Lengthy TouchPad demo reveals reborn gesture, keyboard keys, and more [video] | webOS Nation

Lengthy TouchPad demo reveals reborn gesture, keyboard keys, and more [video] 73

by Derek Kessler Thu, 09 Jun 2011 6:02 pm EDT

A few days back we sat through the live web steam of the HP Discover 2011 opening keynote, and we’ll be honest, all the talk of enterprise stuff and number crunching was starting to make us sleepy. But later on during the enterprise conference event, there was some webOS stuff, namely a nice long session with some press hosted by HP Hardware Project Manager Tim Pettitt. He gave a good personal demo of some features of the HP TouchPad we hadn’t seen before, as well as answered plenty of questions.

So here’s what’s new: the “swipe up” gesture has returned to the TouchPad, likely utilizing the same technique as the BlackBerry Playbook (where it detects gestures coming onto the screen using the outer 1-pixel border of the screen), the TouchPad can now do the same up swipe gestures as webOS 2.x devices: exit Exhibition, exit card view, open the launcher, and close the launcher. There’s not a gesture area, so don’t think you’re getting your back swipe and forward-to-refresh back.

We also got our first official(ish) look at the webOS Bluetooth keyboard, which we’ve already seen to have a number of dedicated webOS buttons. Among them are a card view button (which seems to simulate the up swipe gesture as noted above) and a notifications button that drops down the TouchPad’s notifications drawer. The tab key was also demonstrated to jump through fields in the email app, and we hope it will do the same on webpages. Pettitt said that HP is working with third party accessory manufactures so that they can create webOS-compatible Bluetooth keyboards as well.

According to Pettitt, HP has been pushing hard on high-end productivity apps. While games are great and all (the demo included both Glyder and Sparkle), HP’s research indicated that there are a top 20% of apps that users download and use on a regular basis, and those were the app developers that HP’s been pursuing most aggressively. We don’t know yet who all they managed to get on board for the TouchPad App Catalog, but it won’t be too much longer until we find out for sure.

One app we won’t be seeing, however, is a YouTube app. Because the TouchPad will include Adobe Flash 10.3, HP decided it would just be easier to let users just go to the YouTube website and watch the videos right off there than to try and make an app that encompasses everything that YouTube has to offer (a feature set that changes regularly). We can appreciate the sentiment, and we’re sure it will work find on the TouchPad’s 9.7-inch screen, but we certainly hope that won’t be the case for YouTube on webOS 3.0 when it gets to smartphones.

The video, all 37:59 of it, is embedded after the break. Get something to drink first; it’s a marathon.

Source: Geekazine; Via: webOSroundup; Thanks to everybody that sent this in!



Thanks for giving us all a very in depth view of the TouchPad. I'm don't see the need for a Pad for me, yet this video made me decide I do want one.

take care,


That's Tabs/pads for you! No one NEEDS one, but they are cool and I WANT one!

Actually with Citrix I can justify getting rid of my laptop. In fact it might even become a better option since it would be able to run some resource intensive application where most laptops would either be unable to do or overheat and drain your battery in no time.

> There’s not a gesture area, so don’t think
> you’re getting your back swipe and
> forward-to-refresh back.

I don't know why they don't support swipe forward/back using the same mechanism on the sides of the display. Hopefully HP will figure this out so we don't have to patch the OS to support the obvious...

I think the the problem is that it is not obvious anymore what back and forward means in an app that can have three panes at the same time. It is a "back" gesture akin to a back gesture in your browser, then?, thats unreliable at best and is similar to what the "back" button does in Kindle\Android\WM6 etc... something weird and unpredictable. We are not popping and pushing scenes anymore, for the most part, so it is not obvious anymore what does mean, sadly, as back gesture was very confortable.

Im curious about how copy and paste works too.

In phones, obviously, with the current UX paradigm, gesture area is a very welcomed must and I hope is there forever.

What it means is that you don't have to press a discrete button to do whatever a back or forward button is supposed to do. Gestures makes the user interface more fluid and less intrusive.

I do agree gesture makes things more fluid, but we are talking about the back and forward gestures in here.

If you always "enable" a gesture area in a touchpad application, the user will always expect that when he does the back gesture it works in every situation, no matter the state of the application. But in a touchpad a "back" command should only be present when it makes sense.

In the phone, in the current UX, it always make sense. In touchpad there are lots of scenarios in which it doesnt. Enforcing its use, as I said, can be completly unpredictable (back gesture in browser, kindle, etc). Thats why the concept of "back" is just as optional in touchpad as any other command.

These gestures are useful in the #1 application, the web browser, as well as with other content browsing applications. Most applications, regardless of what tools/frameworks are used to develop them could make use of forward/back functionality.

It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

I agree that a global gesture area (akin to that on the phones) doesn't make sense of the TouchPad for the reasons you say. But the large 'real estate' of the TouchPad makes it possible to have 'local' multi-finger gestures. You could easily perform a, say, two finger horizontal swipe for a back/forward action, one a specific pane. Hitting a back button on the screen is not 'cool' (not to mention the button takes up space)

With enyo the Back/Forward gestures are useless since almost everything is handled with panes.

I agree and I love using gestures on the phone. Having multiple window panes open make the forward and back gestures almost useless.

We also have to think about the general population who are not willing to learn something new. All these wonderful gestures will cause commotion. The upswipe will be used mostly by early Pre, Pre2 and Pixi users. Since we all know how to use them. Thats why in this video Tim got used to the upswipe and therefore it was put back in collectively through positive reception. I'm just glad we have the upswipe back.

If people do not end up getting a webOS phone with a gesture area they will not know what they are missing out on.

The problem with the swipe is that on the phone you swipe across the phone but on the tablet swiping across the tablet would be ridicules.

You wouldn't want to swipe more than a couple of inches so the problem would be how to detect where the start and end of the swipe is.

The functionality doesn't justify the hassle of implementation. I would like to have it to but it really isn't a big deal. I would have rather them focusing on adding a video out than a gesture swipe.

"it will pair" tapping foot... tapping foot...
the guy seems knowledgeable but the demo looks silly, get rid of the pool cover during the demo, it's distracting to say the least!

RE: lack of a YouTube App. According to the HP website, under the Pre3 features - Youtube section, "HP gives you the YouTube app, which makes it fast and easy to see your favorite videos on the go." http://h41112.www4.hp.com/promo/webos/us/en/smartphones/pre3-features.html
So, it sounds like this is just a Touchpad thing, not a WebOS 3.0 thing. My guess is that with a 10" screen, HP figures the youtube webpage works well, while on a 3.5" screen, you'll need an app to take advantage of the site.

dont think the Pre 3 will have webos 3.0

yeah, it will at some point. that's how it will run Enyo apps.

Regarding youtube, you could say the same for many popular apps we see. Use the browser.

HP, i think, is missing the point though. Even Precentral has already commented there won't be a youtube app. Other reviewers will notice this as well. It starts to become more about not having a certain feature that other platforms have.

This notion that its easier on HP isn't a great reason especially if it means a worse user experience.

If people think a full browser is the solution to everything, they should save themselves a bunch of dough and buy a Samsung Series 5 Chromebook. Better browser. "HD" webcam. Keyboard included. Bigger, higher resolution screen. Better Flash performance. Almost equivalent battery performance (7 hours vs. 8 on TouchPad).

But you may want to read the ThisIsMyNext review to see why even a light, new "Web" OS running on a dual core Atom at 1.6GHZ w/2GB of RAM and using full Chrome pales in comparison to more robust offerings.

Long story short....you need dedicated apps. Even YouTube.

Isn't Webos marketed as "the web"? Why use an app? I'm not familiar with the android or apple app, so can anyone comment on whether or not you are able to post/read comments or sort the way the browser allows you to?

HP is doing something no other os is able to do and that's synergy. Instead of an app to access data, the os does it and does it within other apps. See
HP is causing a paradigm shift in the way we perceive apps to function. Apps are nice, don't get me wrong, but as more APIs are released the better the os becomes. Google and apple are no where this type of thinking or approach.

I believe the 'everybody on' approach will mean much more than software companies using webos as a platform to showcase their apps. Why a window when you can get the door. HP is setting partners up to 'be' webos and truly creating a world of interconnected devices. Much better for us as I think. I would gladly pay more to have it all then pay per app. If this is what's to come then I definitely welcome this change of innovation, freshness, leading edge, boldness, etc.

Noticed the iPad guy typing away on the left? How disrespectful! :-P

Listened / watched about 20 minutes worth, not an easy video to follow when you can't hear the questions & comments from around the table, but that's just me... It still seems to be somewhat sluggish when opening apps, or responding to finger taps. I'm really hoping to see some rave reviews after it's released.

I assume (hope) it will be able to be patched the same was as the original Pre I had on Sprint...

I might be talking out of my butt here, but doesn't the YouTube app link to the more compressed mobile version of the videos? If that's the case it makes sense not to use it.

If not then there's no reason not to have it. Like someone said like a lot of other apps it just links to web content but when you add a shortcut it's called a "feature" and can be a useful selling point. ;) Although it's also a good selling point showing off Flash.

Youtube app uses HTML5 where as the Youtube website uses Flash. They can say all good about HTML5 but the fact remains that Flash is still far more fluid than HTML5 at least for some time to come. In that case why would you want to use an app when you can have the full experience of the site in a much more fluid form?

Just give us a darn Pre 3 already!!!! or at least a release month for christs sake.

ps. F U Precentral, why did you have to change your mobile site. It sucks a$$, leaving a comment it a pain.

sent NOT from my Palm Pre

Interesting HP WebOS Profile discussion at 23:30 for about 4 minutes. It's obviously one of the final things being sorted out prior to the TP launch. If I heard correctly, Tim Pettitt (HP) has a shared profile for his Pre 2 (using a non-production WebOS 2.x build). So an update is coming for WebOS 2.x. If so, the next question is what about users on WebOS 1.4.x? If this has been officially answered somewhere I would appreciate a pointer to the discussion. Thanks.

Hi all,

I have another comment about this video;

I wish when then make these videos they either place microphones around the table, pass one around or have the man doing the demo repeat the questions....

It's hard to follow in spots and your guessing at soem of the questions.....

Take care,


This isn't an official HP video. This was recorded by someone from the Geekazine website, who were members of the press event. I agree with you, it's difficult to understand what he's talking about sometimes since you can't hear the questions, but I don't believe it to be HP's fault.

Do they really have nothing new to demo aside from the splash and start screen of "Sparkle"? Not a good sign.

At least 3 people thought the very idea of HP demoing anything new was a bad idea.

Yeah...who wants yucky things like new apps or features demo'd? Sorry guys...

yeah it is weird that all i see is the same basic things over and over. its been since feburary so i'd think they'd have a lot more then basic apps and the stuff i've already seen to show.

In the video, he does mention that they have some "secrets" they haven't share yet. I'm not holding out for anything amazing or break-through, but there may be some unexpected things announced yet.

"Secrets" are one thing, but surely of the "thousands" of 3.0 apps to be available with the TouchPad launch, they would have SOMETHING new to demo in four months, right?

Webos 3.0 on the touchpad = overpopulated bug circus. Anybody who buys this thing right off the bat is nuts.

Then... I'am nuts :)

we are buying it right off the bat for our company. Maybe we are nuts but we would rather have a device that is designed with enterprise in mind rather than a device that requires iTunes to use.

They got rid of iTunes requirements for iOS 5, did they not?

They just got rid of activation requirement. You still have to manage the device through iTunes.

im taken everything in and nothing that was said was negative a back button vs back gesture isnt some huge deal and i dont even like any youtube apps or the interfaces like on my bluray player the real youtube is going to workout for me but i dont get the kindel app hold up how did every other os have one and im still waiting!? also a audilble apps are out is webos getting one? i just want all the best apps for my os ! so i'll be getting one july 1st i hope enough of us are

Kindle should be ready soon for the phones but what doesn't make sense is the audible app. PalmOS was I think the first one that got the audible app makes no sense for WebOS not to be getting the same app.

Anyone else notice at about 12:15 he mentions Beats headsets, and how the "Rdio guys have them"? does that mean we'll be getting an Rdio app in webOS 3.0? Hopefully so, because it's one of those popular newer services we don't have yet.

That's one of the big gets I need before I can consider a return to WebOS. I have Mog.com (better than Rdio, IMHO) on Android and Zune Pass on WP7. Grooveshark, unfortunately, is not up to the caliber of either.

WebOS needs a major music provider app where people can drop $10/14 per month, and listen to whatever they want at any time. And it needs to be integrated with Synergy.

I caught the same thing when I was originally watching the video. I'm pretty sure he was referring the Rdio app.

you sure he didnt say Audio people, as in the people from the Audio dept at HP?

about the comment on the youtube app, he says something about why do it if google is going to keep adding features, this translates to, we had other things to do and this wasn't on the high priority list. redirects to the website? one of the main benefits of a separate app as opposed to using the website is that it cuts out all the stuff that you dont need. when i want to watch a youtube video, yeah i'd rather use the app because 1) its quicker to load 2) easier to navigate (less zooming in and out) 3) no ads. really disappointed that this is not going to be a native webos app like it is on the phone. and someone mentioned that a full website will probably look better on the larger screen, are you kidding me? isn't that what enyo is all about--panels panels and more panels that you can open and close. and you can't see that being great with a simple movie viewing youtube app? thats ridiculous. if anything, that would have been something GREAT for the touchpad. and so they have
enough time and energy to build a brand new webos 3.0 facebook app, but youtube, the number one source for movies, they decided that google can handle that. it doesnt make sense to me.

commenting on the video, yeah there were a lot of missed touches and it did seem sluggish at some points, so is someone going to step up and say the software isn't optimized either? that this video was shot three years ago, so give them a chance to 'tweak' the software? i dont think so. if this thing is set to fly in about twenty days, it would be wise for HP to get it out to the review sites to do the rounds. and we all know what a disaster the playbook was when it was released for review, they were all negative because things werent finished. if webos is not to succeed, i would ultimately blame it on the overall sluggishness. it might seem like a small thing, but in today's age where things are fast fast fast, where people want it now now now, touch responsiveness and reaction time need to be impeccable! there is no room for not being able to have a fluid experience. if you are having to do a lot of two-tapping and waiting [Google maps took at least ten seconds on my pre, on my iphone 4 it takes 2] then you are taking away from the experience and you are noticing the hardware again. make the hardware disappear and let webos shine.

So why there are not thousands of youtube-apps that you can download for Windows?

im not talking about windows. im talking a webos tablet. there is a difference. one already existed for webos of the phone, and they chose not to create one for the tablet for whatever reason. how's that for a unified system?

So you're saying that if we buy this tablet, which is basically a netbook, we need apps for every website we want to visit? Seems pretty dumb.

But its not basically a netbook. It's more of a bigger Pre. If you need an app on your Pre, you're likely to want it on the TP. Besides, these tablets are app centric.

Regardless, you might have a good point but it is up to HP again to set expectations and define their version of things.

As I said....see the ChromeOS reviews. Just a browser (and full Chrome on the ChomeBooks absolutely smokes the WebOS browser) is not enough. You need apps.

It'll get reviewed soon enough by various websites. I don't think that's a problem. What is concerning is that HP hasn't done much to shape or influence these reviews.

Reviewers have their own expectations. If HP would hold an announcement and tell people their vision of a tablet and lay it out with like a list of things it must do, then reviewers go in with more understanding of what they can expect. Feb was too long ago and pretty vague.

Right now, i'd say most have ipad expectations and if HP does nothing to say otherwise about the Touchpad, then they may not like what the reviewers have to say.

You make a great point here. I just don't understand why they didn't hold a press event to announce the release date and pricing for the TouchPad. I can only imagine it's due to the fact that HP is running things now and they are not used to this market. Their bread and butter has been enterprise, printers and PCs (not mutually exclusive). None of those are things that consumers get really excited about so they don't require the effort of marketing.

The mobile space, however, is ENTIRELY different. It's pretty rare that a flagship product is not announced at some convention or at the minimum, at a company-sponsored press event. I had been thinking about this just yesterday actually. It's very disconcerting that HP has not been very flashy with the TouchPad. I understand they've got a lot of marketing/channel/whatever power, but what better way to get your product some attention than to stuff a bunch of tech bloggers/news reporters in a room for a flashy event and say LOOK AT US, THIS IS WHEN OUR KILLER PRODUCT IS GOING TO BE AVAILABLE!

But that's just what I would do... :-)

Because all they announced was a release date, pricing and retailers. He said in the video that they will have more to say later in response to what seemed like a question about video or music. Clearly, with place and price out of the way HP can still have an announcement into new synergy features for music. There's plenty of time left for that to happen.

That is very true but I hope it's not just an announcement from a press release. I think they need to have an actual event. Something to get the news media excited and get some focus and attention on the platform and the device. A press release is incredibly anti-climactic and very "business as usual" feeling.

It sure seems like they have more to announce, I just hope they set the stage for the launch with the way they announce it.

You'd think this close to release, they'd have things in place enough for a press event to basically do as i described earlier.

Here's the crazy thing...he was saying that AT AN HP EVENT WITH PRESS AROUND. If that's not the time to mention those things, when is? Is there a bigger HP event than their Discover expo in Vegas coming in the next 19 days?

I doubt it.

At 8:07 he mentioned that Touch to Share was allow people to "sit around and share things."

This seems to contradict on what the website is advertising right now, where they say devices must be using the same Palm Profile? I'm pretty sure different people won't be sharing one.

I don't think touch to share requires the same palm profile. As I understood he doesn't have the same palm profile on the touchpad and his pre. I remember him saying that he uses different profiles for different devices he has but then the touchpad had a pre paired with it.

He also mentioned something that sounded like at some point people could be sharing stuff between their phones by tapping them together.

I think the idea behind the touch to share is the same as bluetooth sharing but it isn't fully developed for the HP website to go into details of it.

I think the touchpad is cool and webOS is great. But I dont think the touchpad is ready yet. Hopefully it won't be as sluggish and unresponsive at times at launch. No one wants to be showing of their brand new touchpad and have to repeatedly press and swipe on it. So embarrassing HP lets fix that ASAP please!

WebOS will always be a bit slower at launching applications because it was built to run multiple applications at once not a single application.

That means there is no need to close the cards you simply leave them on the stage and go do something else. The problem is most people have the iOS mentality of closing an application once they are finished with it. In case of WebOS closing a card makes no sense specially if you are going to be constantly using it.

Yeah, leave the cards open. Then, instead of lag opening applications, you get lag from memory leaks and too many cards. Totally fixes the problem.

He said during the video that it was not a production build and that they wanted to keep 'polishing' things until the release. I'd imagine they will optimize at the end of the refinement process. Oh and one more thing, even iOS games do not launch immediately - they take some time to load so the fact that 3-D video games were not instant is consistent with tablets.

Someone in the forums pointed out a neat UI trick that iOS uses - when you start an app, it throws a bitmap of the start screen up instantly, while it loads the program in the background.

We used similar tricks designing Windows apps back in the '90s. The load time is similar for webOS and iOS, but that little UI trick makes it seem like apps load faster on iOS.

How many times with our current webOS phones have you tried to swipe a card away and it doesn't happen? Or tap on something like a link and it doesn't happen. Update after update nothing changes. I'm just seeing the same trend in most videos of the Touchpad. But I still will be getting one though.


I don't get the love for lag. The cards and animations are a cool trick, but at the end of the day, if its faster to toggle between apps or screens, even if its not "true multitasking," I'm going with that.

If and when the day comes that webos doesn't lag, I will be the first to give it another try.

I've not seen any mention anywhere of the TouchPad being able to output video. For me a compelling reason to go with a tablet of some kind (preferably a webOS one) is that it would allow me to no longer need a laptop for presentations (PowerPoint). Nearly a decade ago I was able to use a PDA (Toshiba e740) with a VGA adapter to do PowerPoint presentations without a laptop (and I could hook a full sized keyboard, mouse, and external hard drive to it too). Do I have any hope for this with the TouchPad? My best guess currently is that the answer is, "No" out of the box, but maybe an accessory would help out down the road... Thoughts?

I like these sort of gestures. One of the nicest things on my macbook air is the touchpad (name ambiguity!). I can do most things with just one hand (scroll, change between apps, move across a list of e-mails, browse the web) with two, three and 4 finger gestures.

I wonder, why don't they add multi-finger gestures on the TouchPad? It solves the ambiguity with multiple panes in Enyo. The gesture applies to the pane you perform it on (say, two finger swipe horizontally left/right for back/forward etc)

thank goodness!
everytime i use a touchpad I keep trying to swipe up and just end up feeling a bit silly when nothing happens :-)
hope some new gestures/ways of using the device come in as hPalm had alluded to too!!

I am so happy that they brought back gestures to some degree. I was really bummed when I thought about life without it on the tablet.

aahhh...My Pre3 is so close... I can see it...he keeps waving it at me...just...can't...get at it....stupid video.

hugely happy that the swipe up gesture has returned

I don't "need" one of these, but I definitely "want" one!

Very cool, SO glad to hear Flash is coming. I'm still on my old Palm Pre but have been a palm user since early on. I've been threatening daily to switch to a new droid once my contract is up in late December of this year. I'm ok with having a touchpad that doesn't talk to my old palm for a few months.

Now onto saving the necessary cash. This will be more expensive than my adequately functioning eee PC netbook running XP. But, it looks like the extra $300 will be worth it. The ability to key a touchstone for functions in each room is huge and taping my phone to the pad to float an app to it rocks.