has two Scorpion application processing cores (ARM v7 instruction set, similar to Cortex-A8 design, but has significantly improved performance of SIMD operations), Adreno 220 graphics processing core, memory controller and so on. The device comes with 9.7" multi-touch screen with 1024*768 resolution, 1GB of random access memory, 16GB or 32GB of flash storage, front-facing 1.3MP webcam, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n controller, 3G or 4G module, Bluetooth support and so on. The TouchPad has 6300mAh battery and weighs 740 grams.

HP promises that webOS-based TouchPad will have a next-level multitasking, access to the web, premium audio playback with stereo speakers, the ability to find information on the device or in the cloud using the Just Type feature, integrated access to their information with HP Synergy, and HP's exclusive Touch to Share capability for sharing web addresses between HP TouchPad and compatible webOS phones. Even keeping in mind all the exclusive features, the question is how customizable will the system be and how many third-party applications will be available for the platform shortly after the launch.

HP's first webOS tablet will be available in the U.S., then in the U.K., Ireland, France and Germany a few days later and in Canada in mid-July, with availability scheduled to follow later this year in Italy and Spain, as well as in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore.

Tags: HP, Palm, webOS, TouchPad

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