Hewlett-Packard Announces TouchPad Tablet with WebOS

Hewlett-Packard announced a new tablet on Wednesday in San Francisco, the HP TouchPad. Its specs are similar to the Apple iPad and uses the newest version of the Palm developed webOS, v2.1. A Wi-Fi version will ship this summer with 3G and 4G versions to follow. No pricing has yet been announced.

HP TouchPad

HP TouchPad

The specs of the TouchPad include: 9.7-inch XGA display, 13.7 mm thick, 1.6 pounds, a 1024 x 768 display, a 1.3 megapixel inward facing webcam, 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth + EDR 2.1. Sensors include: light sensor, accelerometer, compass (magnetometer), and gyroscope It’s driven by a dual-core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and will ship with 16 or 32 GB internal storage. GPS will be available only in the 3G/4G models. The screen size, resolution and weight are almost identical to the Apple iPad.

HP’s Jon Rubinstein, previously with Palm and Apple, provided a demo that showed some nice user interface touches, including swipe sideways to quit an app, a resizable virtual keyboard with a number row and an elegant interaction with the new smartphones, also announced, the Veer and the Pre 3. In addition, novel touches included the ability of the TouchPad to operate as a picture frame while it charges, resting on the “Touchstone” charger. Skype is installed out of the box.

Expected battery life and pricing were not announced at the event.

Hewlett-Packard spent a considerable amount of time demoing music and improving the music experience with 24-bit sound, videos and books, but that was just the demo. Some real tests remain: aggressive pricing, actual shipments this summer, the interest of the developer community and reaction by customers. This will take some time to play out as we learn more about the product, wireless carriers, and HP’s policies and plans.