Review: HP TouchPad [part 1] | webOS Nation
 
 

Review: HP TouchPad [part 1] 143

by Derek Kessler Wed, 29 Jun 2011 3:28 am EDT

The first webOS tablet: a legitimate iPad contender, or just another wannabe?

One year ago Friday, HP completed its acquisition of Palm. HP was the shining knight to Palm’s damsel in distress. Palm’s webOS strategy had not panned out and the smartphone pioneer was a few months away from bankruptcy. It was a tough time for the webOS faithful, and though the purchase by HP was met with celebration, it was also looked at with wary eyes.

In the year since, HP and the new Palm Global Business Unit released two devices: the underrated Palm Pre 2 and the tiny HP Veer. This all changes on July 1, 2011, with the HP TouchPad. Both the Pre 2 and Veer (as well as the upcoming HP Pre3) are products of Palm engineering. The TouchPad, however, is entirely an HP product. When HP bought Palm, it had no tablet prototypes or operating system in development. It took just seven months for HP and Palm to pump out the TouchPad and webOS that we saw in February at the Think Beyond event, and there spent the last five months refining both.

The result is a fast and capable tablet running a thoroughly modern operating system. There’s a good and growing selection of apps for the TouchPad, but there are some glaring omissions on the device and in the App Catalog. Despite the areas where the TouchPad is lacking, it’s still perfectly capable and full of potential. So much so that this entire review was composed on a TouchPad.

The TouchPad’s packaging is a departure for webOS products. Where the phones were shipped in layered boxes wrapped in a translucent plastic sleeve, the TouchPad comes in a tray-style box where the tablet and included accessories are laid out for you in a well-designed black tray that slips out from inside the white outer shell.

As you pull out the tray, the first thing you see is the TouchPad itself, wrapped in plastic adorned with iconography to let you know which buttons are where. The power and volume icons are engrained in our modern visual language, but the cards button icon will be a new and unfamiliar one to those not familiar with webOS. To the left of the dormant tablet is a narrow full-height bin topped with a lightning bolt and USB icons. As you’ve likely already surmised, contained within is a micro-USB cable and AC-to-USB power adapter (you’re so smart). The cable is the same that’s shipped with every webOS phone, and the power adapter is in the same style as the old Palm adapters, but longer to accommodate the charging needs of the TouchPad, and lacking branding.

The TouchPad itself is a 9.7-inch tablet that was very clearly modeled after the original iPad. In fact, in a head-to-head contest on external attributes, the two are for all intents and purposes evenly matched. Of course, all that changed when Apple unveiled the iPad 2, which the TouchPad can only match on screen size. In fact, the TouchPad cannot lay claim to being the fastest, thinnest, lightest, or number one anything in the tablet world. Next to the iPad 2 or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the Touchpad seems downright chubby.

The front of the TouchPad is dominated by the 9.7-inch touchscreen. It’s an 18-bit 1024x768 LED-backlit IPS display, faced with a capacitive touch layer under a full-front chemically-hardened Gorilla Glass screen. As one would expect from an IPS display, it has tremendous viewing angles and excellent color reproduction. The screen was perfectly viewable in direct sunlight with the brightness set at around 1/3, and the touch panel was exceedingly responsive.

Sitting above the screen in portrait mode is a front-facing, 1.3-megapixel camera for video chat. Below the screen is a small physical button where one would find the gesture area on previous webOS devices. The TouchPad has done away with the gesture area concept, but still needed a way for the user to get into card view to multitask effectively. The traditional up swipe is functional on the TouchPad, although it’s not an easily discovered gesture. Physical buttons that are staring you in the face from the moment you pick up the device are easily discovered. The button serves three purposes: it toggles card view, wakes the device from sleep just as the power button does, and contains an LED strip that illuminates with your notifications. This area also contains the communications coils used by the TouchPad to manage pairing and Touch-to-Share with devices like the Pre3.

At the top left corner of the tablet you’ll find a headphone/microphone jack. HP’s made a lot of noise over their Beats partnership, and they’ve integrated that tech into the TouchPad. That means dedicated audio processing and an insulated jack to minimize static, which is all meant to deliver a quality audio experience. HP recommends using Beats headphones, though any old pair of headcans will receive the enhanced audio experience.

A microphone pinhole sits at center top (right above the camera) and the power button is on the top right. At the top of the right side is the volume rocker, which is mirrored by a cutout at the bottom of the right side that on this Wi-Fi-only TouchPad has no purpose -- it’s the spot where the SIM card tray would reside on the GSM-compatible version of the tablet. Alas, there’s no SIM tray or SIM card here, just a fixed plastic door covering an empty bay where someday there will be SIM card hardware on a future device.

The micro-USB port sits at the bottom of the device. It’s the only physical IO port on the entire device, and even then only serves that role in a USB-to-your-computer capacity. There are no USB host capabilities here, so you aren’t going to be hooking up card readers, video output devices, keyboards, or whatever other tethered hardware suits your fancy. It’s possible HP could add this in a future version of webOS, but here out of the gate the TouchPad is lacking those features.

The left side of the tablet holds a pair of stereo speakers (they will be at the top or bottom in landscape orientation). These speakers are surprisingly robust, with decent sound and volume. It’s clear HP put a lot of thought and work into making sure the speakers could produce good sound. You’re not going to be able to use a TouchPad alone as a party stereo system, but it should be more than enough for casual music listening or movie watching. When using the TouchPad case, the speakers are on the hinge side of the flap, which puts them facing away from you in typing orientation and pointing down (but towards you ... kinda) in vertical movie orientation.

As revealed at (and often lamented since) Think Beyond, the TouchPad’s back case is curved glossy black plastic. It’s an instant fingerprint magnet, more so than even the glass screen. We would have much preferred a soft touch, or even just matte finish, back, but HP stuck with the glossy black. To make matters worse, this glossy back is also slick. While we managed to never drop our TouchPad, we can’t say we were ever really comfortable holding it one-handed from the side in landscape orientation. Portrait was doable, so long as we held it with fingers under the center of gravity (which itself is dead center).

All said, the TouchPad seems to be nicely put together. There was no noticeable flex in the body, no large gaps (even around the non-SIM door), no strange imbalances. It has a gorgeous screen and great speakers, but a certain amount of heft that the competition does not.

The TouchPad is 0.54 inches thick, while both the iPad 2 and Galaxy Tab 10.1 are 0.34 inches. The TouchPad weighs in at 1.63 pounds, compared to 1.33 pounds for the iPad 2 and 1.25 for the Tab. Needless to say, the TouchPad isn’t skinny.

HP’s done a decent job of shaping the TouchPad so that the thickness isn’t so obvious. In fact, the shape is a lot like a rounded-off first-generation iPad. Much of the TouchPad’s design was very clearly inspired by and targeted at the original iPad, though it’s surprising that HP didn’t make any strides to surpass that category-defining product in the dimensions metric.

Where HP did manage to surpass the iPad, and even the iPad 2, is in the area of internals. The TouchPad packs an extra snappy dual-core 1.2Ghz Qualcomm APQ8060 processor, backed up by an Adreno 220 graphics chip and a full gigabyte of RAM. You have the option of 16GB or 32GB at launch, though you’ll be limited to just the Wi-Fi version. An AT&T-compatible cellular TouchPad is due later in the year. The TouchPad also packs Bluetooth 2.1 as well as an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, and ambient light sensor (somewhat annoyingly placed in the top right corner, directly underneath where your hands hover when typing in landscape with the speakers pointed up).

All of that combines for snappy performance that is nearly 99 percent of the time on par with the latest from Apple and Samsung. That 1% of the time? The TouchPad inexplicably stops for a few seconds. We were told by HP that the user interface (and the rest of webOS 3.0) still isn’t fully GPU-accelerated, which could account for some of the slowdowns, but our suspicion is that there are still some optimizations to be made. Actually, we hope that’s the case, because these multi-second (occasionally up to 10 seconds) can be especially frustrating. The OS does pay attention to what’s going on during those freezes, so once it finally catches up all your taps and swipes during that time are applied in quick succession.

webOS 3.0

If you’re familiar with webOS, then webOS 3.0 on the TouchPad will be instantly familiar. It is the webOS we’ve come to know and love, just updated for the bigger screen. 3.0 has several user interface enhancements over 2.1, but it’s still the webOS we’ve come to know and love.

The entire UI rotates in every direction now, with the menu bar moving to the new top in each orientation. The notification area has moved from the popping up across the bottom to a spot in the top right of the menu bar, just to the left of the device menu. The device menu behaves exactly like the device menu from previous versions of webOS, though it has incorporated at least on homebrew element in the form of a brightness slider. There are also options for rotation lock and mute, making up for the lack of a ringer switch on the side.

The notifications work in a manner that combines the best of webOS and Android. They’re now placed in the aforementioned drop-down menu at the top right, no longer taking up a slice of the screen when you have a notification. That system worked fine on older webOS phones, but doesn’t make much sense on a tablet. Thankfully, HP’s managed to maintain Palm’s lead with notifications, crafting a system that is instantly intuitive, functional, and efficient.

Banner notifications (like Messaging and Facebook) get the same banner treatment that collapses into an icon as they did before, while others like Email are still just an icon and a sound. Dashboard controls, like in Music, get an icon when that app is not in focus. In essence, the actual notifying part of webOS 3.0 has not changed one bit.

Tapping on the expanding row of icons produces a drop-down menu with rows for each app’s notifications. If you’ve received multiple notifications for a single app, they will create a virtual stack that you can swipe through to triage down to the important notifications. This is especially useful for Email, at least for us since we can get upwards of a hundred emails a day. Swiping through the stacked notifications dismisses the notifications, but doesn’t mark the message as read. You can dismiss an entire stack of notifications by grabbing the icon and tossing it off to the side.

The same card metaphor that defined webOS is present in version 3.0. You can both press the physical home button or swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen in any orientation. The swiping doesn’t work like the old gesture area swipe, so you can’t do a slow drag up to lift up the old Quick Launch wave, mostly because there’s not gesture area. Swiping up from the bezel will first throw your running app up into card view, a second swipe will open the launcher. Swiping up again will close the launcher (still somewhat unintuitive), successive swipes will open and close the launcher. It works exactly the same way as the up swipe has since webOS 1.4.5. The home button’s functionality has changed from the Pre of old, where it simply toggled card view. On the TouchPad, however, this single front-facing button duplicates exactly the function of the up swipe: card view, launcher up, and launcher down. Annoyingly, the launcher up and down, whether by swipe, physical button, or virtual button in the Quick Launch bar, is always accompanied by a sliding paper sound that cannot be disabled.

Stacks are present in 3.0, allowing you to group together common apps. Stacking happens automatically for the most part, but often we had links in emails launch into an unstacked browser card. In practice, Stacks work better and make more sense on the TouchPad than it did on phones like the Pre 2 and Veer. You can still swipe left and right in card view to switch apps (there’s no “advanced gesture” to switch without leaving full view), and tossing cards off the top works to close. You can also pull apps to the bottom to slingshot them off the top, and if you rotate the TouchPad such that the micro-USB port is on the left side, that pull down yields the stretching slingshot and flung birds sound effects from Angry Birds. It’s hysterical, and led to us wasting at least five minutes opening a bunch of apps and firing them off the screen.

New in webOS 3.0 is a virtual keyboard. For the first official attempt at a virtual keyboard in webOS, it’s surprisingly useful. We’d actually go so far as to say it’s equal to that of the iPad, if not better. The top number row is a revelation in the world of virtual keyboards. It’s seriously a massive time saver, especially the shift characters - they match exactly your standard QWERTY keyboard.

The keyboard is usually lower case letters, but when at the start of a new line/sentence or when holding or having tapped shift, the letters switch to upper case. It can be a little jarring at first, but it, like many other features in webOS, is surprisingly intuitive.

The bottom right key is used both to dismiss and resize the keyboard. Options range from extra small to large. XS takes up just you under a third of the screen in landscape, and one quarter in portrait, while L fills half in landscape and a bit less than that in portrait. In out testing we generally full back to the middle sizes of S and M. XS was just too small to type with speed and accuracy, while L was too far spaced for our hands. Of course, your mileage - and hands - may vary. Regardless of size, we had a tendency to hit the n and m keys when aiming for the space bar, and webOS’ text correction still so far behind that it couldn’t parse out wordnword.

On the subject of autocorrect, the dictionary seems to have problems with apostrophes: it has all of the contractions in place, but doesn’t correct to their apostrophized form (e.g. isnt is not recognized as misspelled and thus does not autocorrect to isn't). On the plus side, autocorrect does now learn, so if you undo its correction and select your own, it will remember and use that correction the next time you make that same mistake. Text prediction is nowhere to be seen.

Text selection is greatly improved. In fact, it’s stupendous compared to previous versions of webOS. There’s no more holding down keyboard keys and tapping on the screen. All you have to do is double-tap on any work and it will highlight, and a third tap will add drag handles at either end (a small downward-pointing triangle to mark the start, and one pointing up at the end. Along with the drag handles you’ll get a pop-up box with cut, copy, and paste options. Pressing and holding in any text field will open a pop-up with select (which will highlight that word and give you the aforementioned drag handles), select all, and paste. It’s fairly intuitive and works well.

What doesn’t work well at all is text cursor placement. Since webOS 1.0 you could tap to place your cursor bar, and then hold the Opt key and drag on the screen to get more precision. webOS 3.0 has not improved on this. If anything, it’s taken a massive step back: as best as we could figure, there’s no method for precise cursor placement in webOS 3.0 - you have to tap and re-tap until you get it where you want. It’s not good, and when you’re trying to make numerous edits in a large piece (like, say, this review), then you’re going to get frustrated very quickly.

Overall, the webOS experience has not changed with 3.0, and that’s a good thing. On the TouchPad, webOS remains at the top end of the intuitive mobile OS spectrum, and the changes that have been made should scale nicely to the smaller smartphone screens. 3.0 improves on the solid foundation of previous versions, but like those previous versions, it won’t matter if HP can’t sell the public on the merits of webOS.

Built-in Apps

Launcher

The webOS 3.0 launcher is an exercise in plainness. It now fully rotates and you can place five apps in the quick launch bar across the bottom of the screen. These icons stay in place when you bring up the full launcher, where they’re duplicated in the order of your choosing - it crosses the best of webOS 1.0 (permanent dock with unduplicated icons) and webOS 2.0 (card view-only dock and duplicated icons). The opened launcher has lost the translucency of its predecessors, instead opting for a slightly noisy opaque gray-green background.

The app grid changes in landscape and portrait - 7x4 and 5x6, respectively. As with previous iterations of webOS you have no choice of icon size or spacing, though HP seems to have picked well in this case (and, of course, the scroll vertically so you can fit more than 28 or 30 apps on a single page). Because they have much more space available on the larger screen, HP added tabs to the launcher. The launcher’s pages can be accessed by tapping on the tabs (located along the top, naturally) or swiping left or right.

Out-of-the-box you’ll find four oddly-named tabs: Apps, Downloads, Favorites, and Settings. Apps holds all of the first-party apps (Contacts, Calendar, Memos, etc), Downloads has the App Catalog and any apps you download, Favorites is empty, and Settings contains the spread of individual preferences apps (the consolidated app we saw way back in the emulator leak didn’t make it to the final version). Those four tabs are all you get. You can’t move the tabs, you can’t rename them, and you can’t add or delete more tabs. It’s an enormously frustrating organizational system if you want to go by the tab titles. “Apps” should mean all apps, but it’s only the built-in apps, while downloads is only the apps you’ve downloaded, not any files. On my phone I preferred to have my most-used apps on the first page, with games, miscellaneous apps, and preferences on the other pages. Conceivably I could do the same here, but then the tab naming wouldn’t make any sense.

Moving apps around has at least improved. Tap-and-hold on an app icon puts a highlight box around all of the apps, with a delete x in the top left corner. You can then drag around and reorder your apps to your heart’s content, once you’re done just tap the Done button or off one of the apps to exit reordering mode.

The launcher is smooth and minimalist attractive, but the handicapped tab functionality is a major letdown. Hopefully there’s a webOS update coming down the pike to restore the functionality that was present in webOS 2.0 (and hidden in webOS 1.x), until then I’ll just have to deal with organizing my apps under tabs that make no sense, as well as getting used to new apps appearing on my games page.

Calendar

Where the launcher is a disappointment, the Calendar app is at least a small improvement in some ways. It had to be, really. Much of the functionality of the old calendar app is present here, but it’s presented in a layout that suits the larger TouchPad screen. The app has been redesigned to subtly emulate one of those large desktop calendars (a nod to the corporate customer, we suppose). Your color-coded calendars are listed across the top, each tappable to toggle them on and off in the main view. The bottom view always holds a New Event button, day/week/month selector, and Jump to ... button.

Day view essentially takes the old webOS 1.x calendar day view and scales it up to the bigger screen. The only difference is the large date at the top (“Sunday, June 26, 2011”, for example) and the occasional weirdly overlapping appointment (not sure if that’s a bug or design feature, but it’s weird). Week and month views also scale up the older versions, but at least allow for details like event titles to be shown. Tapping on an existing event opens an Event Details pop-over with the relevant details (time, location with mapping button, reminder, and notes) and buttons to delete, edit, and close the dialog.

New events are created in a larger version of the old webOS calendar dialog, with all its niceties and annoyances. Chief among those annoyances is the date selector, which still stacks as a vertical scrolling list of numbers instead of the much more logical month grid so you can tell if July 18 is a Wednesday or a Sunday. It gets even more annoying with the time, which has jumped from five-minute intervals in previous webOS calendar apps to single minutes. The scrolling number picker will never fill the entire vertical space of the screen, instead it expands to the furthest end, which even in landscape mode isn’t quite enough to get to 15 from 0. At least with the older phones you could type in a number and select that time – that’s no longer an option.

Likely due to this single-minute fidelity, you can no longer tap and hold on calendar events to move them to a different time, though having it snap to the next hour would be more acceptable than not being allowed to move them at all. What once was a simple three-step action (tap and hold, drag, release), has instead become at minimum a five-step process (tap, edit, tap time, select time, done) that isn’t nearly as intuitive.

The calendar also suffered from speed issues, lagging when switching days or weeks just long enough that it was noticeable, often up to three or four seconds. Additionally, the calendar would sometimes get stuck trying to render one day while still displaying the old one, with the two layered over each other in a confusing jumble that took a few seconds to clear. We also ran into a issue with the calendar where it stopped syncing to Google Calendar after entering a several day’s worth of schedule on the TouchPad. We tried moving those dozens of appointments to our Palm Profile calendar and to a separate Google account, with the hopes of at least saving them while we removed and re-added the failing Google account, when we discovered that Calendar was no longer syncing new appointments to any of our accounts. Not good at all. There are some very rough edges in Calendar that need to be cleaned up quickly if this tablet’s going to be a viable contender in the business space.

Contacts

Contacts is one of those apps that received an Enyo rewrite, but hasn’t received much in the way of a functionality boost. It’s still a solid contact management app, now spread out into a two-column view: an alphabetical list of your contacts on the left, and the contact you’re viewing on the right. Everything is merely bigger here, though the photos now display in a pleasing larger size with photo album-style corner borders and tucked corners. It’s cute, unnecessary, but like the desktop calendar pad style of the Calendar app, not distracting. You can still view and manage your contacts’ linked profiles in a drawer that slides down the entire contact, open mailing addresses into maps, email addresses into email, and all the rest behaves exactly as it should. No functionality appears to have been lost in the transition to Enyo and webOS 3.0.

That said, despite the magic of Synergy, the webOS Contacts app has always been a bit Spartan for extra features. What more could a Contacts app need? There’s a lot, and we’re shocked that HP still hasn’t fulfilled the potential of Synergy by hooking Contacts into the other facets of the services with which it syncs. Where’s the latest Facebook and Twitter status? Where’s the list of that contact’s latest emails and messages? There’s so much unexploited potential with Synergy that HP’s not taken advantage of that competitors have managed to integrate in far less elegant fashions into their systems.

Email

The first app to receive a real functionality update is actually the first Enyo app we ever got to see: Email. Previewed way back in November 2010, Enyo’s adaptable user interface is best demonstrated by the email app. Email is now presented in a sliding three-pane layout, reminiscent of some desktop apps. The far left column is a list of your inboxes and folders, topped by your favorites.

The middle column is the list of messages in the selected folder, topped by a search box. The bottom holds three buttons: new email, refresh, and a folder to signify multi-select. Tapping the folder switches the entire column into a blue-hued multi-select mode where you can simply tap on messages to highlight them and then move them to a folder, send to the trash, or add or remove flags. Once you pick the action, it’s applied and you’re dropped back down to regular list mode.

The far right column is where the actual e-mail resides. It’s treated in one of two ways: if it’s straight text, the text size doesn’t change and it reflows depending on your width (more on that in a moment), while HTML-formatted emails scale with the column width. The top bar across the message view has gained a buttons to print (with an HP networked printer, which we sadly did not have access to during our testing), move just this email to a different folder, toggle flagged status, and toggle read/unread status. They’re all incredibly handy and fit very well into our workflow. Reply, Reply all, Forward, and Trash sit at the bottom.

What makes the Email app the epitome of Enyo-tasticness is the columns themselves. The list and message columns have little grab handles at the bottom that you can tap or drag to the left and right to collapse or expand columns and give your message more or less room on the screen. The columns in email all collapse to the left, stacking with the folders on bottom, followed by list, and then messages. This system makes for a fantastic email triaging system (especially when coupled with the previously-discussed stacking notifications), as well as for great email reading.

The compose window is fairly Spartan: it’s a fixed-width affair (the background peaks in on the sides when in landscape) that takes after the previous versions of webOS. It’s basic: you’re not going to be inserting images inline with your text (or anywhere in your text, for that matter), hyperlinking individual words, or partaking in any other form of modern day email magic. Heck, the webOS 3.0 email client has even lost the ability to format text as bold, italic, underlined, or colored, something that webOS fans have been doing for over a year now.

Even with all the magic that sliding Enyo panels bring, the Email app is still lacking in many ways. There’s no threaded messaging, which is now supported on every competing platform. There’s also still no proper Gmail labels support, which we know is only important to a set of potential TouchPad buyers, but so does LinkedIn, Box.net, and Snapfish integration (to say nothing of MobileMe, which is hilariously available in Synergy despite its imminent demise and replacement with an iOS-centric cloud solution). Enyo has brought a massive user interface improvement to Email and webOS 3.0 in general, but the features aren’t there yet. Don’t get us wrong: the UI enhancements are fantastic, but a great experience only goes so far when that experience only lets you do so much.

Maps

While Enyo forced a ground-up code rewrite of every built-in webOS app, Maps is one of the few that received a complete user interface rethink as well. The new big-screen version of Maps draws data from Bing Maps instead of Google (there’s no option to change your maps provider). There are tradeoffs to be made with the switch to Bing. For one, HP has managed to build a much better maps app with Bing than Palm even managed with Google’s strange quasi-cloud app solution. The big-screen interface is much more fluid than the old Google Maps while still supporting all the same gestures to zoom and move about.

Bing also adds support for “Birds Eye” 45-degree imagery, which allows you to look at any point up close (or far away, if your into such things) from four directions; switching your angle is as simple as rotating the map with two fingers. Bing does support transit directions and traffic viewing, but its support for both is nowhere near as robust as Google’s. There’s currently no Street View equivalent for Bing Maps, not that we had that as a viable option on webOS either.

New to Maps in webOS is the ability to drop a “pin” on the map. The pin can then be moved around to any point you desire, and tapping on it will allow you to get an address for that location, as well as get routing to there and save that point as a bookmark. Map views and bookmarks/recent searches are handled via a sliding Enyo panel that comes in over the map from the right.

Routing instruction is delivered in two manners: the default is as a bar across the bottom of the map, with buttons to switch between car, mass transit, and walking directions, plus a rout overview and start button that drops to a turn-by-turn mode with arrow buttons to skip back and forth through the route. The second option is triggered by hitting the list button at the left, which takes the bar and slaps it into a panel on the left side, with all the same options as the bar, just in a vertical format with a complete scrollable list of the routing directions.

The Wi-Fi TouchPad does not have built-in GPS; it gets its location using Google Location Services. Google Location Services works by calculating your position from the known GPS location of a Wi-Fi network’s IP address, and in our testing it was almost always able to get our location within a block. Needless to say, you’re not going to want to wait for the cellular version of the TouchPad if you’re wanting to use it for actual navigation.

Memos

If there’s any one app that seems to have the most rough edges, it’s Memos. Unfortunately, Memos is the only text editor available at the time of this review for the TouchPad (there’s a Markdown editor in the Catalog, but it lacks basics like autocorrect). And as such, Memos had the inglorious task of being our composition platform for this review. If there’s any app that tested our patience on the TouchPad, it was Memos.

Memos in webOS 3.0 is the grown up big screen version of Memos from the Pre. It uses the same sticky notes grid metaphor, though now placed on a light tan fabric that we can’t help but associate with a cubicle divider (do they not know that sticky notes don’t stick well to cubicle dividers that have been soaked with the tears of their employees?). The top left corner is perpetually occupied the stack of new notes, though it changes to display the color of the next new note. Tapping it opens a square editing window, complete with bowed shadows from your sticky note. You can change the color to one of five at the top (orange being new to the pastel palette). The square editor window ensures that your text does not reflow when switching from landscape to portrait, but it also means you’re wasting horizontal space and always covering part of your note with the keyboard when in landscape.

While the user interface is utilitarian with a dose of cute, editing is anything but. First up is cursor placement. As mentioned earlier, cursor placement in webOS 3.0 is an exercise in Zen breathing practices, and Memos only makes it worse. Everywhere else, tapping to place the cursor actually moves the cursor to that position and it blinks like a desktop text editor. In memos, the cursor doesn’t visually move all of the time, and it certainly doesn’t blink. It might be placed in the correct position, but you won’t know until you start typing.

Once you get above around 1,500 words in a memo it starts to bog down in a most quicksand-like manner. The app still knows what’s going on and processes what you’re doing, but it can take seconds for text you’ve typed to actually display, and it may or may not have autocorrect applied. Speaking of autocorrect, in every other app when a word is corrected, it’s left with a dashed gray line underneath to indicate that it’s been corrected, and you can tap on that word to see what it used to be and switch it back to that if necessary. That doesn’t always work in Memos – it will autocorrect just fine, but good luck if you want to go back and undo that correction, as your only option is to backspace until you get back there (thankfully you can hold down the shift key to delete entire words with one tap).

It seems that the bigger your memo is, the buggier the app gets. You might be thinking that we were being unreasonable in inflicting 1,500-word memos on the TouchPad, and you might be right. If we had a better and more robust document editing solution at our fingertips, we would have used it, but there was no such option available. And problems don’t start cropping up at that threshold –- that’s just where the app becomes unusable and you have to start with a new memo. Problems begin after maybe only a few dozen words. That’s not good.

When it does work, the Memos app works well. It hasn’t gained any new features (except for the color orange), but the bigger screen did allow HP to move every option for Memos out of the app menu (which now only holds “Help”.) The top bar across the grid of notes has a search box in the top left, and an Edit button at the right that allows you to delete memos one at a time, but without having to open the memo and hit the trash can icon. You can’t use the Edit button to rearrange your memos, no, that’s not possible. Your memos are ordered from newest to oldest (by creation date), and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Messaging

Like Contacts, Messaging’s interface has taken the old webOS interface and scaled it up to the TouchPad’s screen size. There’s a column of your conversations, buddies, and favorites on the left side, with the conversation window displayed on the right. Synergy is in full effect here, allowing you to switch between messaging services through a quick menu in the top right corner. There’s really not anything new here, although unlike contacts you can slide over the conversation panel to fill the entire screen, and the slide it back to view your conversations list (just like in email).

We may have lied when we said there’s not anything new in Messaging, because there is. Kind of. The TouchPad can be paired with an HP Pre3 to share text messaging and calls over Bluetooth. As far as the messaging app is concerned, it’s just a text message and treats it as such. Once the phone and tablet are paired, it’s just another chat service. If the Pre3’s set to silent, it’s actually easy to forget that the tablet is working through the phone to do the messaging, at least until you pick up the phone and see the messages you sent and received waiting for you to read them again on the smaller screen.

Music

Like Maps, Music received a ground-up user interface rebuild for webOS 3.0. The new app is designed more like a desktop music app than the old fresh-in-2009 but funky-in-2011 webOS music app. All the controls are laid out for the user to see, with a library and playlists column on the left, and the list of songs, artists, albums, or genres (as selected on the left) displayed on the right. When music is playing, a Now Playing drawer slides down at the top of the library/playlists column.

If selected from the Artists, Albums, or Genres filters, the song list slides in as a panel from the right, which can be dragged back to the right to go back to the appropriate list of filters. When in the songs view, the vertical list includes columns for Song title, Artist, and Album. Tapping on any one will sort the song list in alphabetical and then reverse alphabetical order. A magnifying glass in the categories views allows you to perform a live search of that category (e.g. searching in Albums searches album titles and album titles only).

Along the bottom of the app is a persistent control bar with back, play/pause, and forward buttons, a scrubber progess bar with repeat button, artist name and song title, and random buttons, and a volume slider. That’s interesting is the fullscreen icon at the bottom right corner. It launches into an HP-take on Coverflow, something of a combination of Palm’s Music app, Apple’s iTunes, and HedamiSoft’s Music Player (Remix) 2.0. A flat horizontal scrolling view of all the album covers in your current playlist is displayed. Tapping to the album cover to the left or right will switch to that track, but you can swipe left or right to peruse the album covers, and once you’ve found something you like, tap it to play that track. The control bar stays along the bottom the entire time, with an inverted minimize button to get back to the desktop-style list view (there’s no Coverflow-style way to view the album list in this music app – rotating to portrait merely rotates the whole interface, not its display style).

Getting music onto the TouchPad can happen in one of two ways: You can copy music over manually by dragging and dropping from your computer to the TouchPad connected and mounted via USB, or you can use HP’s new HP Play sync software to handle the drag-and-drop for you. HP Play will be available for Mac or PC and will sync you music from any music library on your computer (iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc). It’s designed to work as a media player if you really want it to, but it’s just not quite there yet. If you want to use HP Play, you’ll want to use it primarily as a sync option, but there are even some limitations there.

Your choices for syncing are “everything” or selected playlists. Since everything includes more music that we could fit on our TouchPad, and we didn’t want to leave things to random picking from software we weren’t familiar with, we opted to pick the playlists we wanted transferred. HP Play picked up the traditional playlists from our iTunes, but didn’t grab any of our smart playlists. The app does have the option to create its own smart playlists, but they lack the advanced nesting options of iTunes. So we created a standard playlist to sync over a bunch of stuff we’d like to listen to, hit the sync button, and watched it go. The app successfully transferred close to 7GB worth of music – all DRM-free MP3 or AAC files, ripped from CDs and purchased from iTunes and Amazon over several years. It was neatly organized by artist and album in individual folders, which looked great over USB.

So we hit the eject button in the app to unmount the TouchPad. The app said the TouchPad had ejected, and Finder (we’re using a Mac, of course) said it had ejected, but the TouchPad was still sitting there happily with the USB icon on its face. Thankfully, yanking the cable didn’t get us a stern warning like our Pre gives us (or worse, a full-on freeze).

Everything seemed good until we fired up the TouchPad’s music app and saw a grand total of 144 songs, when we’d transferred well over 700 tracks. All of the playlists were there, but several were empty. So we plugged the TouchPad back in and looked at the USB drive: the songs were all there. Curious, we opened HP Play again to see if we could get anything to happen. The app was fine until we attempted to see what was on our TouchPad through the app, at which point it froze for five minutes before we had to force quit it. The app did the same thing again, which is a problem since you have to view the music on the TouchPad to sync it via HP Play.

Undeterred, we attempted to manually drag-and-drop instead. It worked fine, with the TouchPad mounted as any old USB drive. Once we ejected, it got to work quickly and had reindexed the music database in a few seconds. And found nothing new. Still 144 songs, even though there were 600 other songs on this TouchPad that synced and played just fine on our other webOS devices. We couldn’t figure out any rhyme or reason to why some songs were recognized and others were. There’s something about the formatting, as the TouchPad recognized entire albums and completely ignored others. Like we’ve said a few times before: rough edges.

Phone & Video Calls

If there’s an app we don’t exactly associated with tablets, it’s “Phone & Video Calls.” But it’s there on the TouchPad, and its implementation is certainly unique. webOS 3.0 has Skype integration built-in from the start, and you can use the app to place audio and video calls over Skype with no issue. In fact, Skype audio calls behave just as if the tablet were a phone, albeit a phone with only a speakerphone. Not that you’d want to hold a ten-inch tablet up to your head. Callers reported that we came through nice and clear over the audio.

Video calls take place in portrait orientation only (the camera is located at the top of the tablet, after all). The person with whom you’re having a video call takes up the majority of the screen, with your own video getting placed in a thumbnail in the top left corner. Of course, you need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network to place any of these Skype calls, and we ended up doing all of our testing while hooked up to a Verizon LTE MiFi. The end result was that our video came out a little choppy with clear audio, while the video coming in was clean and crisp. Whether that was the fault of the TouchPad or our MiFi was unclear (we were getting a good 2.5-3mbps up, but it’s still over cellular), but even with the stuttering the video calling was still perfectly usable.

Where things get slick is when the TouchPad is paired up with an HP Pre3. The tablet can take and place calls through the phone, essentially acting as a giant Bluetooth speakerphone. It’s very slick and something we look forward to using when we can become permanent owners of a Pre3. And before you ask – our Pre3 was a pre-production unit destined for Europe, so reviewing it, or even offering impressions (except to say that we want one even more badly now), is out of the question.

Calls from the phone popped up in a phone-style notification at the top right corner, complete with the caller’s photo if available. Tapping the answer button launched the phone app (which takes a good five seconds on the TouchPad) and you were off and talking. The implementation is simple but incredibly functional.

Photos & Videos

Photo viewing on the TouchPad has gotten the Synergy treatment. HP’s added conduits for syncing with their own photo service Snapfish, as well as Photobucket. But the photo syncing prize is Facebook, which HP has managed to successfully integrate into Photos & Videos with typical webOS elegance. Your Facebook albums appear as albums in the left side panel of the Photos app, and load in the pictures grid as if they were any old photo. The difference is in the commenting support, which will display comments posted to your photos, as well as allow you to enter your own comments.

Of course, you can load up your own photos and save them from the web (there’s currently no way to take pictures using the front-facing camera) and view them just the same. The app is pretty basic: your sources and albums are listed on the left, and the photos are displayed in a four-wide grid on the right. Videos are displayed in a similar fashion, but those that we tested for whatever reason lacked a thumbnail preview. Videos will resume right where you left off if you close and relaunch the app.

When viewing both videos and photos, tapping the screen will open a control bar along the bottom. A button to return to the folder view sits in the bottom left, while buttons to activate a slideshow, share via email, add to album, print, and trash (slideshow and print are for photos only, obviously). Photos from Facebook lose the trashcan icon and gain a comment bubble, which when tapped opens a comments box in the top right corner where you can read comments your friends have left you as well as post your own.

Web

The last standard built-in app to receive a full rethink is the web browser. The aptly named “Web” emulates a full desktop app, with a persistent top navigation bar containing back and forward buttons, traditional address bar, and buttons to share the current page, open a new browser card, and access the bookmarks/history/downloads panel. It’s a clean and simple interface that works well on this screen size.

The browser identifies as a desktop browser and will load the desktop version of most websites. Thankfully, it’s also plenty fast, though it only managed to score a 92 on the Acid3 test. While it might not be the best most standards-compliant browser, it does include Flash 10.3 beta, which worked flawlessly in our testing. Video from multiple sites, include 1080p YouTube clips, loaded and played smoothly through Flash. There was occasional visible frame rates with 1080p YouTube, but really that’s overkill considering the tablet only has a 720p-capable screen and no video-out option.

Hulu does work on the TouchPad, but we imagine it will only be a matter of time before our favorite legit streaming television site blocks the TouchPad browser. Flash is set to autoload out of the box, but that can be disabled in the brower’s preferences. All that said, this implementation of Flash is accessing Flash content as if it were a desktop browser, which presents some problems when you’re wanting to do things like work a YouTube video scrubber. Multiple taps are required to wake the Flash as if you just moused over the video and then reposition the scrubber. All the while you’re likely to start and restart your video at least a few times. Flash does continue to play when you jump up to card view, so if you were hoping to use some Flash-based services in the background (like Google Music Beta, for example), then you’re in luck.

Now, about that bookmarks/history/downloads button: it slides in a panel from the right that contains a list of your bookmarks, your recent browsing history, and your downloaded files. Bookmarks and history can be swiped to delete, while the downloads view can only be emptied by hitting the clear button. Selecting any item from any of the three views will load the URL or file and close the panel.

Overall the browser is actually quite excellent. There were a few rendering quirks here and there, but by and large it performed like a champ. Complex pages loaded and rendered with relative ease, and pinch-to-zoom and double-tap-to-zoom worked quite well. We’d say the TouchPad browser is right up their with iPad Safari (though it does only manage to score a 92 on the Acid3 test).

Facebook

The TouchPad Facebook app is one of the first tablet Facebook apps to land. Developed by HP, the app takes a bounding leap over the only other Facebook tablet app (for the PlayBook) and lands squarely in the realm of awesome. The app is Enyo in nature (naturally), with you navigation between sections (your wall, photos, profile, etc) handled via a left-side list and you content (news feed, post, photos, etc) displayed on the rest of the screen. Leaving a comment on a post slides the main panel to the left, revealing the comments in a column on the right. It’s simple and intuitive.

Aside from the standard list view for your Facebook news feed, there’s also a slick grid layout that arranges photos, links, and posts in varying-sized boxes that make for quick scanning of what’s going on in your feed. It’s a unique layout and one we can see ourselves turning to on a regular basis for our more casual Facebook reading. Regardless of view, photos open into a dark browser with the photo you’re viewing filling the center and a line of mini thumbnails along the bottom where you can jump to other photos (or swipe left and right on the main photo). There’s a comments and likes button in the top right corner that opens a panel quite similar to that of the Photos & Videos app.

The Facebook app is also unique in its integration with Maps and the browser. Tapping a link will load that page right in the Facebook app instead of opening a new browser card. This allows you to check out whatever it is your friends have linked to, but still have the context of their comments. A swipe or tap on the drag handle throws the webpage off to the right. Places opens a similar view, with your location and available check-in locations displayed from the Bing-powered Maps app, all within the Facebook app. HP says these integration APIs are available to developers, and we’re looking forward to seeing more apps with them.

Kindle

As was announced at the February 9, 2011, reveal of the TouchPad, HP partnered up with Amazon to build a Kindle app for the TouchPad. The app is quite similar to other tablet Kindle apps, with a two-page layout in landscape and single page in portrait. Tapping the sides of the screen will move to the next or previous page, as will swiping across.

Tapping the center brings up navigation controls that include a scrubber at the bottom and back button, Kindle WhisperSync button, and quick-jump button for navigating the content. There’s also an options bar across the top with buttons to take you back to your library, adjust the font, size, and color, change the screen brightness, start a search, and dog ear that page.

Highlighting and notes are fully present in the TouchPad Kindle app: tap and hold on any text and you’ll get copy-paste style controls asking whether you want to mark a note or just highlight the text. Those notes, highlights, and your dog-eared pages are all found under the Markups tab when you select Notes and Marks in the quick navigation button.

Shopping for books using the Kindle app is less enjoyable. There’s a link to the Kindle Store at the bottom of the app, but it launches into the browser into the desktop version of the Kindle Store. Yeah, buying books through the browser isn’t exactly difficult, but it’s still a less-than-integrated experience that won’t necessarily go over well for those expecting a seamless experience. HP has told us that there’s an update for the Kindle app (which apparently is currently a beta version) due shortly after launch, hopefully that will integrate the store with the app instead of launching the browser to buy yourself some books.

QuickOffice and Adobe Reader

HP’s made a big deal for some time about their corporate goals for the TouchPad, and full-featured Microsoft Office suite support is practically a requirement for any enterprise tablet. Sadly, full-featured the Office support on the TouchPad is not. The QuickOffice suite works well enough for viewing and is nicely integrated with the cloud (pulling in documents from Google Docs, Box.net, DropBox, and on the devices), but it’s lacking a major feature for any documents suite: editing.

That’s right: the tablet meant to conquer the boardroom has zero document editing support out of the box. The QuickOffice Suite supports the viewing of Excel, Word, and PDF files (which launch into a separate Adobe Reader app). It does not yet support PowerPoint files, nor does it any editing. HP told us that an update is in the works to add document editing to the TouchPad’s QuickOffice suite, but until that update is pushed, all we have is a fancy document viewer that pulls in content from the web. That fancy document viewer is at least marginally functional – it was able to handle all the Excel and Word documents we threw at it, as well as a gaggle of PDFs.

Missing Apps

Nowhere to be found on the TouchPad is a Tasks or YouTube app. HP indicated that they believe the TouchPad’s Flash implementation is good enough for YouTube use, and we’d actually agree, so long as you don’t have to use the video scrubber. The omission of a to-do app, a staple on webOS devices for over two years and on Palm OS devices all the way back to the beginning of time, that’s particularly egregious. Also missing is anything not called Skype that’s able to take advantage of the front-facing camera, a calculator (seriously, HP, a business tablet with no calculator?), clock app, any way to purchase music and movies, and voice control. HP says that a HP MovieStore and third-party music purchasing service will be available at launch, but they didn’t seem to be ready in time for our review. Additionally, Word document and Excel spreadsheet editing is due by mid-summer.

Read part two of our comprehensive HP TouchPad review.

143 Comments

OMG!!!!!!!!!1

The REAL OMG should be the question: Why is there "DEREK KESSLER'S PRE3" paired to the TP in the first "notification"-screenshot? ;)

awesome catch! pre3 review is next?

Hahaha, I caught that and haven't even finished the article yet. I had to pop down to the comments to see if anyone else noticed it. That seems like quite the slip but I'm hopeful it means we'll be hearing A LOT more info about the Pre3 in the near future.

If the Pre 3 is out there, then HP's incompetence is truly epic:

http://www.mobileinfoplanet.com/2011/06/24/hppalm-sadly-still-dont-get-it/

Derek has probably had this TouchPad for awhile, as well as the Pre3. But all he can say is NDA. Now knowing that Derek has a Pre3 makes me so... well not mad or frustrating. Just an angry puzzlement... *sniff

NDA didn't stop him before...

If Derek had TP for a while to write such a detail review, then perhaps some of the minor webOS concerns could have been taken care of by tomorrow's launch ! Couldn't it be ? Also, shouldn't the calculator and the clock apps work on TP from their Pre versions. Does anyone really need a 9.7"-screen versions of calc. and clock ?

If you've read any of the other reviews or watched any of the review videos, you'll notice that all of these sites have pre-production Pre 3s. I'm not sure why you're surprised as they always get products ahead of time to review them. Also, none of them are trying to hide the fact that they have one. Many of the videos are of the Pre 3 being shown with the Touchpad using the tts feature.

I think it was TechnoBuffalo that had a pre3 ready for an unboxing video. Check the TouchPad unboxing and you will see the Pre 3 packaging waiting for a future video.

just re-watched their unboxing video, and there is not any Pre3 packaging anywhere to be seen... What is the time on the video when it can be seen?!

That's what I said! I thought ipad 2 was sort of slick man this is what I call an ipad killer!!! WOW! I am just speechless. Now if HP could crank out somehow more useful apps this will be #1 tablet. I don't have any use for tablet at this point but this thing makes me want to buy one it's so slick looking. Ahh now I see how I'm trully missing WebOS. Android works but it's a mess compared to WebOS.

Really awesome review, can we get video also, thanks again nice review

After reading Engadgets review on the Touchpad, I'm so glad I did not pre-order for $500.
Engadget agrees with me that these tablets should have come out at $100 cheaper because it is not yet a contender against the the thin and full of apps ipad2.

The Email app and other features already make it more productive for my business uses than the iPad. Even with the current app shortage. It just depends on what you are trying to do with it.

that's not the only problem Engadget uncovered. This thing is littered with bugs (quick office never loading, skype video quality absolutely atrocious, STILL no way to add a contact into a calendar appointment!, etc...).

HP, you should've learned the first 5 times that when you release a product, especially when you tell the world it's going to be better than an apple product, you better make sure it works. You've failed on this and you're going to show the world just how terrible your platform has become. History once again repeating itself, not just with Palm, but with HP. Expect word to spread faster with all the "new" customers that haven't been blind-sighted yet, that webos isn't as good as ios.

Oh my goodness HPalm - will you EVER change?

I just got through engadget's review of the touchpad. Let's see what PC says...

New Russell Brand video: http://youtu.be/-SJshO4Ys4M

:)

"The one lesson I have learned from this, and I'm driving my engineers crazy with this, is that we will not release a product that isn't perfect," Leo Apotheker (4 weeks ago)

LOL....that echoed through my head as I read the review where Rubinstein personally assured Topolsky that they know of all of the bugs and are working on updates coming "soon".

Has ANY statement Apotheker, Rubinstein, or McArthur made since acquisition been true?

Nope. Not even the "making things right" thing.

Why would anyone believe this? This is a CEO talking out of his **** like CEOs do.

Did anyone really think the TP would be released bug free? It will NEVER be bug free, just like every other device on the market today.

Take what CEOs say with a grain of salt. At the end of the day judge the device on what it is. If you want a webOS tablet and can afford the price, this is your only option. If you just want a tablet and you don't care what ecosystem you are a part of you have dozens of choices.

Yeah, why would anyone believe Rubinstein, McArthur, Bradley, Apotheker and the rest? They're just the official sources for all WebOS information.

You say that like you don't understand how PR works.

Ever seen a breakdown of everything Jobs says in his presentations? CEOs and representatives lie or spin to make their stock go up. It's not isolated to HP.

Actually, I think HP doesn't understand how PR works because they set horrible expectations with their statements about release dates and thousands of apps, and now these mediocre reviews will drive away tons of potential customers.

Kinda like how the stock has been dropping....

you show virtually no portrait screen shots, when most people hold a tablet in that position for a majority of the time. especially when reading a book using the Kindle app. why would you show those in landscape?

You guys had access to the TouchPad App Catalog, and the only text editor you could find was the built-in Memos app? *shakes head sadly*

For those of you who are feeling less masochistic, give TapNote a try. It's got a big, beautiful new interface for the TouchPad and -- best of all -- a solution for the cursor-placement woes that plague the platform.

Damn this is long... and only the first part :)

Mad props Derek.

I'm gonna have to sit down later and read it on my laptop. My desk chair just isn't comfy enough to read it all now.

Yep, he needs chapters for this

I'm gonna need a week or two to finish reading this review. Holy **** O.O

I'm gonna read the rest of it on my new TouchPad tomorrow ;)

Trust me, wordnword is a problem on the iPad as well.

"The TouchPad is a joy to use." - Walt Mossberg, WSJ

Well, what do you know. Ol' Mossy seems to like it! ;)

"But, at least for now, I can’t recommend the TouchPad over the iPad 2." - Walt Mossberg, WSJ

Way to kill the mood.

The disappointed, dissatisfied mood where in a forum poll YET AGAIN (same thing happened with the Veer) on the biggest WebOS enthusiast site, less than HALF the respondents say they will buy the new WebOS products a day or two before launch?

Sounds like I'm reflecting the mood pretty accurately.

I'll bet you're a hoot at parties.

Great job with the review. Much better than Walt Mossberg's list of how the device fails to match up to the iPad.

And I think the TP is a good product that I would definitely consider if I were in the market for a tablet.

That said, I am going to slip into Mossberg mode. Once again we have a webOS device designed to match an iOS device that was already replaced by an improved device by the time HP got its product to market. So while the TP is superior in terms of processors and OS, it is already behind the curve in size and weight and battery life. And I once again will complain about the fixed memory, which is a weakness of the iPhone and iPad to be exploited and not an excuse for HP to stick customers with an extra $100 fee for $10 in memory.

I hope that the next one looks to get ahead of the iP3 and not just catch up with the iP2.

spec comparrison (size and weight wise) and review didnt exactly seem favorable for the touch pad. i dont think its will make people lean away from ipad or android tablet.

People need to get over the size/weight thing. Perhaps that's a player in new user thinking but if you're a fan of webOS it shouldn't matter. It certainly didn't matter last year when the iPad was released with the same specs.

you would defend this if it were a brick. my point is pond for pound, app for app, performance for performance, value for value...touchpad is not going to win many over.

Your second comment doesn't have anything to do with your first.

They need to "get over" the weight when they'll likely be holding it for extended periods of time during use?

Riiiiiiight.

Funny...it's okay to excoriate Android phones as "huge bricks" that you can't possibly fit in your pocket and are awkward to talk on, but when HP releases a device that's poorly-sized, fandom and fealty should then trump all reason.

I don't have an opinion on Android tablets as I don't use them.

If the TouchPad was released weighing 3 lbs and 1 1/2" thick then it would certainly be unacceptable. As a webOS enthusiast I'm not going to pick apart this first salvo. Everything I've seen so far is acceptable for the very first webOS tablet ever.

I expect next year after HP has had 2 yrs with webOS we will see more comparable products with the rest of the pack.

*****
I expect next year after HP has had 2 yrs with webOS we will see more comparable products with the rest of the pack.
*****

Sigh. More "just wait, you'll see" comments? Keep in mind that next year the "rest of the pack" will likely be more advanced as well.

So I'll go out on a limb and say even if the TP2 next July has the same specs of the iPad2 then that will be fine with me as it's running the OS I prefer. Would I rather it have the brightest screen and the fastest processor and the most apps and all that? Sure, but I'm fine with what it is now because it's running the software I want to use.

Until it's running the (smooth, bug-free, app-laden) software that reviewers and mainstream consumers want to use, this thing is a non-starter in the consumer tablet market at the current price.

If this OS's entire base is comprised of fanboys who will take anything with WebOS on it - no matter how many bugs - and businesses that HP muscles into buying some bulk quantities, it'll also be a Dead OS Walking.

Back to "in the coming months", then?

Let me know if that utopian era ever arrives.

Yes weight is bigger...we all get that, but in my case bigger is better. I personally don't like how much the Galaxy Tab and iPad 2 weigh and would prefer having something I can hold onto.

Too be honest though, I tried the Galaxy Tab and iPad 2 and I did not notice those units being considerably less in weight. Maybe my wrists are stronger then most, but is .3 or .4 lbs that much less? I just don't get it and time to move on! Sorli...

Wait...what? You like the Touchpad weight but don't like how much the Galaxy Tab and iPad 2 weigh, THEN you say you didn't notice a considerable difference?

I think you got your talking points mixed up.

Sorli......

Derek has a Pre3!

OMG.1 ****

But if the Veer and TP are any indicators, then i wouldn't get too excited over the Pre 3.

Derek, were you able to use your "old" webOS 2.0 profile with the TouchPad or did you have to create a new palm profile? Will I be able to use the same profile on my Pre 2 and a TouchPad ?

Same profile.

Made it abotu a third of the way through part 1 (taking a break), but I sense that you are disappointed with the TP. Not a lot of positive feelings in this article. Played with the TP at Best Buy today (no wifi) and while I was excited, I did notice there is a lot of work ahead.

Yep, Good Eye-BurningDeath spotting the pairing with the Pre3. Hey Derek, how's she treating you?

He probably renamed his previous generation Pre or Pixi to Pre 3 to fool everyone here. I find it kind of hard to believe but if he does have it where is the Pre 3 review??? or did I miss it a few pages back. I don't recall seeing one unless one is on the horizon. I would like to see one even though Pre 3 will not win me back to WebOS just yet maybe Pre4 or some sort of Samsung device by that time they may have some of the much needed apps. Good luck HP.

this tablet seems half baked. set sail for fail hp

Pre3 review is held up the same way the Touchpad was until the embargo was lifted. If you accept a pre-release device for review, you often do it on condition that you can't publish anything about it until a certain date. Otherwise, you get no demo.

I can wait

i just hope they churn out thoughs software updates ASAP.

"The TouchPad inexplicably stops for a few seconds" ... this isn't anything new as one one major reason I left webOS for WP7. Clearly HP hasn't fixed what Palm couldn't fix. They rushed the TP, it shows and it's too expensive. Bottom line who in their right mind would pick this over an iPad at the same price?

I'm gonna buy one on Friday and I'm considered to be in my right mind by all who know me, and my probation officer too!

You might want to look at the competition first. I LOVED webOS and it hurt to leave but the other product on the market is just better. I wanted the TP to be good, it just isn't.

I just returned my iPad 2 32GB to Best Buy and Pre-ordered my 32GB TouchPad. Can't wait for tomorrow! ...but then...I'm probably not in my 'right mind'...

The truth is, people often buy into an ecosystem, despite whatever flaws it might have. This is true of Apple iPhone/iPad users and also true for webOS users.

I would love for some of the apps I used on my iPad to be available on webOS (OmniFocus anyone?), but I'm willing to find something else in order to stay with an OS that I like better.

Who? The people who want a better UI and actually like multitasking because you know.. its what people are used to and all.

Not many will. HP & retailers will have to slash these prices if they have any hope of selling them.

The bigger question IMO is if HP will stay the course with webOS or start looking at windows 8. I tend to think they're looking to spread the risk with the licensing talk and they're starting to get worried.

Don't be silly. Most devices that are ranked 6-7 out of 10 by pretty much every tech and mainstream publication and priced exactly as much as those that are ranked 9/10 out of 10 sell like gangbusters.

You know, like....

.....

err......

uhh.....

Uh oh.

I would

I had just tried out the HP Touchpad demo unit at BestBuy. Connecting to the Internet using BestBuy's WiFi what somewhat challenging; acquiring IP Address failed. But worked after you shut down the WiFi app and tried it again.

The HP Touchpad responded well and ran smooth. Switching and launching apps were fluid. I would have loved to try the front-facing camera, but didn't quite know how to configure the app to work.

Flash was awesome. I visited YouTube.com and it ran video just the way it would on my laptop. Flash is one of the best features I love compared to an iPad.

The HP App Catalog required some registration to be completed so it would have been nice if they had loaded more pre-loaded and popular apps on the demo unit.

It would also have been great if HP included a wireless touchstone charger demo device for the HP Touchpads.

But overall, I was impressed with the HP Touchpad. Great job HP!

I also test drove at BB and was kinda disappointed about some of the limited demo apps.

Apple knows how to sell and LOADS their demo units with more apps then most people ever use or buy.

Either way, I'm still impressed and good to finally try webOS 3.1. Yes Youtube rocked and so did my favorite Movie Trailer website comingsoon.net, Flash should be Very Useful!

Few things of interest, pairing with my Pre- running 2.1 was very easy and worked pretty well. Only problem I noticed was you can't pair and use two devices at the same time. So no phone Touch to Share and Bluetooth headset to listen to audio. Kinda makes since tech wise, but I could see using both at the same time.

Our Best Buy thankfully had WIFI working, but they need to download some demo music and videos to help preview these feature. What good is Beats Audio without music to play? Fix things HP and keep the magic coming! Sorli...

I warned on another thread that the reviews by Mossberg and Pogue would be brutal. I'm not happy that I was right, but there you have it.

Here's the thing, it can only get better from here and if the biggest hardware complaint is the weight and thickness, that's no big deal, really.

Any software issues are fixable and will be fixed with updates, particularly more acceleration optimization. I'm going to buy TouchPad 1 on Friday because my feedback will create an even better TouchPad 2.

Software issues "will be fixed", eh? Sounds so familiar....

I doubt there will be a touchpad 2. JMO..

In 7 months or so, Apple will announce the ipad 3. Android will be eating Ice Cream. And HP will still be promising to fix bugs..in the coming months.

You can bet HP will give Windows 8 a hard look..

Fast, really? Nice thorough review but the speed issue that was glossed over here is going to hurt I think, unless it's quickly solved by a software update.

Here's what PC World said about the speed:

"The sluggish performance was enough of a concern to me that I tried a second TouchPad to make sure that the problem wasn't isolated to the unit I had. But the second TouchPad fared little better: The spinning circle and pulsating app icons (two indicators that the tablet is busy loading something) became very familiar to me as I opened new apps and files, and loaded Web pages. Even scrolling through items (such as the list of zillions of Wi-Fi networks in the neighborhood) and flicking left or right among open items looked jerky, not smooth.

The TouchPad took 69 seconds for a cold boot-up, in contrast to the iPad 2's 26 seconds; it also took nearly twice as long as most of the competition did in our SunSpider JavaScript test. Loading apps felt interminable; Quickoffice repeatedly took a full 10 seconds to launch to the file-browser page, as opposed to the near-instant launch of Apple's Pages."

http://www.pcworld.com/article/231400/hp_touchpad_review_not_ready_for_t...

After doing so many a time, I'm sad to learn from that biased(?) report that webOs "can't download files from the Web directly to the device".

Where do those PDF's in the download folder on my phone come from ... 8o/

FYI - Amazon UK has a 64GB option for the TouchPad

http://www.amazon.co.uk/TouchPad-inch-Tablet-Glossy-Black/dp/B0057MY692/...

Most of the reviews I've read so far have been less than stellar. For a company with HP's heritage to come out with a inferior product is inexcusable. Leo said he was not going to release it til it was perfect. Well Leo, it sounds like it is not even close to perfect. I have an idea. Go buy several ipads and de-engineer them. Take them apart and copy them as closely as possible with out patent infringement. Man its frustrating when the public has waited this long for the product and HP lays an egg. With the market moving this fast HP will not get a second chance.

License the webOS to some company that can make a quility product.
Quality sells. People want QUALITY!

I'm not so sure its a hardware thing.

I've said all along I think there are flaws in how this OS is actually made (and in this case, re-made!).

1.2ghz processor and it STILL LAGS? It's the OS, my friends.

Don't remember which review I read it in, but HP came out and said that the OS is STILL not fully GPU-accelerated.

Seriously?

We all knew this was sluggish in the February 9th videos that were floating around. HP said it was an early build and optimization was in the works. Here we are 5 months later and it does run better (comparing some recent videos, in the past few weeks, with February videos) but over and over reviewers are noticing that its still sluggish.

Sad - TWO AND A HALF YEARS after the Pre- was released and "will be optimized" we are still coming up short. With the horsepower under the hood on the TouchPad, this says the Pre3 doesn't have a prayer. I'm one of those launch day Pre- owners - still hanging on for a Sprint Pre3 - but after reading TouchPad reviews, I don't want one (wasn't totally sure before but SURE now!) and I am pretty sure I can stop hoping for a Pre3 (on ANY carrier for that matter) right here and now. If the TouchPad can't show off webOS running silky smooth, there's no way in **** the Pre3 will either (and it'll probably be worse).

Damn - I may finally have to think about another OS. DAMN YOU HP FOR DISAPPOINTING US! I AM ITCHING to give you my money but you just don't want it. :(

qualcomm chips haven't been known to be mindblowing unless they were the 1st to market like they were with 1ghz chips. blame the cheaping out on the chipset as well

Derek,

I greatly appreciate the review! I can't say that I'm happy to read that there are so many flaws all around. Was this a pre-production model? How about battery life?

Thanks!

This would be a production model, and battery life is slated for around 9 hours.

How are screenshots done without a physical keyboard?

I believe it was said to be with the power/lock and 'home' button.

The engadget review was embarrassing. The game going crazy when loading and quick office not starting at all.

Definitely not buying.

Probably will come back once Samsung or HTC are designing the hardware and when the software gets an overhaul to get rid of lag.

See you all sometime in 2013.

LOVE IT!!! Other than the "heftiness" of the Touchpad, most of the cons highlighted in this review will easily be patched by the homebrew crew if not hp itself. I can't wait to get my hands on one to test it out!!! Also, excited to see the 7 inch version coming later this year!!! I just hope it has a smaller bezel than the Playbook (that totally killed that tablet...in my opinion).

ccc

While you may be right, this accessibility to the homebrew crew will also be the feature that kills it for Enterprise.

Derek,
Were you able to pair up with a Pre 2 and make use of the SMS functions on 2.1?

Thanks for the great review. Oddly enough the one thing that stuck with me the most is... no Tasks app?! That's just crazy. Overall the review has served to put me back where I was until I got into an impulse purchasing fire in the past couple days - now I am back to wait-and-see. Specifically wait and see how they address some of these shortcomings, and also what they come up with in the netbook area (I really still want that physical keyboard, and I'd also like some way to get photos off of my cameras either USB or SD reader). Hopefully I will have a Pre3 soon to tide me over, and hopefully they'll give a "make it right" discount to those of us who want a new phone but not so interested in a tablet.

Typical WebOS product. Over-promise and underdeliver

At least it might be better than the BB Playbook. Expect HP to put out a press release in another month saying they "shipped" millions.

There is already a report that they are "shipping" ~3 million.

i really dont like the term used to describe the battery life as "a day of use" and then im told its 8hrs of battery life...last i checked there was 24hrs in a day...if people use the term "a typical work day" most people would assume 8hrs.

..and i know its not just u guys, but everyone seem to use that term...

...and i dont expect a battery operated mobile device to last a day of use, but the term is misleading...

Most people don't use a tablet continuously for 24 hours. A typical day of use is 8 hours. That is just how it is and not misleading at all.

I like it! mainly cuz of the Web-Oh-Ess! First pad always have minor problems but for the use of web n videos, im sure its the same beast as always! i want one now!

jealous that under bluetooth he is using a Pre3

So I read over the Engadget Review on the HP TouchPad... and I noticed something amazing... A HP Pre 3!!! Running on AT&T.. I know that was expected but still means we're pretty close.. If you watch and noticed the Pre 3.. It's VERY fast and fluent, Also expected.. I'M VERY EXCITED!!! Can't wait to get that instead of dealing with my Pixi.. :/

The Guardian had some interesting insight and this coming from Europe that doesn't normally like Palmish devices:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jun/30/hp-touchpad-tablet-review

I liked their conclusion:

The arrival of the HP TouchPad splits the tablet world: there are now the real contenders, and the many also-rans. I'd say that the TouchPad and the iPad are now the contenders. The iPad has "consumer" crossover power; most consumers won't go for what the TouchPad does. But it has tremendous potential as an enterprise device (in a way that the RIM PlayBook seems to me not to have). Don't be surprised if this turns into a big seller in the coming months, given HP's corporate sales heft

getting my TP. I just want something to connect to office VPN. AND MULTITASK...nothing else comes close. It looked easy at the BB TP model.I didnot perceive any lag.Come on Friday..

TP for my Bunghole!

Honestly i think Precentral, Webosroundup and TIMN review of the Touchpad is more constructive then the others. The good and the bad points are high-lighted nicely and where it needs to make improvements. I just hope webos engineers are taking notes and updates are churned out ASAP.

P.s i also noticed on some of the early screen shot of the email app having a dark theme on the bottom border, the part where you press to move the pane.

Hey Leo, Samsung called and left a message. Two words: "Never mind."

Also, from Engadget:

When we reviewed the HP TouchPad we found it to feel a little hollow, as if it were rather more cavernous inside than the immediate competition. Now we're getting to peek beneath the screen and, look at that, it's "built more like a PC than an iPad" according to the screwdriver-meisters at TechRepublic. This means you can easily take the thing apart with just a Phillips screwdriver (and a little prying) should you wish. Or, you know, you can just look at the pictures on the other end of the source link and keep yours in one piece. They tend to work better that way

So the biggest PC maker in the world made...the PC of tablets.

So on the subject of maps Derek said "Needless to say, you’re not going to want to wait for the cellular version of the TouchPad if you’re wanting to use it for actual navigation."

Was the NOT in that statement a type-o? How does one get a location fix if not near wifi hotspots? Say driving in your car with it tethered to phone or mifi?

Maps/navigation is one of the reason I was thinking of waiting for the 3G version.

Touchpad is getting ripped for a few things in most reviews, chief among them is the PRICE. It will never compete at the same price a the ipad, HP needs to realize this quickly or they will make it look like a big-time loser when they are not moving from the shelves.

Really bad news is that cnet actually preferred the playbook over the touchpad. Ouch.

Engadget video review really hurts too, the stupid airplane game was flipping out, it was awful to see and the doc to go program would not even load during the whole 5 min video. COME ON HP!

I wish apple would have bought palm and married WebOS's best with iOS's best, whould have been perfect.

...wait, what are you talking about: they said "HP will not release product that is not perfect", so OBVIOUSLY all your points must be invalid, by definition, bcoz you dare to disagree it is perfect (!?)

Prepare for the (-) barrage! Helmets on! They're coming!

"I wish apple would have bought palm and married WebOS's best with iOS's best"
Heck, I wish HTC have bought Palm, they would probably get rid of Rubinstein straight away, in all probability we would have three different price/form factor webOS phones, running on every carrier in this world by now. Maybe also a tablet, as an ADDITION, where it's place is

My last hope now is that Samsung can put out some nice phones and tablets running webos until HP can figure out that these things are totally different from PCs and pc hardware.

I will buy a touchpad when the price drops significantly, like $299 for 16GB significantly...

Even at 299, why would you waste money on something with no dev support and such a laggy OS? It exhibits problems that have plagued webOS from the start. Stuttering, unresponsive screen, half baked core apps, poorly thought out media mgmt, etc.

Forward a year from now when windows 8 starts appearing on all new PC's. We'll see windows 8 tablets, phones, you name it all sporting that metro UI. HP will be in the middle of it given they're the number one maker of windows products.

And then remember Ruby saying they don't want someone to license webOS that won't make it a priority over another OS. Sounds good coming from HP who themselves won't make webOS a priority over windows.

Well, just like the February event came and gone, so did the early TouchPad reviews that came like a flash. And just like the February event, we are left with a sigh, not of relief but of disappointment.

First off, let's just say that if a CEO of a huge company promises, verbally confirms, that a product will be released without any known problems or shortcomings, then it is our right as the consumer for that to be taken seriously. In this case, Leo said that they will not release this device until it is perfect. Well, it's not perfect on the software side, and HP knew about that. They knew about the bugs and glitches and hiccups, and they will correct it in a month (let's see about that). How can you believe what Leo says? This is not the first time he has stuck his foot in his mouth and I'm afraid that he is running out of feet to walk on.

Webos is a great thing, but let's get this straight: there are things wrong with it. Namely the speed of the OS. This is a well-known fact. Why, I am wondering, did they not address these things is beyond me. Apps slow at launching, device restarts taking a minute, major hiccuping, delayed touch responsiveness. Why were these things addressed? When will they be? Will webos just always be that slow? Will it never reach the pinnacle of mobile speed that is Apple? I don't understand why these things have been addressed. Webos will forever be toted as the OS that could have been, but never was.

What bothers me is that they spent time making a dumb angry birds easter egg, but didn't have time to address the more important things, like building a Youtube app. Or making sure the software is bulletproof. It doesn't make sense.

The review rounds weren't as bad as the Playbook. I'm starting to believe that HP doesn't even want the TouchPad to be number one. They don't believe they can be. Will the Opal follow suit with the same hardware and software problems? The Pre3?

I am going to step out and say the the webos on PCs will never happen. Windows 8 and webos will never coincide on the same machine. Why do you think that HP just started to get into talks of licensing? It's already happening...

Very nice review. Can you guys check to see what the internet performance is like when using a phone to wireless tether? So far I am the only one that seems to have done that (and written about it). My experiance with that was terrible, but it could have just been an anomoly, not nearly enough of a sample to draw a conclusion.

Very complete review. Those other cheesey reviewers should be ashamed for their lack of real diligence!

It comes down to this, its a product for early adopters right now. Could we really expect anything else? It does a lot of things well already (web, FB, sound, movies...). The refinements will come. Either you are ready to be patient for the tweaks or you are not.

I am more in the regular Joe category. I'd like a tablet but don't really need it. I like Webos and my Pre 2 but I can wait a little for the TP tweaks. Plus I have to convince my wife $500 for this is a good investment anyway!

biased against something in their minds. They don't even have to see an object to tell you they hate it. Amazing.

I bought one last night at my local BB store, and I absolutely love the OS! It is amazingly well polished and even more elegant than iOS. To show where I come from, I have had every mobile OS under the Sun for the last 12 or so years, and even just tried an HTC Flyer. I have two iPads and two iPhones and a MacBook and love them, but this thing is going to give Apple some heartburn if it ever gets going good. The OS is far more elegant, graphical, and usable than iOS (even 5.0 beta 2) and the hardware is good. Yes, it is thicker, but it fits into the original rubber iPad sleeve just fine for now and nobody has even noticed it isn't my iPad. I am very excited about it myself. Just give it a chance with an open mind, guys.
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Erica Evans 43 minutes ago

got this from engadget and also read Pogue on nyt he has lost my respect when i think it was his article that got me a webosian !! the above paste reflects my pensè

"If it ever gets going good"

That's always the catch, isn't it?

Once WebOS gets the apps/fixes the bugs/gets the ecosystem/gets the developer interest/gets that next OS update, all will be well.

But it never happens and there's always an excuse.

i want my veer first then i tp

I'm kinda glad I'm broke right now, so maybe I can kind right out this bumpy time of initial product releases while HP/Palm work out the kinks.

Maybe they will see an aggregate of items people called for that were missing from this initial release and add that into a new device, and maybe fix the occasional long wait time for random apps to load. Or maybe they will just have minor software tweaks and editable office docs along with a discounted price.

Either way, I'm pretty excited that the webOS phones and tablets I'm planning on getting at the end of the summer / beginning of fall are going to be some pretty sweet devices with all the edges polished. I have no doubt. Then maybe I can convince my wife to let me get her one for Christmas too. Okay... it'd really just be because I want more webOS in the house.

Too little, too late according to Cnet. This is their comment:
The bottom line: The TouchPad would have made a great competitor for the original iPad, but its design, features, and speed put it behind today's crop of tablet heavyweights.

Read more: http://reviews.cnet.com/tablets/hp-touchpad/4505-3126_7-34499289.html#ix...

Hoping that Derek Sees this.

Derek,

Could you attempt to load Logmein and see if it works?

Well, I'm a little more optimistic than some (most)...Here's the thing...As we all know, the average person has no clue what WebOS is...of these, many wouldn't understand the differences in smartphone operating systems, and quite frankly probably havent the slightest clue what an operating system is in the first place aside from perhaps W*ndows, and even then probably only vaguely understand what an OS does....true the TP is a bit on the "pudgy" side, and this can potentially hurt sales because form factor (even if unimportant speaking from a functionality standpoint) is probably the single most important thing (at the outset) to a disturbing proportion of society....so theres that...however, that being said, i think they are doing a pretty good job advertising the most obvious and basic differences between the way WebOS works compared to the functionality of other tablet operating systems (as the tablet experience is likely the first experience many (most) will ever have had with WebOS)..and this is key to making the public excited...once the public spends a few minutes playing with a TP, and realizes how much more intuitive and user-friendly WebOS is compared to others, I doubt that anyone could deny i = ul.

As a pre (-) owner for what seems like an eternity, the frustration I have experienced first realizing my device was pretty much "left behind", but also that the prospect that I would have to change carriers if i wanted to stay a part of the webOS family with any new devices, has been pretty heartbreaking because as crazy as it sounds (though i perceive everyone here can relate), webOS really grows on you and when one is forced, as i was after going through three pre's and tired of waiting for the ever elusive Sprint Pre3 (which im sure will never materialize), I decided to go with the Evo.

I have to say, as much as I like the phone, as the hardware obviously blows the pre into bits, Android really is just total **** compared to the webOS experience. I would even go so far as to say I hate it. That being said, and back to my main point, I think most people would agree about the s*ck factor of Android compared to webOS and, this being the case, when said device running webOS is marketed to those who have, say, little familiarity with tablets period....in other words, if you can hit people up who have had little or no experience with tablets (and i must say, for example, no one i know even has one), then my opinion is you will see a blockbuster product in TouchPad that has growth unmatched in recent history except for perhaps, of course, the iPAD/iPAD2.

I for one want to have one...I need my webOS fix after dealing with this Evo for like a month now lol to me, even with its shortcomings, nothing would be better than sitting around browsing the web with this kind of device running what I feel is the most proific mobile OS out there, hands down.

I totally agree on your points about Android system/HTC hardware.

The thing is... I've stopped HATING using Android after few weeks of initial discomfort. I know my way around it now, and while nowhere near webOS elegance & simplicity, once you have right things installed & configured your way (OR make an effort to change your UX habits), it is acceptable... And beautiful hardware + fantastic apps aplenty, make up for the rest, in droves. Funny enough, some apps on Android are way better integrated that webOS' versions, despite webOS in theory having Synergy, should integrate better (I am talking about Voxofon, which on my Android handset, I never have to run myself - I just choose international number as I would normally with my phone app, and if it happens to be a number abroad, Voxofon starts automatically and gives me option to call using Voxofon or regular line)

For me, window of opportunity for webOS has closed, and HP would need to go above & beyond what they are apparently comfortable with, and pull something truly extraordinary, to make me believe they have what it takes, to ensure webOS adoption and development.

Sad, but true :(.

yeah after all the review I've read. i'm gonna say purchasing a Tablet this year is a No-Go. Even tho i was fully aware of it's look... actually seeing it is a real turn off. The feel of the product feels so much like last years device. It's Huge, Chunky, Heavy and the biggest thing i don't like about it is the back. The shiny black finger print magnet. It just makes the product look so cheap. Also it should be standard to use an oileophobic compound on the glass screen. Nobody wants to be cleaning off the screen CONSTANTLY. Very disappointed in the Touchpad. :-(

I can not justify spending this much money if I can not edit Microsoft Office Documents. Do you know if you can log into Google and edited it through Google Docs?

Thank you for that excellent, detailed review. You've given HP a blueprint for improving the product.

Because of the many issues you described, I decided to cancel my Amazon order for the Touchpad.

I hope that improvements will be made in the future.

...and the review from This is my next had positives, but just as many negatives: http://thisismynext.com/2011/06/29/hp-touchpad-review/

I don't know how they expect to sell 3 million of these. Many will wait for the TP2.

the only ones who will "wait" are those who currently have a webos product. No one else will be "waiting", they'll be BUYING an ipad2.

which is a catch-22 really, since if they dont meet sales expectations and numbers for TP, there isn't going to be a TP2

Well, I received my TP today (Germany) along with the case, the keyboard and the TS charger. I am a software developer for a living and thus quite familiar with gadgets alike and at first glance I cannot share the impression that the build quality is cheap. Yes it is plastic back but the TP does not feel clumsy or fragile neither am I concerned that it will fall apart anytime soon (quite the contrary to my pre- unboxing OREO FTW! :-)). As for size and weight nothing that I did not expect from the numerous videos and pictures I have seen beforehand and surely no show stopper. As for the rest I have to post later as I had only the chance to unbox it this evening. If my wife allows for I will spend some quality time with the TP and should have a fair understanding of pros and cons by the time the bed bug bites.

Update: After a good hour of playing around make this +one on the happy customer TP list. webOS 3.0 has great potential and coming from the pessimistic side of the webOS fan fence this OS incarnation works better than expected by several exponents. My FrankenPre- connected right out of the box. Phone app, SMS and phone notifications work like a charm. Yes the Appstore selection is very limited but rising by the minute and the emulation mode for Pre apps works as advertised. If the Pre3 offers a similar performance I am already sold. My take on the TP: HP is on the right track and as for some of the more negative reviews I get the impression that editors, products from Cupertino and objectivity don´t go well together. And hey this is written on a MBP while the TP chims with tunes from simfy.de (German spotify counterpart).

"Phone app, SMS and phone notifications work like a charm."
...which is, presumably, a use case for a phone, nah? The one which is still not out there, Pre 3, and 4(+)" slab.

This thing is sooo confused, and has so many identity crises built-in, there's no one single place where it is straight&focused.

you might want to edit this:
"Annoyingly, the launcher up and down, whether by swipe, physical button, or virtual button in the Quick Launch bar, is always accompanied by a sliding paper sound that cannot be disabled."

by turning System Sounds off the paper sliding goes away as do swoosh, angry birds sling shot.

alerts and all that remain, but yes there is a way to get ride of the "annoying" sliding paper sound

Still no hardware accelerated UI?
CAAAAAARL :|

I waited for this since DAY 1...
I actually already purchased the Slate 500 and love it. I have used it everyday since I pulled it out of the box. However, I also wanted the fluidity of a 'mobile OS'..

Purchased my TP from bestbuy as soon as they opened. It was wonderful, the first hour that is. Then it just FROZE!!

BESTBUY couldn't figure it out either, so I returned it - and bought the 64g ipad 2.

The ipad2 looks sleak and I love the form, but after several days, I have had enough of it.

Surprisingly, it did do some measure of multi-tasking.. The email layout is great and the apps seem unlimited.

Dislikes: not a fan of itunes, the speaker pales in comparison to the TP, lack of use of word/excel which I use everyday for work, and I cannot stand going to a website only to be told that my brand new $700 ipad2 is too cheap to see the site.. (ie. MGM Grand site)

So I went to QVC (where the ipad2 AGAIN would not play the video) and ordered another Touchpad - touchstone dock and case included for $630..

Giving the ipad2 to my daughter, she likes it.

Now just waiting for the Pre3 to be able to text right from my portfolio.

Not to leave my son out, he gets my droid charge phone...lol

I seen/used/purchased both. Im going with the TOUCHPAD..

Not to replace my slate 500, but to compliment it. No tablets out there are able to do what it does, its a different product all together.

~TBF

How many people have actually tried out the TP? It seems that most of the negative comments are coming from what people have only _seen_ the TP, while the positive comments are coming from those who have actually _used_ one.

Also, anyone who has actually used a TP should share their feedback on Engadget's TouchPad review. It's a pretty heated discussion. Here's a direct link:

http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/29/hp-touchpad-review/

About the appointments in the calendar...is there not the calendar icon to the left of the vertical scrolling date/time you can touch to have the month view pop out below like on the pre? That's how I check to see what day of the week the 18th is, for example.

Definitely Webos need to evolve and be at the same level of Google and the honeycomb,same with the ipad and the ios, the ios has turn on, in a boring software after the honeycomb came out. is very nice the improvement that HP has done with the webos but still they are like running a Nascar vs a Formula 1 right now, I dont understand what are they waiting to give us a different interface where you can scroll the things, change views of different desktops and add widgets and new gest, plus HDMI ports and other peripherals. and options to get attachments to the tables or phones, like buttons for gaming and external keyboards, what are they thinking. when are they going to realized that they need a bigger engine that can launch this software to the moon...

wake up HP you have the best OS out there!!!

With the latest addition OTA updates, think maybe it's time to update this article?

Where is the office document editing For webOS?

cannot open any apps - error code - too many cards - attempted to shut-down & re-start - no luck

how do I re-boot and remover this error code
vern

cannot open apps