The striking thing about the recently unveiled HP TouchPad tablet is how similar its form factor is to Apple's iPad. Like the iPad, it employs a multitouch-capable LCD touchscreen with a resolution of 1024x768 pixels, it weighs almost the same and its dimensions are virtually identical.
In terms of what's running the show on the inside, there are some obvious differences. Apple's tablet uses the company's 1GHz A4 processor, while the HP TouchPad packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060 CPU that runs at 1.2GHz.
It's the software, however, that will probably make or break the HP TouchPad. Apple's iOS operating system works across a range of devices — iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone — and benefits from having by far the most impressive mobile apps store. The TouchPad runs the Linux-based webOS, which employs a "cards" metaphor for handling multiple applications. The original webOS devices — the Palm Pre and Palm Pixi — were praised for their interfaces.
However, both the iOS juggernaut and Google's Android platform offer far more apps to choose from. RIM's forthcoming BlackBerry PlayBook, which runs BlackBerry Tablet OS, and HP will be competing to make webOS app development worthwhile. However, and most importantly, Angry Birds is available for webOS. The TouchPad website states that there "are already thousands of great apps for HP webOS". The Android Market offers more than 200,000 apps, BlackBerry App world has some 10,000 applications and Apple's App Store has more than 400,000.
Wi-Fi-only, 3G and 4G versions of the HP TouchPad will be released. Pricing has not been announced. Even if the TouchPad is available at a price that is competitive with the iPad — something the majority of Android tablets have not managed so far — it will have to deal with the looming spectre of the iPad 2 (or whatever moniker Apple goes with for its next-generation iPad).
|Feature||Apple iPad||HP TouchPad|
|Operating system (OS)||Apple iOS||HP WebOS|
|Display technology||Capacitive LED-backlit IPS||Capacitive LCD|
|Display resolution||1024x768 pixels||1024x768 pixels|
|Camera||None||Front: 1.3 megapixel|
|GPS||Yes (Wi-Fi + 3G models)||Yes A-GPS (3G models)|
|Internal memory||16GB, 32GB or 64GB||16GB or 32GB|
|Dimensions||242.8 x 189.7 x 13.4mm||240 x 190 x 13.7mm|
|Weight||730g (Wi-Fi + 3G models)||740g|
|Processor||Apple A4||Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-CPU APQ8060 1.2GHz|
|Bluetooth||2.1 with A2DP||2.1 with A2DP|