HP Announces TouchPad webOS Tablet, Pre 3, Tiny Smartphone
Hewlett-Packard made its long-awaited webOS tablet official today at a special press conference in San Francisco. The Pre 3 and the HP Veer webOS smartphones also had their grand debut.
The webOS tablet is called the TouchPad and features a 10-inch display with 1024 by 768 pixel resolution. Inside is the newest dual-core Snapdragon processor (1.2GHz) running webOS 3.0. The new must-have feature of tablets and phones — a forward-facing webcam — is present and capable of making video calls. The TouchPad has 1 GB of RAM and will come in 16 GB and 32 GB storage configurations.
The TouchPad is aimed at businesses as well as consumers, and HP has added compatibility with QuickOffice, Google Docs, Dropbox, Box.net, VPN and wireless printing. Because webOS is compatible with Flash, one of the biggest benefits of a webOS tablet will be full access to Internet content. That means video and audio streaming, as well as interactive websites and Flash games. The TouchPad also has stereo speakers with Beats Audio technology for better sound.
The other major advantage of the TouchPad and future webOS tablets is true multitasking. While the iPad and Android tablets can mimic multitasking, webOS offers the true multitasking that computer users are used to through a series of application "cards."
"Multitasking was not an afterthought, it was a design principal from day one," said Sachin Kansal, director of product management at HP, during his demo of the TouchPad.
HP also unveiled the new Pre 3, successor to the Pre 2. The Pre 3 boasts a 3.6-inch (800 by 480 pixel) touchscreen with the same slide-out keyboard configuration Pre users are used to. It now includes a forward-facing camera for video calling, a 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor and 8 GB or 16 GB of storage. It's also compatible with the 3.5G HSPA+ networks.
"This phone is built for serious speed," said Jon Rubinstein, former head of Palm and now senior vice president at HP.
HP also announced a brand-new webOS phone — the HP Veer. It's reminiscent of the Palm Pre design, including the same slide-out keyboard and gesture area, but it's about two-thirds of the size. This is a really tiny smartphone. Rubinstein showed it wasn't much bigger than a credit card.
Other than the size, the Veer appears to be quite similar to the Pre 3: same 2.2 version of webOS, 8 GB of storage, 512 MB of RAM, HSPA+ network compatibility. The processor has seen the same downsizing as the screen — it's only an 800MHz Snapdragon, though that should still be faster than a few contemporary smartphones.
There was a significant amount of effort put into making all these webOS products compatible with each other. For instance, data is instantly synced across devices, and Rubinstein even demoed a "touch to share" feature. By simply tapping a Pre 3 against a TouchPad, the tablet sent the phone the website it was currently viewing.
The Veer is set for an early spring release, while the Pre 3 won't be on store shelves until the summer. The TouchPad will have a Wi-Fi only version that will be available this summer, but 3G and 4G versions won't come until later.