Auguries Unclear, Check Again Later
This morning saw the launch of the world's first webOS tablet. The HP TouchPad is the continuation of Palm's mad dream for relevancy. And, if that vague "Summer" launch date comes quickly enough, they might have a real shot.
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Here's how the TouchPad shapes up against its top rivals: the Xoom, the PlayBook and the (speculative) iPad 2.
The TouchPad will launch with a Snapdragon dual-core 1.2 GHz processor, which puts it ahead of both the Xoom and the PlayBook in straight speed. RAM hasn't been released yet, but we know the Xoom and PlayBook both have 1 GB of RAM. We can probably expect the same with the TouchPad.
The iPad 2 is also expected to pack a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor. It is unlikely to have more than 512 MB of RAM, though. The TouchPad looks to have an edge here- if HP includes enough RAM.
It's hard to evaluate either tablet webOS or Android Honeycomb at this point, but the latter looks to have a big focus on efficient multitasking. The former is already fantastic for productivity. The current iPad is no hoss at anything productive, but the sequel may be a different story. The PlayBook's gesture-based UI allows for rapid, easy multitasking.
So there's no clear winner here.
The TouchPad has access to Beats Audio, HP's Movie Store and Flash 10.1 compatibility. Which every device but the iPad has, so big whoop. Thanks to iTunes and all those fancy deals with publishers, the iPad 2 will still have an edge over every other tablet in consumption. But the TouchPad looks to provide a preferable- or at least comparable- experience to Android.
Storage: The TouchPad comes in either 16 GB or 32 GB capacities, which puts it at the low end in terms of storage options for premium slates. The iPad and PlayBook will both have 64 GB models. The spec list notes no SD compatibility, which gives the Xoom a lead on the TouchPad as well. The first webOS slate doesn't do well here.
Camera: The TouchPad has a front facing camera (1.3 MP), but unlike the PlayBook and Xoom it has no rear camera. The iPad 2 is also expected to have a rear-facing camera.
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Conclusion: The TouchPad's desirability will largely come down to price. It looks to provide a superior multitasking experience to the other entrants, buoyed by a powerful processor. But it falls short in storage and still has many holes not covered by the spec sheet. Keep an eye on this slate, but wait for a full reveal before you start planning a purchase.