webOS 3.0: Media And Documents
The native Music app in webOS operates in two panels. Once you select an album or artist, the program automatically switches to a list of individual songs.
Pictures And Videos
The Photos & Videos app sorts pictures and videos based on the folder they’re in. When you open a picture, you can rotate the screen as you see fit. With a video, the screen locks in landscape mode with the speakers on the bottom. If you’re using the TouchPad in a different orientation, the UI controls adjust accordingly, but the video overlay is locked.
Furthermore, the TouchPad cannot play any video larger than 2 GB. We're not sure if this is a limitation of webOS 3.0 or the TouchPad. HP uses the FAT32 file system architecture, so the maximum file size should be 4 GB. But although our 2.8 GB Blu-ray rip is detected, it refuses to play in the native video player.
At first we suspected an application limitation, so we purchased Kalemsoft Media Player (the only third-party video player available for the TouchPad). Interestingly, Kalemsoft wouldn't even detect any video file larger than 2 GB.
And we know this isn’t a matter of using the right codec, because when we split our 2.8 GB Blu-ray rip into smaller files, they played back in both apps without any problem.
HP’s TouchPad comes with a Microsoft Office-like program called Quickoffice that lets you view Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, and Excel spreadsheets. The company says it's working on a version that will allow editing as well in webOS. It plans to offer the update as a free download for TouchPad owners, but doesn't give an estimated date for availability. Meanwhile, the versions for Apple's iPad and Android-based tablets are far more feature-complete.
The one thing lacking in this review, which is also lacking in everything being written about webos, is the mention of what I consider one of the standout features of webos: The openness of the platform. With preware installed (free), you have access to thousands of patches and homebrewed apps as well as linux applications. It is possible, for example, to run a full Debian Linux in a chrooted environment (without any cracking or jailbreaking), giving access to OpenOffice, and all other x-server Linux software out there. HP/Palm is the only tablet OS developer that actively encourages the homebrew/open source community in its efforts. As a developer, it is not only the ease of development that is compelling but the huge amount of expressive and creative freedom you get. With the Apple appstore, the walled garden may protect consumers well, but also creates a completely controlled and often repressive and capricious environment for a developer. This openness is the secret sauce behind much of the loyalty of webos users. The os is a joy to use, a joy to explore, and a joy to create new code in. And unfortunately, most reviewers can't or won't take the time to understand this extremely compelling aspect of the OS.
Thank you again for the best review of the touchpad I've seen yet.
Thanks again, Andrew!
HP just announced the $100 off sale from this last weekend is now permanent.
"Effective immediately, the HP TouchPad 16GB Wi-Fi will now be available for $399.99 and the HP TouchPad 32GB Wi-Fi will now be available for $499.99"