Since the debut of the iPad, tech companies have been racing to make a valid competitor to the wildly successful Apple product. We saw this with the Blackberry Play Book, the Motorola Xoom, and now we’re seeing HP’s shot with the release of the TouchPad. So one would ask, what is it that HP can bring to the tablet market that could possibly compete with the iPad?
WebOS: A powerful touch screen-based operating system developed by Palm that released with the first version of the Palm Pre over two years ago. Many say this is the reason that HP acquired Palm—just to buy the rights to the OS. WebOS has a unique way of dealing with multitasking through the use of “cards” or small active windows of each open program. The user can flick through the cards to switch between the different open programs, and when they are done, a card can be easily flicked off screen to quit. WebOS 3.0, which will debut on the new HP/Palm devices, will add “stacking” to the cards—grouping similar cards together to help the user stay organized.
Notifications: WebOS has always had a better notification system than iOS devices, and it has been improved for webOS 3.0. Letting users see the notifications on the lock screen (coined “exhibition mode”), as well as letting them flick through notifications until they find the one they want to act on.
Adobe Flash Player 10.1.2 Beta: The first tablet with Adobe Flash compatibility, a huge step up from iOS devices.
Touchstone Technology: Allowing wireless charging of any webOS device with an additional HP stand or charging unit and no third party add on. There is no need to take off the case to let Touchstone go to work. But going further than just charging, you can now share information from one webOS device to another by simply tapping them together. Share a URL, receive a TXT or MMS, and even answer phone calls on a different webOS device through Touchstone connectivity.
Synergy: Consolidating and organizing multiple calendars and contacts from all your outlets. Facebook, Linkedin, gmail, exchange, etc. Constantly updating and consolidating when data changes to make sure you have the most up-to-date information.
All in all, the HP touchpad seems to be a very well thought-out and functional device. WebOS will be an excellent platform for tablet computing, because it focuses on touch interface and multitasking from the ground up! The success of this device depends on how well HP can pull together its community of developers and publishers in order to establish a wide array of apps like the iOS devices. Look for this to hit shelves by summer 2011!
Author: T. John Mehl