HP Officially Announces the TouchPad

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HP TouchPadHP has officially unveiled its TouchPad tablet at the webOS event today, but after so many information leaks, there weren’t many surprises left to be revealed about the much-anticipated device.

Sporting a 9.7-inch display, the tablet was described by Jon Rubenstein, former Palm president and current leader of HP’s webOS efforts, as the first in what will be the webOS TouchPad family. It will weigh 1.5 pounds, and will be 13.7 mm thick, with a 1024 x 768 resolution. Powered by a 1.2 GHz, dual-core Snapdragon processor, the TouchPad will have 1GB of memory. For storage, customers will have the option to choose between a 16GB and a 32GB model.

The TouchPad will also feature a front-facing camera that will allow for video chatting, a feature that HP says may lead to a partnership with Skype. Other features include Flash-readiness, Beats audio, and a built-in gyroscope, accelerometer, and compass.

At launch, connectivity features will be limited to only Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1. Unfortunately, 3G and 4G models of the TouchPad will not be coming until later.

HP TouchPad On-Screen KeyboardFor the business-oriented, the TouchPad will have an on-screen QWERTY keyboard (adjustable to four different sizes) and will run QuickOffice, allowing users to access Microsoft Office documents, including those from Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and PDF software, with the ability to edit Word and Excel files.

There will be a litany of accessories that will be available for the TouchPad at launch, like a lightweight carrying case and a wireless keyboard, but the most important one is the Touchstone charging dock, which had been previously referenced in an HP survey.

Aside from the fact that the dock utilizes HP’s Touchstone technology for wireless charging, it will also open up a number of possibilities for integration and syncing between multiple webOS devices on the same network, as was rumored not long ago.

HP TouchPadHP explained this feature during its presentation by saying how someone who is trying to confirm their flight on their Palm Pre phone could get to their house and use the Touchstone charger to sync and switch over to their TouchPad, only to receive confirmation of said flight on their tablet. Notifications and alerts like this carry over from one device to the next (and to cloud services) thanks to HP’s previously revealed Synergy technology.

With webOS and Synergy, one of HP’s major goals is to emphasize this kind of seamless integration between all of its devices, and not just with basic things like notifications, contacts, and calendars.

One example is the Touch-to-Share feature (yet another one that was previously leaked) and it, too, is part of the effort to facilitate seamless transitions between devices. To demonstrate Touch-to-Share, HP showed how you can go to a particular webpage on the TouchPad and then tap your webOS-based Pre to it and have that page load automatically onto your smartphone. This way, you don’t have to navigate to the page on your phone, but you can still pick up right where you left off. The Touch-to-Share feature can also work in the reverse, of course, going from phone to tablet.

HP TouchPad Photo AppIn another example to show how well the TouchPad can connect to the world around its users, HP also showed how it could tie in to social networking services like Facebook or Twitter; for instance, the photo application on the tablet not only allows for wireless printing to HP printers, but also allows for the viewing and posting of Facebook comments on photos, all without having to go to the Facebook site itself.

Though pricing details are still a mystery, the Wi-Fi-only version of the TouchPad will be available this summer, with the 3G/4G models coming at a later, unspecified date.

Photo Source: CNET

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