HP TouchPad

by Branko Miletic

Here’s a couple of questions for you – what has 16GB or 32GB of storage, can use Flash and runs on Palm's you-beaut operating system called WebOS? Answer- HP's TouchPad and it could well become the main threat to the iPad if HP plays its cards right.

I say this not only because the TouchPad is a well-made and easy-to-use unit. Now that Apple has decided to spend its hard earned cash to try and destroy main rival Samsung and its Galaxy tablet, the competition is either locked in a do-or-die struggle in some courtroom or is going to end up in landfill.

Getting back to the HP unit. Why HP didn't go down the Android path is somewhat understandable considering it spent about $US1.2 Billion buying Palm last year and for that kind of money, you really want to get as much out of your purchase as you can.

WebOS is not a bad system – it’s fast, responsive and seems stable. The tablet itself is well-made, which is not really surprising since HP has a long pedigree in making some quality items. And before I hear the howls of protest form the Apple Army, WebOS is no more or less of a strange ecosystem than Apple's iOS.

Much like the RIM PlayBook, it’s the Apps that make any Tablet what it is. And when it comes to the TouchPad, it also suffers from App Envy. And looks won’t cut it here either – the TouchPad looks great, but if it can't offer more than aesthetics then your usefulness is pretty limited.

What the TouchPad does well is run Flash videos (read this and weep Apple), and is a true multitasking piece of tech. The iPad looks like it can multitask but in reality plays the pause-and-play game when you open a number of Apps at once and ‘The Just Type’ search function is good for finding most things online.

You can also connect to a VPN and your corporate email account, which the iPad (or Android devices for that matter) won’t allow you to do just yet and HP also provides it with a few other online goodies that are unique to the company.

But really, it’s the Apps we want (and need to make the Tablet really useful) and in this department, the TouchPad just doesn't cut the mustard. I know this will change over time and talking to the HP internal marketing team, they and their app team are working overtime to come up with more than the baker's dozen of apps now available from HP.

From a hardware point of view, the TouchPad with its1.2GHz Snapdragon processor and 1GB of RAM means the grunt is there and with the ability to stay live for 8 hours makes the HP perfect for that flight to Singapore or Tokyo or for the family drive to Coff's Harbour. But read my lips HP- its all about the apps.

Pros: fast, easy-to-use and long battery life
Cons: another tablet that is an app-free zone

3.5 Shacks out of 5