HP and the TouchPad – Release the WebOS and the Developers will Smile

HP is now in everyone’s sights, showing up on my radar, as WebOS is now official news since their launch on Wednesday February 9th 2011 in San Francisco, California. As usual, a bit of a background where HP and Tablets are concerned! After all, unlike the other entrants to the Tablet market, they are famous for their extremely reliable printers, STILL their core business; thus the HP Slate 500 would classify as an experiment!

HP may have stopped and got a hold of their faculties since the successful HP Slate 500 experiment, as it now appears that the promise of a WebOS based Tablet, heard of but yet to be seen in the wild….will now reveal itself! Enter WebOS, Stage Left!

HP has recently released details of a pair of WebOS based Tablets codenamed Topaz and Opal in the week of January Wednesday 19th 2011, news sure to delight Developers. Sporting measurements of 9” and 7” respectively, scant details were available from EnGadget as to the Tablets specs, save for its OS being assuredly WebOS.

However, its launch date, set apart from the din of the just-concluded CES 2011 is on Wednesday February 9th 2011. Interestingly too, a little known tech website named PreCentral.net had leaked a detailed spec sheet that reveals the WebOS surprise slated for the ominous mid-week appointment in San Francisco. HP slammed it of course, but rumour is news in Silicon Valley!

Both 9” Topaz will be bejeweled with a 1,024 x 768 resolution 9-inch screen; have premium audio; no word on the accessories for the 7” Opal. Palm Pre wireless dock, which may make the Tablet into a portable PC called the Touchstone is also in the mix. The usual suspects in terms of communications protocols mash-ups that we all come to know, love and expect will be packaged with this revamp of the Tablet concept by HP.

The Tablet, fortunately, will be packing wireless printing. Standby time and usage time on full video playback in intensive usage has not been specified.

Thus I must conclude that the much rumoured launch date of September 2011 of the Topaz and Opal Tablets, also rumoured to be sporting 512MB of RAM, three (3) storage options that being 16GB, 32GB, and64GB, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera and powered by a Qualcomm MSM8660 1.2GHz processor, may be to tweak and test the battery life, the sure killer of any Tablet’s success in this now intensely crowded and slowly simmering “secret” Tablet War soup brewing Stateside. Better specs than the half-baked HP Slate 500 by miles, despite the Indianapolis-inspired name!

Tantalizing as this quiet launch is, it is the thoughts of the possibility of another Platform for Developers to write apps that truly excites! After, if Apple can surpass ten billion (10,000,000,000) app downloads and Gartner can project app sales of US$15 billion in 2011, then bring on WebOS!

HP's new webOS powered tablet

So now that HP has revealed the Koor-i-Nor Diamond in the form of the HP Touchpad along with a new Pre 3 and the super tiny smartphone, the HP Veer at the press event held in San Francisco, what are we to make of this wonderkid? First throw 9” “Topaz” and 7” “Opal” out the window, despite been a lot more cool than “TouchPad”! People, this is HP! Business and practicality, not “fun”; that’s Apple Inc! At 1.6 pounds, 13.7mm thick, it means business…on the go!

After vaporizing these names from our Fantasyland frame of mind, the specs are a crew-cut away from being right. 9.7-inch capacitive touch screen (1,024 x 768 resolutions), on par with the Apple iPad but cannot even hold a candle to the stellar resolution of the Motorola Xoom screen.

The HP touchpad comes with street legal racing threads! Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.2GHz dual-core processor. 16GB and 32GB storage options included. The usual suspects at the scene of the crime: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+ EDR, Virtual keyboard, Light sensor, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Compass. Touchstone, the docking charger is the only non-buttoned up part of this ensemble. And yes, HP, famous for its printers, has included integrated wireless printing with possible native Microsoft Office support. Only Natural!

Now for the curios! It sports a 1.3 megapixel front facing, a tad scrawny being as everyone is pushing 5 megapixels minimum. Throw in the lack of a rear facing Camera, and one realizes the business mantra from HP is thrown into the mix again. Unlike the Apple iPad, the Tablet comes with Bluetooth connectivity to the Pre 3, which also doubles as a Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) hot spot!

Criticism from those tired of hearing of Tablets roll easily off the hotplate of your mind. A threadbare apps store and its Bluetooth tethering feature, albeit similar to the RIM Playbook, is unlikely to be used. This as with no WebOS based ecosystem like Apple Inc and its beloved products, one cannot conceivably see a customer being compelled to purchase the HP branded Pre 3 or HP Veer just to utilize this synchronization feature.

Stir into the boiling cauldron of criticism the now usually MIA (Missing in Action) information on pricing, battery life and availability (assumed to be by September 2011!) and the stew does not appear so palatable to the HP Execs. These HP bigwigs must weight the consequence of the timing of the HP TouchPad’s launch. Especially with the Cobra that is the Apple iPad S poised to strike and rumoured to be in production, based on a recent Wall Street Journal Report as my fingers pound the keyboard of my anti-diluvial computer.

This would add up to four (4) the total number of new Platforms on both Tablets and smartphones that Developers can write apps for, counting Blackberry OS 6.0, Google Android OS 2.4 aka Honeycomb and Apple iPhone 4.0, as Windows 7, strictly speaking, based on my arguments presented above is not optimized for Tablets, making HP Slate 500 a lucky success. The Age of Laptops, Netbooks and PC’s slowly coming to an end with each Tablet launch and this is no different. WebOS has potential, but only the Developers and their tailored apps can make it shine enough to compel customers to hop onto HP’s bandwagon. Hopefully before September 2011, info on pricing, battery life and availability will slither into the spotlight, with the sly Kraken that is WebOS taking centre stage!

The Tablet Wars, truly, has begun, with Developers smiling all the way to the bank as HP has now released the Kraken in this post Wednesday February 9th 2011 in-depth analysis on HP, WebOS and its sprung launch on an unsuspecting San Francisco!

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.


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