The evolution of HP Tablet computers continues with the recently announced HP TouchPad, closely following the fourth quarter 2010 introduction of the HP Slate tablet. In a change of direction from many of its tablet competitors the computer giant is utilizing different operating systems for their tablet PCs. The HP Slate runs the Windows Pro OS and the HP TouchPad runs Hewlett Packard’s own WebOS software. With smaller and more compact devices and gadgets changing the way people conduct business, communicate and digest media, HP seems focused on listening to the needs of the marketplace.
Apple’s phenomenal success in launching the iPad tablet in 2010 has caused a frenzy among computer and smartphone manufacturers and developers. In one way or another each of them is looking to take a bite out of the growing tablet computer PC pie. HP appears to be delivering a multi-pronged approach.
HP TouchPad Tablet
HP has announced that the TouchPad tablet will begin shipping in June 2011. According to initial forecasts, HP is slated to sell 4-5 million units of the TouchPad this year. While Apple dominated the sale of tablet PCs during the last quarter of 2010 with 7.5 million iPads sold, HP does not seem to be positioning the TouchPad tablet as a potential Apple iPad killer. Instead, HP claims that it will focus on satisfying its wide range of enterprise customers, who have different needs from consumers and may require more custom products.
Although the interface and sleek designs are similar to its Apple and Motorola counterparts, the biggest differentiator for the HP TouchPad tablet is its operating system. The HP TouchPad runs on HP’s own WebOS, while many competing tablet pcs run the Android OS and the iPad runs Apple’s iOS. HP originally acquired the WebOS with its purchase of Palm who had developed the WebOS for use on its line of smartphones. The HP TouchPad is the first non-smartphone device to use WebOS. For better or worse this will definitely set it apart from the numerous Android OS powered tablets PCs.
HP TouchPad offers plenty of storage as it will ship in both 16GB and 32GB versions. The TouchPad also offers a compact wireless keyboard for people who don’t want to do a lot of typing on the touchscreen. Other accessories include a flip-case that doubles as a stand (as does the Apple iPad case) and a Touchstone dock. The HP TouchPad tablet interface enables perform multiple tasks; when a user is finished using an application, he can immediately flick it off the screen rather than shutting the application down. Here are some of the specs on HP TouchPad tablet computer:
- Operating System: Runs HP WebOS operating system.
- Processor: Uses a speedy 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU.
- Weight: Approximately 1.6 pounds.
- Display: Sleek black 9.7 inch XGA capacitive, multitouch screen with 18-bit color and 1024×768 resolution.
- Dimensions: Width: 9.45 inches, Height: 7.48 inches, Thickness: 0.54 inches
- Storage: Either 16GB or 32GB internal storage
- Connectors: Charger/microUSB connector with USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
- Wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n; 3G version to follow.
- Bluetooth® wireless technology 2.1 with stereo Bluetooth support
- Sensors: Light sensor, accelerometer, compass (magnetometer), and gyroscope
- Supports video calls similar to Apple’s FaceTime feature.
- Adobe Flash is supported, unlike on the Apple iPad.
The HP TouchPad was launched alongside two other flagship HP products, the Veer and the Pre3 smartphones. Indications are that HP aims to promote integration among its devices, where actions performed on the HP TouchPad tablet PC will be applied on the phones all with the touch of the fingertips.
The TouchPad tablet shows a lot of promise, especially with the growing business market. HP likely believes that the sleek black 9.7 inch touch display gadget weighing in 1.6 pounds will attract business-savvy consumers potentially because of the WebOS. The company is moving to deliver tight integration among its phones, printers and eventually, through its line of PCs. This could provide potential benefits in the business world.
The Businessman’s Tablet: The HP Slate 500
The fourth quarter of 2010 saw Hewlett Packard launch its first tablet PC, the HP Slate, a specialized tablet running the Windows 7 operating system. The HP Slate is powered by an Intel Atom Z540 1.86GHz processor, runs Windows 7 Professional (32-bit) and sports an 8.9-inch multi-touch WSVGA screen with active pen input (yes, it has a digitizer and Evernote software). The HP Slate 500 ships with 2GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD. Running on the Windows 7 OS, the HP Slate also supports multi-tasking.
Slate 500 Specifications:
The Slate tablet weighs 1.5 pounds and ships with the pen, a folio, and charging dock that includes two USB 2.0 ports, microphone/headphone jack, and an HDMI connector. The tablet supports 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It has both a VGA webcam on the front and a 3MP camera on the back for stills and video. HP claims its Slate 500’s 2-cell (30WHr) polymer battery is good for up to five hours of life, and the docking station will charge the tablet PC whenever the device is locked in.
One of the best features of the HP Slate 500 is the chemically strengthened glass which makes it very effective for use in the field. With its durability, the HP Slate tablet is being offered to enterprise customers through HP’s standard channels, specifically to those involved in the healthcare, retail, insurance, hospitality and education industries.
The battle for tablet computer market dominance will continue as long as new players continuously innovate and add to their features, improve their designs and create new applications that will entice even the non-tech savvy users. For now, the HP Tablet products hold some interesting potential, with their sleek design, OS and applications. Clearly HP is out to grab its share of the tablet market. Time will tell how well they do in this rapidly changing arena.