HP launches first run at the tablet market
TouchPad, two new smartphones offer 'original features that set webOS apart ... and takes them further.'
IDG News Service - Hewlett-Packard rolled out its debut entrant into the red-hot tablet market, the HP TouchPad, as well as two new smartphones -- all running a new version of the webOS that it acquired last year when it bought Palm.
HP may be behind some of its competitors with its tablet, but Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP's Personal Systems Group, implied that the market is in its infancy as he kicked off the event Wednesday. "We're in the early stages of a market that's going to continue to grow in size, importance and relevance," he said.
The TouchPad resembles Apple's iPad physically: It's a sleek, black device with a 9.7-inch touch display, weighing in at 1.6 pounds. What HP hopes will set it apart is the webOS and the tight integration that HP says it can offer with other products running that software, including phones, printers and eventually PCs.
HP also announced the Veer smartphone -- a tiny phone about the length of a credit card that HP says contains the power of a full-sized smartphone. And it announced the Pre3, an update to the Pre smartphone that HP positions as being for business users who also want the "fun" of a consumer device.
The Veer will be first out of the gate, expected to launch in spring. The Pre3 will launch in the summer, along with the Wi-Fi version of the TouchPad tablet, which will debut in the U.S. and a few international markets. 3G and 4G versions will come later. No pricing was announced for any of the products, which were demonstrated at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, just beside the bay.
HP also saved a surprise for the end -- it will bring its webOS to PCs, Bradley said. He didn't give any details and said HP will talk more about that later in the year. It doesn't necessarily mean that HP will ship PCs without Windows; it could take some of the webOS components and integrate them to give better synergy between the devices.
But the product that stole the limelight was the TouchPad. It uses a speedy 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, has a high-resolution, 1024x768 display and is 1.3 centimeters thick at its widest part. It has a 1.3-megapixel webcam and supports video calls in much the same way as Apple's FaceTime feature.
It will come with 16GB or 32GB of storage. HP will also offer a compact wireless keyboard -- likely an optional extra -- for people who don't want to do a lot of typing on the touchscreen.
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