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