Hands-on: HP TouchPad – The webOS tablet aims to take the iPad down

We got hands-on with the Palm TouchPad at HP\'s webOS event in San Francisco
We got hands-on with the Palm TouchPad at HP's webOS event in San Francisco

Hopefully, you were following our live blog earlier today and you’d know that HP just introduced the webOS TouchPad to go against the iPad and the multitude of Android tablets that will be soon hitting the market. We got a chance to get a demonstration of the webOS tablet and it looks like a well-designed product with some smooth software.

The webOS TouchPad has a 9.7-inch capacitive touchscreen but there’s no longer a gesture area like with the Pre family. Instead, you’ll hit the one home button on the face to get back to the homescreen and other gestures can be handled with on-screen controls.

With a 1024 x 768 resolution, visuals on the webOS TouchPad looked pretty good and the 1.2 GHz Snapdragon processor, enabled complete smoothness when switching between apps or closing programs. There’s also a 1.3-megapixel camera to make video calls but there is no rear-facing one.

The TouchPad will also have the connectivity options you’d expect, including WiFi, Bluetooth and the TouchStone technology will allow you to tap a Pre and deliver content between the products. This is called tap-to-share and it’s actually a neat effect but I don’t know if it’s actually more useful than something like Chrome to Phone but it’s neat nonetheless.

The webOS TouchPad will come with 16 or 32 GB of storage, a microUSB charger and Beats by Dre audio system. It won’t just be a personal device, as it will come preloaded with QuickOffice, have access to multiple e-mail accounts, as well as VPN access. For those who don’t like the iPad’s keyboard, you’ll be happy to know that this comes with a full number key and you can adjust the size of the keyboard.

We also got a look at the webOS TouchPad e-mail client and it looks pretty cool. You can have up to three columns on screen, expand a full e-mail to go full screen and then if you want to reply or forward an e-mail, that pops up as a new card. This could come in handy if you want to cross-reference older e-mails with your response.

The webOS TouchPad looks like a solid device but it won’t be hitting the market until summer and we still don’t know the pricing. It will land with WiFi-only first and then come with 3G and 4G. Check out the photos for a quick look at it and we’ll have an HD video up as soon as possible.

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