SAN FRANCISCO—As expected, Hewlett-Packard Co. Wednesday (Feb. 9) introduced its first tablet and smartphones based on the webOS mobile operating system developed by Palm Inc.
The HP TouhPad tablet features a 9.7-inch diagonal flush capacitive multi-touch display, virtual keyboard, instant-on access and support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta. The device features a Snapdragon dual-CPU processor from Qualcomm Inc. and is available in either 16GB or 32 GB configurations.
"Today we’re embarking on a new era of webOS with the goal of linking a wide family of HP products through the best mobile experience available," said Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president and general manager of HP's Palm global business unit, in a statement. "The flexibility of the webOS platform makes it ideal for creating a range of innovative devices that work together to keep you better connected to your world."
HP also introduced two smartphones—the Pre3 and the Veer—based on webOS.
WebOS is a proprietary mobile operating system by Palm, which was acquired by HP last year. It is said to offer advantages to developers because it is based on the same standards as the Web.
HP's push into tablet and smartphones is seen as an important push for the company in establishing itself as a player in mobile devices beyond the notebook PC. To succeed in this endeavor, HP will have to grapple with established players—notably Apple Inc.—and compete with the slew of smartphones already on the market and the wave of tablets that is just beginning to hit.
HP described the TouchPad's user interface as "a visual representation of your workspace." The company said the TouchPad enables true multitasking with multiple applications running simultaneously.
Amazon.com Inc. said Tuesday it will launch a free Kindle app for HP webOS tailored for TouchPad that will provide access to more than 810,000 titles from Amazon’s Kindle Store and enable users to subscribe to magazines and download movies and TV shows through the HP Movie Store.
TouchPad also offers a music app that lets users transfer and play music from personal music collections with high sound quality.
HP said it is working with Quickoffice to include the Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite, which lets users view and edit documents, such as Microsoft Word and Excel. TouchPad also comes with VPN support to connect to corporate networks, HP said.
TouchPad also features 1.3-megapixel front-facing webcam and is compatible with HP's printing products, enabling users to wirelessly print documents, photos and emails to compatible wireless and networked HP printers, HP said.
HP TouchPad is scheduled to be available in the summer, HP said. Exact pricing and availability will be announced at a later date, the company said.
Also Wednesday, HP announced the Pre3 smartphone emphasizing professional productivity and personal connectivity, and the Veer compact smartphone. The Pre3 is scheduled to be available in the summer, while the Veer is set to be available in early spring, HP said. Both devices also run WebOS.
I'm with LarryM99. I want something like the new Motorola Xoom, but with WiFi only internet access. Apple makes WiFi only ipads. Why not have the Android equivalent? Or even the choice to change the OS to Linux or whatever else I fancy?
Yeah, Frank, I recognize that I am in the minority. Anymore that seems to be the case more often than not - I've learned to live with it :-). That being said, vertically integrated solutions tend to go in and out of favor. Right now I see the clamps being put down on products to the detriment of innovative application providers. The massive disintermediation that happened as a result of the open Internet is slowly being undone. Maybe that is part of the normal business cycle, but it bothers me nonetheless.
Larry, I get where you're coming from, but I think you are in the minority. The mass market of consumers actually want that seamless vertical solution. They know they're going to pay a monthly fee of some sort to one wireless carrier or another, so why not get the subsidized hardware for cheap and just go with the apps environment that the carrier and it's partner support?
True hackers jailbreak their phones anyway, to get that extra 'whatever' they are seeking. But that isn't the mass market. Ask yourself, what would your 18-year old niece want to buy and what does she expect from it? That's what determines the mass market product offerings.
The name of the game is seamless simplicity, not "I want a C:\ prompt and then I will decide what happens next."
The problem with those "seamless" vertical solutions is that the vendors that create them concentrate more on how to lock onto my wallet than how to make something that does what I want it to do. I would rather use an external Mifi or other solution for Internet access so that it is not locked to a carrier. I want to be able to run eReader software from B&N, Amazon, or whoever (although I'd rather use open platforms there as well). I want to run whatever app I want whether Apple blesses it or not. Granted, if I were specifying a corporate platform I might want to lock it down more (this is where HP should be and probably is aiming) but I would expect my company to pay for that. This is what I personally am looking to buy.
And I think you should set your sights higher. In HP's case they want to provide a more seamless solution set for computing up and down the stack. This, I think, is a move in the right direction... but still falls short.
Apple, Motorola, and now HP are all creating expensive specialized devices. I am looking for an unpretentious clone with decent specs that I can use the way that I see fit. A Tegra 2 CPU, a good 10" screen, 32 GB or so of storage, Android 3.0, and fast Wifi with no carrier entanglements. That's what I'm looking for.