HP/Palm Announce "TouchPad" WebOS Tablet, Looks Impressive

Though WebOS never really got much traction, HP/Palm are looking to change that with today’s announcement of a new tablet based on their OS.

Called the Touchpad, it seems HP/Palm are emphasizing the superiority of their interface more than any particular hardware features. That said, the specs for the device look impressive:

  • Dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor
  • 9.7″ display, at 1024×768
  • Full flash support
  • Video calling with a front-facing camera
  • Gyro/accelerometer and a compass
  • 16GB/32GB storage
  • 1.6 pounds, 13.7 mm thick

From what we’ve seen so far, the device looks fast. And full flash support is quite cool, as it allows you to browse the various video sites around the web. Other features include integrating all your services into one messaging app (like Sony Ericsson’s Timescape app). In fact, integration looks to be the key feature. For example, you can comment on photos on Facebook from right within the photo app, and you can easily share info between the tablet and HP’s new smartphones, the Pre3 and Veer.

App support? So far, we’ve seen OpenGL gaming, a Sport Illustrated mag, a new Kindle app just for WebOS and movies from Dreamworks studios.

The problem for Palm/HP is how to distinguish the TouchPad. Yes, it looks good and the interface is slick, but it’s still a bit confusing as to why someone wouldn’t want the apps available in either the iOS or Android ecosystems rather than this. And unlike the RIM Playbook, the form factor is almost exactly the same as the iPad.

Still, the device will now have HP’s considerable marketing muscle behind it. Could we see a tablet market with 4 separate ecosystems?

What do you think Techi readers? Is this a worthy alternative to tablets like the Xoom or iPad?

Written by Navneet Alang

Navneet Alang is a technology-culture writer based in Toronto. You can find him on Twitter at @navalang

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