Forget the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Tab. At their webOS event today, HP just unveiled the HP TouchPad, and judging by first initial blush, it might be the first tablet that can really challenge the iPad in its own game.
Boasting a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and a 9.7-inch 2024 x 768 display (just like the iPad), the HP TouchPad comes with either 16GB or 32GB of onboard storage, as well as Flash Player 10.1 support and the newest iteration of HP’s webOS operating system.
Thanks to a front-facing camera, the TouchPad supports FaceTime-style video calling, and to improve sound quality, HP has carried their Beats Audio technology over from their line of notebooks to the TouchPad. And because of the new functionality found in webOS 3.0 as well as HP’s revised Touchstone technology, the TouchPad has its own versions of AirPrint and AirPlay. Like with the Veer and Pre 3, this TouchStone technology will allow you to share information between webOS devices by tapping them together, as well as allow you to charge your TouchPad wirelessly.
To be honest, this looks like a heck of a response to the iPad, and maybe the first tablet that tries to compete with Apple on its own terms. The only problem is that when it’s released this summer for an unreleased price, the TouchPad won’t be taking on the iPad… it’ll be taking on the iPad 2. That puts HP at a huge disadvantage, because not only will the iPad 2 obviate most of the TouchPad’s strengths (video chat and a dual-core processor, most of all) but will also give users access to a much more robust app ecosystem than that afforded by webOS.