The Early Good and Bad of the HP TouchPad

Apple's iPad 2 tablet currently leads the market right now, no doubt boosted by the head start given to it by the first iPad.

Competition breeds improvement, and we're happy to say that there are other worthy offerings out there in from the likes of Motorola and Samsung for Android tablets, and now added to the mix is HP's TouchPad. For the record, HP said that its product isn't trying to compete with the iPad.

Editorial Director Barry Gerber has written down his early impressions of the HP TouchPad on our new sister site Tom's IT Pro. Here are some of his findings:

The Good

  • HP has finally mastered touch. The Touchpad’s hardware and webOS operating system make for a responsive, intuitive touch experience, unlike those horrible Windows 7 touch desktops and notebooks HP unleashed on the world not so long ago.
  • Management of multitasking apps is far superior to the iPad. Card view and user created stacks of related apps, make it easy to find and open any running app. And, I really like the way you close an app, just flick it toward the top of the screen.
  • Some apps run significantly faster than on the iPad 1 – e.g. Angry Birds HD. Yea, I know, a real business app. Hey, I’ll bet there are lots of angry birds …. and pigs where you work. I attribute this in part to the Qualcomm Snapdragon dual core processor and to good programming on the part of some app developers.

The Bad

  • There is no indicator on the right side of any scrolling zone to show you how much more you have to scroll to reach the bottom. This combined with slow scrolling often led me to give up trying to scroll.
  • As with the iPad, some apps will run only on webOS phones and not the Touchpad. Unlike with the iPad, the HP App Store doesn't provide consistent information about which devices an app runs on. You have to download the app, install it and try it to find out if it will run on the Touchpad. The one PC remote control program I found in HP's App Store didn't work on the Touchpad.
  • I still haven’t found an app that uses the Touchpad’s front-facing 1.3 MP camera.

Check out the full list of good and bad, along with screenshots, at Tom's IT Pro.

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  • chomlee
    I hope the webos market either dies quickly or become a great competitor to Andriod and IOS. I had a Palm Pre and I really liked it. I ended up moving to an Andriod phone because it had better options in terms of the android market. It would be a shame if people invested their money into a phone or tablet, only to have the OS (or more importantly the WebOs market place) die a slow and painfull death.

    I really hope HP can use its strength to market webos properly. I think Palm just had a run of bad luck having not been adopted very well by the public. (Poor Marketing probably)
  • belardo
    I just played with the HP TouchPad in a store for about 12~15 minutes. Here is my take.

    - It feels like crap! The entire back is GLOSSY PLASTIC CRAP! In the day or so it has been in the store, it is covered in finger prints! It feels cheap, it looks cheap. Rubberized material or metal or textured plastic - NOT gloss!

    And they are AIMING for this to be sold to *businesses*?!

    - Its as thick as the iPad-1. Not a biggie...

    - Its SLOW... try rotating the device and see how long it takes the interface to figure it out. In general, it seems like it prefers certain sides to be "bottom".

    - Locked screen position: Kind of like above... lets say, you're looking through photos in landscape mode, then you want to SHARE it with someone else - facing you. On an iPad, you simply change the angle to face the other person.... with this HP thingy, you'd have to turn it around.... otherwise, they'd be looking at an upside down image.

    - Setting?! What a mess. Its Windows control panel style... a full page of icons you have to read and learn. I think they were in Alphabetical order. Anyways, you press a setting button, wait about 1~3 seconds for it to open up into the animation style of WebOS... even if its a 2 field setting. And gotta remember to FLICK it off... otherwise you'd be running a whole bunch of SETTINGS windows.

    Thats a lot of windows to go through and get back to. iPad, its a whole screen with the settings grouped by importance from top to bottom and by function.

    - PhotoViewer works... would prefer a space between photos... looks MESSY to have all photos touch each other.

    - Video player... looks okay, but the unit would not actually play anything.

    - Display quality = good. Didn't look any better or worse than iPads.
    - Interface look, more of a dark-gray version of iPad - looks good.

    - $600 for 32mb version?

    Since it was next to the ACER-500something tablet, I compared the two side by side. Like the metal body, the device looked fine. The screen was easily lower quality. Android 3.x looks good, still don't have a good opinion on the various launcher screens... ie: maybe you'd like it. It handled rotation quickly.

    I personally prefer a PHYSICAL actual HOME BUTTON... it means the whole screen is for content. Rather, it'll have to hide the home button depending on the app. Nice thing is that the Home button is always at the bottom - leftish area... Again, if its going to be on bottom, it should ALWAYS be in the corner where it'll take less aiming effort... rather than the 1~3 other icons that may or may not be there. Android 3.x default icon is ugly - even thou its rather star-trekish.
  • sceen311
    "Some apps run significantly faster than on the iPad 1 – … I attribute this in part to the Qualcomm Snapdragon dual core processor and to good programming on the part of some app developers."

    Wow, you mean a man with 2 legs runs faster then a man with just 1?