by Anton Shilov
02/10/2011 | 09:18 PM
Palm division of Hewlett-Packard this week unveiled the company's first PC in tablet form-factor. The company emphasizes that its TouchPad slate is not only a media tablet, but a device ready to run with productivity applications and actually make some work. The system runs a new version of Palm's webOS and has pretty powerful hardware inside.
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.
"With the APQ 8060 and Adreno 220 GPU, the HP TouchPad delivers a high-performing and fluid multitasking user interface, as well as offers game and multimedia application developers a high-performance environment for their applications,” said Jon Oakes, director of TouchPad product marketing at HP.
But the HP TouchPad is more than just a powerful multimedia tablet, the company stresses. Thanks tailor-made webOS 3.0 operating system, the device can offer rather unique business features. For example, once paired with a compatible phone, the tablet can be used to answer phone calls and SMS messages. HP is working with Quickoffice to include the Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite, which allows to view and edit documents, such as Microsoft Word and Excel. It also comes with VPN support to connect to corporate networks. With the HP Synergy feature, one only needs to sign in to a Facebook, Google, Microsoft Exchange, LinkedIn and Yahoo! accounts and the contacts, calendar and email automatically populate the TouchPad.
Amazon.com has announced that it will launch a free Kindle app for HP webOS tailored for TouchPad that will give access to more than 810 thousand titles from Amazon’s Kindle Store. Owners of TouchPad also can subscribe to popular magazine titles, such as Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and People, and download movies and TV shows through the HP Movie Store.
Unfortunately, HP remained tight-lipped about the pricing of the TouchPad. The company only indicated that the device will be available in summer, which means that it will have to compete against numerous potentially dangerous rivals and the main one will be the second-generation Apple iPad, which is already in production.
A good and a bad thing about the HP TouchPad is its tight integration with webOS-based smartphones (HP also introduced a couple of new models running the webOS 3.0 this week). On the one hand, the integration between devices allows one to do more, but it also means that some features of the slate will not be available for those, who use other mobile phones. It is clear that HP's plan is to popularize the whole webOS-based lineup, but a natural problem with it is that there are few truly popular webOS-powered products and therefore customers may want to stick to a more open platform.
“Today we’re embarking on a new era of webOS with the goal of linking a wide family of HP products through the best mobile experience available. The flexibility of the webOS platform makes it ideal for creating a range of innovative devices that work together to keep you better connected to your world," said Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president and general manager of Palm global business unit of HP.