Review: HP TouchPad [part 2] | webOS Nation
 
 

Review: HP TouchPad [part 2] 158

by Derek Kessler Wed, 29 Jun 2011 5:05 am EDT

Read part one of the comprehensive PreCentral HP TouchPad Review

If there’s any app that’s going to be the key to the TouchPad’s success, it’s the App Catalog. And if there’s any app that feels most out of place, it’s the App Catalog. For all of the Enyo-y goodness that are the sliding panels, that’s nowhere to be found in the App Catalog. Instead, there are literally back buttons throughout. In fact, it's the only pre-installed app with a back button. Compared to the smoothness of the rest of webOS, the back button is just jarring.

That out of the way, let’s actually talk about the Catalog. The first thing you’re presented with upon launching the App Catalog is a new feature called webOS Pivot. Pivot is an App Catalog magazine of sorts, complete with a table of contents. The app reformats itself in vertical and horizontal, and works entirely by swiping left-right to get to the next page. It contains features on app developers, individual apps, and just using the TouchPad as part of a digital lifestyle. When discussed, the apps are linked live, either to the App Catalog listing or containing a Launch button if you’ve already got that app installed. Pivot is also the first place you’ll see the bookmark icon, which lets you save an app listing for later. Once you get into the app listings, it’s paired up with every individual app. Pivot is planned for new issues every month, and each issue will be custom tailored to the market in which it is being distributed (i.e. Germany will get a different issue of Pivot than America).

Articles in the launch edition of Pivot include Fine Tuning on internet radio, Month at a Glance with events for July and apps that you can use for those events (some of the connections are bit of a stretch), and Answering Machines by novelist Colson Whitehead (a work on “the rise of know-it-all devices”), among others. Pivot also contains app reviews, which in the first issue are Facebook, iheartradio, Need For Speed Hot Pursuit, and TED. The reviews are honest, though supportive, as you would expect from a magazine dedicated to supporting the App Catalog and its developers. Instead of criticism, the reviews offer a “wishlist” of where the app could go in the future. Pivot ends with a list of all the apps discussed in the issue (22 total in July’s) and a preview of the next month. If you had any doubts about HP’s opinion of homebrew development, the August edition is slated to include an article title “Homebrewers: Keeping The Garage Unlocked.”

The Catalog consistently has four tabs across the bottom: Featured (which launches Pivot), Categories, Bookmarks, and Search. Categories is a simple filtering browser, with a list of app categories on the left side and apps themselves on the right. Selecting a category gives you the option to filter even further. For example, under Games you can select Action/Adventure, Sports, Cards, Strategy, Trivia, and seven other sub-filter options to narrow your browsing. The top of the apps list is topped by buttons to see the “top” apps (the most downloaded), the top paid and free apps, and the newest apps. The same sort and filter options are available under the search tab.

The way “top” apps are determined by the App Catalog is not the greatest. Apps are sorted by the raw review score, regardless of the number of apps (apps with the same average score are then sorted by the number of reviews). An app with a single five-star app is ranked higher than one with fifty reviews and a 4.92 average. It’s not a smart sorting system. Additionally, the TouchPad App Catalog places all “for TouchPad” apps at the top of any search or filtered list, so the lowest ranked TouchPad app will be above the highest rated for phones Mojo app (Mojo being the original SDK consisting of HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript). To make matters worse, Mojo apps that have been updated to be TouchPad compatible while retaining phone compatibility don’t receive the “for TouchPad” tag, as that’s reserved for apps with a minimum OS version of 3.0.0, so those too will be ranked below the full Enyo “for TouchPad” apps.

Once you’ve selected an app, you’re presented with a two-panel view of the app’s data. The column on the left breaks down the reviews by star rating along with scaling positive and negative review bubbles, followed by a set of app data (compatibility, version, etc), and buttons to share the app, view other apps by that developer, launch the app support website, and report problems directly from the App Catalog.

The column on the right is for the app description and the reviews themselves. It’s topped by a horizontal scrolled of app screenshots. The little thumbnail sized screenshots can’t be tapped, pinched, or willed into a bigger size, making them practically useless since they’re a whopping 1x1.5 inches in size. Any YouTube videos attached to the app are displayed here, but at least those can be watched (tapping opens a browser window to the appropriate YouTube page). Under the miniature gallery is the app description, followed by user reviews, which are separated by positive and negative (with positive always as the default selection). We can understand to a degree why HP elected to separate the reviews – it gives developers a better shot if the negative reviews aren’t displayed right off the bat, but it’s also not really fair to potential customers to hide the negative reviews (yes, they’re only one tap away, but it’s that way on purpose), encouraging them to buy the app, and then depositing a negative review on the app.

The webOS 3.0 App Catalog is easily one of, if not the, most important app on the TouchPad. And it’s the one that disappoints the most. If as much design work and attention to detail as Pivot shows had been put into the Catalog itself, we might not have these complaints, but the App Catalog has a long way to go. Third party apps are the lifeblood of any modern mobile computing platform, and if Pivot is to be HP’s answer for discovery, they’re ignoring the discovery that comes from just searching for a solution. Make every app page look as good as Pivot with all the functionality of the old Catalog (most important: full size screenshot viewing) and a lot of these complaints will disappear. Also: an online app portal, especially one that ties in with the bookmarks feature.

Third-Party Apps

Mojo Compatibility Mode and PDK Portability Mode

Ranking “for TouchPad” apps over the older Mojo apps happens for a good reason: The vast majority of the 3000+ old webOS smartphone apps that have been determined to be compatible with the TouchPad have not been updated to support the larger screen and higher resolution of the tablet. These older apps are run in what HP has termed “Compatibility Mode,” which in reality is a virtual emulator for the physical hardware of a Pre-series phone. Mojo apps that haven’t been updated for the larger screen and lack of a gesture area run in a 320x480 simulated window in the middle of the TouchPad’s screen, with a fake phone surrounding them in order to provide a virtual gesture area at the bottom to let you swipe around to your heart’s delight.

We have to question HP’s decision to make the emulator like this, as from the beginning of webOS Palm touted that apps built on the SDK would be able to easily scale to different screen sizes. It might be that HP determined that they didn’t scale as well as they would have liked, but that still doesn’t explain why they didn’t have the apps get pixel doubled (320x480 becomes 640x960, which fits easily on the 768x1024 TouchPad screen) and still have a gesture area at the bottom.

If you’re thinking that the virtual keyboard might cause issues, don’t forget that these apps all scale up when you open the notifications dashboard on your phone – there’s no reason they couldn’t have done the same on the TouchPad. This phone emulator is simply not good. It’s a jarring experience for anybody hoping to make use of their old webOS apps, and after using it we got back into using the back gesture and started swiping at the bezel of the TouchPad.

Old PDK apps (3D games and the like), however, scale just fine up to the TouchPad’s larger screen. They retain their 3:2 formatting, and thus have black bars across the top and bottom, but otherwise look perfectly fine on the bigger screen. There’s obviously some pixelization since these apps think they’re running on a 320x480 screen, but most are perfectly usable. Keyword being most. Some apps took a long time to load, while others fired up instantly. The only one that completely failed in our testing was the full version of Supersonic, which for some reason kept trying to render itself in portrait mode when the app is a landscape one. Strangely, the free trial version of Supersonic works just fine.

Enyo and TouchPad PDK

Enough about the headaches of using old apps – it’s time to talk new apps. As mentioned earlier, the new App Catalog differentiates between apps made specifically for the TouchPad and those designed for older devices, and for good reason: the new TouchPad apps simply aren’t going to work on webOS 2.x. There are a number of quality Enyo apps available in the Catalog, as well as a few dozen tablet-size PDK games. The staples are here: Angry Birds HD (original and Rio), USA Today, the unofficial PreCentral News HD app (not made by us, but fantastically done anyway – we have the best fans, hands down), Photo Effects Tablet Edition (for basic photo editing), and the like.

The webOS 3.0 App Catalog is also playing host to two new sets of apps for the TouchPad: books and magazines. While books have long been a part of the webOS App Catalog, it’s almost entirely been in the form of app spam generated from public domain books. The 3.0 Catalog is different, at least for now, with the Enyo SDK still in closed beta. At the time of this review there were just over a dozen individual books in the Catalog, priced from $0.99 to $28.95. The lower end was populated by a series of childrens’ picture books like Bert and Ernie Bakers from Sesame Street, while the top half was filled out by titles like A Scanner Darkly by Phillip K. Dick and Bill Bryson’s At Home. Of course, with a full-fledged Kindle app on board, we can’t see these individual app books taking off.

The magazine apps, however, might do well. The apps serve merely as portals to the tablet edition of the magazine and have their own built-in subscription services. We tried out Time, Fortune, and People (all from Time, Inc.) and came away impressed with the format. Subscribers to the paper edition of these publications will receive the tablet edition for free (you have to log in using your magazine account information), and everybody else can purchase a subscription right there on the spot (Time is $2.99 a month and People goes for $9.99), with the first four issues provided for free, clearly with the intention of getting you hooked on the content. As was demonstrated at the TouchPad unveil back in February, these magazine apps contain the same content as their print counterparts, but with interactive parts and landscape/portrait formatting that just isn’t possible with paper.

A good number of PDK games are available for the TouchPad. From the highly-detailed Angry Birds Rio to the surprisingly addictive Radiant HD to Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, they all performed incredibly well on the TouchPad. Frame rates and responsiveness were superb, as we would expect with the high-end hardware driving everything. While it’s clear HP has called in some favors to get these apps made (Jon Rubinstein’s on Amazon’s board, for example), there are still some gaping holes in the TouchPad’s app selection. For instance, the only text editor is a basic niche Markdown editor. There’s no Google Reader app (a hugely important tool for us at PreCentral), though there is at least an RSS reader in Need for Feeds by Rusty Apps. The only “for TouchPad” Twitter client is Spaz HD, which while a great open source app, just feels rough around the edges (a fit for the TouchPad, we suppose), and there’s nothing for Foursquare, Google Latitude, or any other number of social networks.

HP still faces the chicken and the egg cycle problem with TouchPad apps: developers want a userbase before they’ll make apps; after all, they need to know that the work they put into making an app is going to result in food on the dinner table. Potential users want to know that the apps are there before they’ll buy into the platform. So you need apps to get users to get apps to get users. It’s a problem Palm and HP have been facing for two and a half years, and there’s no good solution. The critical mass userbase is a vital threshold for HP to reach, and they’ve at least made very strong steps in getting big name developers (Amazon, EA, Time, Rovio, et al) on board to make the base apps for the TouchPad. Whether or not the smaller developers will flock to the platform remains to be seen.

Homebrew

HP sent pre-release TouchPads to leading homebrew developers like WebOS Internals’ Rod Whitby, and they’ve been hard at work updating apps like Preware for TouchPad compatibility. WebOS Quick Install 4.2.0 plays nice with the TouchPad, as does the latest testing version of Preware (version 1.6.8). Preware’s been updated to work on the bigger TouchPad screen and now has a back button in the top bar to make up for the missing gesture area. There aren’t currently any patches or kernels available for the TouchPad, but the apps available in the PreCentral Homebrew App Gallery installed without a problem (and ran in the above discussed Mojo Compatibility Mode emulator).

HP’s made their commitment to supporting homebrew clear, and the fact that developer mode is still easily accessed on webOS 3.0 (either by typing the Konami Code or webos20090606 into Just Type) emphasizes that commitment. With TouchPads already in the hands of the appropriate devs, it’ll only be a matter of time before patches, kernels, and more homebrew apps are made available for the TouchPad. Homebrew’s not going anywhere, and we’ll be better off for it.

Touch-to-Share and phone/text sharing

One of the more interesting features of the TouchPad actually requires another device: it’s called Touch-to-Share, and it transfers data between your TouchPad and an HP Pre3. We were given a pre-production Pre3 to test out Touch-to-Share, and it works exactly how HP has described: touch the back of the phone to the home button on the TouchPad, the tablet has a funky wave go across the screen, and the URL of the currently-in-focus browser card on either device is transferred to the other. The transfer works in both directions: the TouchPad can send a URL to the phone, and the phone can send one to the tablet. In fact, it’s simple enough that you can have different pages loaded on the phone and tablet, tap them together, and they’ll swap URLs and load them. The tap part is just to establish that the two devices are to communicate – the actual communication is done over Bluetooth.

Right now Touch-to-Share only works with web URLs, but seeing as all Enyo and Mojo apps are built off of web tech, we can see how the feature could be quickly expanded to other apps and services. Touch-to-Share does not require that the two devices be on the same webOS Profile, but they do need to be paired first. Unlike NFC, which is designed to work between unfamiliar devices, Touch-to-Share is meant for familiar (hence the Bluetooth pairing).

The first tap between a TouchPad and Pre3 (and any other eventual Touch-to-Share devices) initiates a pairing process that also allows you to choose whether or not to allow the TouchPad to handle calls and texts from the phone. This feature is refreshingly unique and something we’ve been waiting for, well, years. We’ve actually wanted this since before tablets became mainstream products, that’s how long.

Thanks to the magic of Synergy, text message sharing happens just as if the TouchPad itself had a cellular radio. Of course, it doesn’t, so a Bluetooth connection with the phone is required to handle the message sharing. As soon as a text comes in on your phone, it’s also on your TouchPad. Responding via the TouchPad pushes the message back to your phone, and then on to the recipient. We didn’t notice any hiccups or delays in the process, which is how it should be.

Incoming calls behavior is exactly like the Skype calls described earlier in this review. The call rings on the TouchPad (you can select your own ringtones) and you get a large notification in the top right corner, which then launches the Phone app and puts you into a regular conversation. As far as your phone’s behavior is concerned, it thinks that the TouchPad is merely a Bluetooth speakerphone. The speakerphone system also works with older webOS phones, all the way back to webOS 1.4.5. You can also dial out from the TouchPad to your paired phone. Like with the phones, tapping the call button when not on a call will redial the last number, but will also give the option to dial that contact over Bluetooth or Skype (if that person is available on both).

While this pairing is great and all, there’s still one issue that needs to be worked out: re-establishing that connection. The TouchPad and Pre3 see each other just fine, and even transfer URLs over Bluetooth like there’s no tomorrow with Touch-to-Share, but that “I’m a Bluetooth speakerphone and want to share your texts” pairing has proven difficult to maintain if the two are separated, and they will be often. The phone is meant to go with you everywhere, while the tablet certainly is not. That connection needs to be re-established soon after the two are in close proximity, but more often than not we had to manually open the device menu and Bluetooth sub-menu on the Pre3 or TouchPad and select the companion device to get them to play nice again. Re-pairing did happen automatically after either device was restarted in the Bluetooth range of the other (thankfully, restarts were rare and intentional on both devices), but one shouldn’t have to resort to manually reconnecting phone and tablet for something that’s otherwise entirely seamless.

Touchstone

When we got our first leaks of the TouchPad’s design documents (back when it was still the Topaz), we also got our first glimpse at what Touchstone v2 would look like, at least conceptually. The high-concept Touchstone tech stuff is above in the Touch-to-Share section, while this section deals with the good ‘ole inductive charging part of the Touchstone equation. The TouchPad comes with integrated inductive charging coils for use with the new Touchstone charging dock, an easel-like stand that will charge the tablet in portrait or landscape orientations. Well, technically charging only happens in landscape with the speakers down and home button on the right or portrait with the webcam at the top. Speakers up and webcam down don’t work, unlike with the phone-series Touchstone chargers, which worked in literally any direction.

This is likely due to the design of the TouchPad Touchstone stand: the tablet merely sits on the bottom lip instead of being held in place and proper orientation by magnets. Because the center of the tablet changes between the orientations, and it only works in two of specific orientations, our suspicion is that the Touchstone has one large inductive charging coil in it, while the TouchPad has two corresponding coils to receive the charge (one for each orientation).

In our use the Touchstone was able to charge the TouchPad just as fast as the standard USB wall charger. The Touchstone actually includes the AC-to-USB adapter in the box, as the cable here is integrated into the stand. Of note, because the Touchstone and TouchPad don’t have magnets for alignment, positioning the tablet on the stand isn’t quite as easy as it is with the phones. There’s a more horizontal tolerance in how far you can move the TouchPad before it stops taking a charge, and the pairing will start to make a quiet and disconcerting high pitched warble if they’re in that zone between too far to charge and close enough.

Exhibition is in full play on the TouchPad, but the only updates from webOS 2.1 to 3.0 have been aesthetic. The same three default Exhibition choices remain in 3.0: Time, Photos, and Agenda. Time at least gives you three clocks to choose from: a swanking blue modern analog clock with the date in plain text below, a flip number-style clock with full date, and a clean black modern clock with smoothly-ticking second hand and the day and date. Photos is a slideshow of all your photos in chronological order. It touches on everything: screenshots, wallpapers, your Facebook photos (including your profile album, which is a little weird and narcissistic), and any other photos you’ve loaded on the device. That there’s still no option to filter down to a specific album or even source is disappointing. Agenda merely super-sizes the Agenda from Exhibition in webOS 2.1. The only addition is a current month date grid in landscape mode. Like Photos, there are no options, which can be frustrating if there are calendars that you’ve synced down to be able to reference, but don’t care to see them displayed on your heads-up display.

The TouchPad can put out a lot of light when in Exhibition mode, thankfully HP retained the power button screen off behavior from Exhibition in 2.1. Exhibition is also available to other apps, but right now there are only around a dozen TouchPad- and Exhibition-compatible apps in the Catalog. Seeing as Exhibition is one of our favorite webOS features (and one of the things that stops us from grabbing a Chumby), we hope that many more Exhibition-compatible apps will come to the TouchPad App Catalog.

Daily Use

For the past week I managed to use the TouchPad as almost my exclusive computing device. For some tasks it excelled, for others it was an exercise in patience, and for some it was downright frustratingly difficult. The biggest thing holding the TouchPad back right now is the apps front, which we expect and hope is a complaint that will be rendered moot. The sparseness of some product categories was disappointing to say the least, and the complete absence of some necessary apps led to much frustration. At over 14,000 words, writing this review using the buggy Memos app was at times a hair-pulling experience. Yes, that’s not what the Memos app is for, but it’s also the only available option.

HP is quoting up to eight hours of Wi-Fi web browsing using the TouchPad, and our own experiences proved to be comparable. The TouchPad’s battery should be enough to get you through the day, but of course your experience may vary. It all depends on how you use the tablet – if you’re using Flash and playing PDK games all day, you can expect less battery life, while those using it to read Kindle books with a dim screen will get more than eight hours out of it. The charger for the TouchPad is larger than that of the old Pre phones (it has to pump out 10 Volts to simultaneously power and charge the TouchPad), but it’s not noticeably bulky as it retains the same design – just longer.

Setting up the TouchPad for most will be a one-time affair. After booting you’re prompted to select a language and then either log into or create a new webOS Profile. If you already have a profile, you can use it alongside the same profile on your phone. All of your Synergy settings, browser bookmarks and history, memos, and most apps (excluding those the developer has set to not be allowed on multiple devices) will automatically be downloaded onto the TouchPad after it reboots. Those items don’t continue to sync afterwards, at least between our webOS 2.1 Pre 2 and the webOS 3.0 TouchPad on the same webOS Profile (memos created or updated on the TouchPad did not sync back down to the phone). That may change when the phones are eventually upgraded to webOS 3.0, but for now it’s like copying the contents of a Windows XP laptop onto a Windows 7 desktop – not all of your apps will work, but most will, and while your data is current between the two at the start, they’re going to take diverging paths until you can figure out some way to share between the computers.

The TouchPad was difficult to fit into our daily routine, but that was mostly due to the hurting for apps. Derek’s most-used apps on his desktop and phone are Twitter clients, word processing, web browsing (including Gmail web access), a Google Reader client, and music playing. The TouchPad excels at email and web browsing, especially with its excellent Flash integration (as much as this reviewer may disparage Flash and call for its death on every other PalmCast). But in every other function this blogger uses most, it falls short. That’s all correctable via new apps or an OS update, but those take time, which isn’t necessarily something the TouchPad has in abundance. Consumers may be fickle and apt to change their minds at a moment’s notice, but they have little patience – just look at how many current webOS users there are compared to the peak.

Conclusion

The HP TouchPad will be hitting shelves around the United States on July 1, 2011. The Wi-Fi-only webOS tablet will be available in two storage sizes: 16GB for $499.99 and 32GB for $599.99. Owners of original and Plus-variant Pre- and Pixi-series phones will qualify for a $50 mail-in-rebate on the 32GB TouchPad through the first month of availability (that’s HP attempting to “make things right”).

So the question to be asked is this: should you get a TouchPad? If you already have an iPad that you’re satisfied with or think you’d be better served by an iPad, you probably shouldn’t get a TouchPad. But if you’re looking for a multi-tasking monster with fantastic web browsing, email, a growing app store, and oodles of potential, then you might want to consider the TouchPad.

The TouchPad’s not a perfect tablet by any stretch of the imagination. It has its faults, but by and large those are correctable missteps, bugs, or omissions on the software front. While no number of software updates can make the TouchPad thinner, lighter, or sprout a rear-facing camera, the hardware is solid and up to the task of whatever you can throw at it. We didn’t even try to break the TouchPad with a Too Many Cards error – we don’t have the patience to figure out how many apps it takes to reach that 1GB RAM ceiling.

With a software update or two, the first of which HP has told us is in progress, and a filling out of the App Catalog, the TouchPad could be a legitimate contender in the tablet space. HP’s still making their case, and if there’s anybody with the power, expertise, and connections to make a successful tablet, HP and webOS could be the winning combination.

158 Comments

I'm in. Let's go get one each, WebOS fans!

I really wish I could get behind you, but I was hoping that they would have been able to knock it out of the park and only have lack of apps and lack of camera be the only points wrong with it. Instead, there are several rough spots and missing items, weird design decisions and more.

I'm sorry to say this, but I have lost my boyish enthusiasm after all that has happened with the Pre-. I am firmly in "wait and see" mode. Which is unfortunate because I still love webOS, the Touchstone and so many other of the core ideas behind their devices.

I'm going to have to agree.

Altho I'm not firmly in wait and see mode ... I can say if I plunked down the cash for one of these things I'd be heading home wondering if I made the right decision.

I was really hoping for better hardware performance ... and the Skype review from Engadget wan't pretty.

(sigh)

I would have to agree with you. I have already plunked down the cash so to speak for this one, and I am wondering if I made the right decision. I have the ability to cancel my 32 GB preorder but I won't. I just don't like having buyers remorse or a bad taste in my mouth.. WebOS has potential and I believe in what it is capable of truly achieving but I will not use this post to go into details. My biggest gripe is not really the hardware but all bugs that were encountered in the numerous reviews I saw.. Yes it is a little bulky... I can live with that (My toshiba notebook is also a little bulky). It has no back camera... I have no need for that.. but the annoying shiny plastic and the runtime or logic errors in the code.. there is no excuse for that. I believe the software will be fixed fairly quickly with OTA updates but my enthusiasm took a dive yesterday and that is not good when you are a WebOS fan!

You should cancel your pre-order. Believe it or not this will HELP HP & WebOS.
By canceling your pre-order HP will see their tablet sales are low and thus they will drop the prices of their tablets. This opens up the market to non-webos enthusiasts.
Think about it. Someone not enthusiastic about webos has $500 to spend, they are going to go with the ipad2 because it's thinner and offers more apps with stability. However if the price of the 16GB wifi only touchpad is $350-$400 with the touchstone included, then consumers will be more willing to give it a try to save the money.
By pre-ordering you are telling HP, "Hey the price of your first generation tablet is at a good price."

u r either a broke person or cheap 21+ yrs old man who doesn't have 5 bills to make himself happy so u have to make excuses by talkin smack! on the other hand, Go WebOS! Ill be getting two n get a TP2 wen it comes out =D

Could you buy me one then? I don't have the cash handy, but I would really like a TouchPad. Hey...I figured, since you were getting two...picking up one more wouldn't be that big a deal! ;)

Agreed... Not that I really have another option seeing as I live in a country that probably won't see a TouchPad release this year :)
Plusside, when it DOES come here the software kinks should be resolved :)

Meanwhile I do LOVE my Pre 2, crippled app store and all. So glad I got rid of my iPhone 3GS :)

Agreed. I have been saving up for this for about a year now, actually a lil' longer. I've been so excited but in the past couple weeks or so... i don't know... I've also lost the enthusiasm I had. The Look is the biggest hindrance. It was modeled EXACTLY after a device that was a year old and they didn't even TRY to out do the iPad1. The fingerprint magnet on the back looks so cheap. Also the fact that there is no Oileophobic treatment on the glass just seems there was little thought on the hardware. :-( I am seriously Disappointed... But i have the money for the Touchpad2... hope they put a lil' more thought into the "S3X Appeal" Factor for the next one.

It does have the Oleophobic coating. Look at the spec sheet.

No buyers remorse for me, it's SIMPLY AWESOME!

The calendar performance is the only thing that I've had problems with and I fully expect it to be worked out soon.
I too don't like the shiny back but once you put the case over it, or something like Stealth Armor from Fusion of Ideas, the point is moot. Actually the smooth back allows for personalizing it more so than it would with a soft-touch back. Some people like it, others hate it, I believe there are advantages to both.

Absolutely agree and could not have stated it better!. Although HP is large and has an impressive personal computer division, their products are mediocre compared to Apple hardware and I fear the same will be repeated in the tablet space.

Paul

Can't wait until Friday!

I'm trying to win one on facebook first! :D

Yeah I was on the fence since there is no indication that the Pre3 is coming to my favorite carrier. But after some thought, the main reason I came up with is to show support for my favorite mobile operating system (I've tried them all). If you're a webOS fan, then show your support. Buy webOS devices or develop apps!

I'll be another day 1 webOS customer! :D

Great Review Derek! You went through much more material than the guy who did the Engadget Review. Which by the way gave it a 7/10.

I have the 16GB pre ordered, but I'm about to go to Best Buy right now and cancel that pre-order.

Instead, I will be pre-ordering the 32GB. No matter how bad or good the reviews are, I have made up my mind on which ecosystem to support. Either its webOS while its still around or ummm.... I don't know if something more intuitive will come out for several years.

Lol @ "while its still around"

yeah i dont care about engadget they dont know what we been through this is legendary lol

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

Wow! Nice review.

"Nice" review? You call this, a "nice" review?

This is, quite possibly, the GREATEST REVIEW FOR ANY PRODUCT, EVER, and you have the audacity to call it a "nice" review?

This. Is legendary.

Derek -- You are a God among men.

Well, divine words aside, i agree that this review, Derek, was very complete and comprehensive. I'm still wondering two things:

1. When the GSM version is released?
2. Any chances that this will land in Mexico?

It was LEGEN wait for it, and I hope you aren't lactose and tolerant, DARY.

If you're going to do Barney quotes please do them right :)

"..., and I hope you're not lactose intolerant because the next word is "dairy". Legendairy" Which was obviously a play on words referring legendary yes ;)

Regardless, yes, loved the review. Not so thrilled about the minor flaws that surfaced though, but considering this product has only been in the pipe for 7 months, very respectable. Now the true test for HP will be in what timeframe they can correct the software-flaws and when they can push out the 2nd iteration of this tablet :)

I'm looking forward to the OTA update excitement we had during the early days of the Pre- release when Palm (but now HP) addressed release day user experience issues.

Barney...the dinosaur?

GSM is slated for later this summer, and I would assume it would land in Mexico soon if not Friday, since it's in Germany already?

So basically webOS has potential. 2 years and counting now.

Yep. Before HP's acquisition, it had potential for the future. Today, it has GREAT potential for the future. Year from now (assuming that HP will not get slapped on their wrist by shareholders not particularly happy for them burning money like that), nothing will change. It will still have very firm potential for the future.

This is great about it, isn't it? Oh wait...

Engadget was not so kind. You get the feeling that this review glosses over some major problems. I'm getting the feeling this is just like the pre- launch: half finished hardware and software intended as a beta test for products to come. I want webOS to succeed- it's a great, intuitive OS. It won't succeed with this half-baked **** though.

It really does feel half-baked again. Rough spots abound. 8^(

Well, after reading this review, it certainly does appear that there are some glaring software issues.

Im not sure what to say at this point, other than, if Derek's review is, indeed accurate and representative of other reviews as well, this wasn't a "perfect device" on release.

:(

I agree. Not the greatest device at launch.

All that means is more WebOS for us! We can have it all to ourselves!

Therein lies the problem.

...a good one ;)

Played with the Touchpad at Best buy for about 30 minutes. I came away very disappointed. Compared to the IPad, it feels like beta hardware and software. They had once chance to get it right and blew it. I really wanted to believe HP would save webOS, I was wrong. Time for me to consider another ecosytem and retire my overclocked Palm Pre+.

Palm had one chance to get it right. HP has as many chances as they are willing to finance. It is disappointing that they didn't listen more to what people where saying during early impressions.

...oh really, do them have as many chances as they wish to blew things, just because they are big?

How wrong you are...

Killer OS hampered by shoddy hardware? Color me shocked.

Glad I did not pre-order. Hopefully the Pre3 and Opal are better efforts. Very disappointing.

which "shoddy" hardware were you referring to? i thought the review said the hardware was up to the task. the issue was with the software...which is correctable.

*****
the issue was with the software...which is correctable.
*****

That has been webOS' battle cry since 2009. It's time to actually correct it, don't you think?

actually, that's the battle cry of every OS. i'm a software engineer. and from experience, there's no software that's 100% complete. there's only deadlines and trade-offs, major versions, minor versions, and patches. and once you're done correcting them, there will new once that pop up or features that some will feel are missing. it's a never ending list of bug fixes and enhancements.

my issue with the original pre was never bugs. i can live with those. my issue was that my screen cracked!

I'm a software engineer as well guy, and never in my near 20 years in the industry have I had to deal with a production OS that has been this buggy for this long. No, nothing is ever perfect, but the gap between what people refer to as webOS' potential and its current state is fairly impressive and most certainly not the norm.

After having gone through 12 Pres on my 4-line plan, I can most certainly state that the issues existed both in the hardware AND software builds. Like I stated in my post, it's way past time to fix all of these "correctable" issues.

I can live with the unfinished state of Touchpad software but why is the device slow? That's really unacceptable. If you choose one problem with webOS it's that. With a fast CPU, lots of memory, the Touchpad is still slow at times. It makes me think there is inherently a problem with webOS. Is that because so much of webOS is based on web technology? And if it is, then having another hardware manufacturer won't help. Any software people want to comment? Is this correctable by software optimization?

The likely problem is the choice of Javascript as an underlying development platform. Javascript is single threaded, assuming most modern cpu's handle 2 threads per cpu, a dual core could conceivably handle 4 active threads concurrently.

Javascript does not allow for multithreading, so all the logic and presentation code is jumbled together. The same thing happens with Adobe Flash since actionscript is not multithreaded, you get lag and stuttering doing seemingly simple things because in the end the program cannot spread logic and presentation over multiple handled threads. If something gets called in a synchronous fashion, meaning it blocks execution until it finishes, literally everything else in that program waits.

I think Palm's mistake was backing Javascript as it's main SDK platform, and instead they should have focused on natively implementing widgets in the PDK. This would have made all the apps compiled and thread capable.

Obviously I'm speculating here, but I feel like when HP purchased Palm, they told them they wanted Palm to start rebuilding webOS for tablets, Palm had mostly engineers familiar in designing UI in Javascript/HTML because of the prior focus in Mojo, they decided to try and correct certain problems that stem from dynamic languages by smartly designing Enyo with certain goals in mind. For instance, since dynamic applications are not compiled, the execution time is always going to be slower than the equivalently optimized compiled application, so they designed Enyo to be faster at loading than it's Mojo counterpart, but it doesn't change the fact that webOS will likely always feel slower than iOS.

It would attract more iOS developers already familiar with Objective-C. Learning Javascript takes just as much time and talent as these other languages but the payoff is less, bugs are easier to introduce since you lose things like compiler checking, and in the end things are generally slower.

Moreover, why design an SDK around something your browser already essentially does? iOS has the ability to run web apps on it's safari browser, which works just fine, why invent an SDK that is javascript, when you already have a browser sitting on your platform. Especially since the PDK is right there. I think in the end this was a huge gamble made during the 'web 2.0' era when it looked like javascript was going to dominate the world. It's not too late though, HP could probably implement a PDK version of enyo and start slowly migrating apps over. It's just a great example of continual bad decisions.

I'd love someone from developer relations to refute this, because learning about platforms is fun to me, but I doubt they really could/world. But as a parting question, let me ask you this, Do you think that the cards in webOS are rendered using the PDK or Mojo/Enyo? Notice how nice and smooth those are, how wonderful to use? I rest my case...

Just pointing out the for webOS, the SDK came before the PDK. Palm's initial gamble did not seem to include a desire for "native" applications...at least not until things changed and they started wanting to get iOS games on the platform.

Well, I think they assumed that 'web developers' those mythical and elusive creatures would jump at the chance of making apps for the platform, but in the end the api's are just so behind iOS and Android that anything more involved than doing some web service calls, storing data to a db, or using the accelerometer just isn't very possible. Which again brings up the obvious, they are putting in functionality before the SDK can even use it since they have to write wrapper code for javascript to integrate with the likely C based apis those chips require.

You do not want devs writing multi-threaded code. Most developers don't write multi-threaded software correctly. I've been doing it for years and I still make mistakes. Splitting the UI rendering and app logic onto separate threads, if left exposed to the developers, often results in "business logic" running inside the UI rendering and event thread, which is a huge no-no.

If you really must multi-thread within your app, there's probably support in the compiled C libraries, but you really REALLY don't want entry-level apps to have to worry about that stuff.

The operating system, however -- in this case the Linux kernel -- is written by people who understand multi-threading very, very well. While your Javascript app may not have access to spawning new threads, that does NOT mean that all of the Javascript apps are running on the same core; the OS handles that. Furthermore, throwing more threads into an application doesn't make it automatically faster so it's not a quick-fix solution to anything.

Finally, a key point here is that while the "main" thread of the code in Javascript is single-threaded, it's built upon an *asynchronous* event model -- with callbacks and closures and the like. This means that when you call a system function, your code does not stop and wait.

The OS is free to implement that system function however it wishes, including spawning new threads, without the application knowing or caring how it gets done. All the Javascript app knows is when it's request has finished... in the meantime it can actually go and do other things. Eventually, it will run out of things it can do before it needs the response from the system call.

tl;dr... Just because Javascript is single-threaded doesn't mean that you're unable to use the potential of multi-core processors. And always remember that your app is never the only thing that needs the CPU time, even if it's the only open card.

I guess I should be clear I'm not advocating we put the responsibility on regulars dev's to manage this. I spent awhile using Open MP and can safely say I'll never get that hair back. Still though, if the calls are truly async, nothing in the UI should be blocked.

...it is all that burden of unfulfilled "potential", that bogs that tablet dude down. It is really difficult to bear, I am telling you.

@taharka: i guess you don't work on a Windows machine. because that's been buggy and crashing since version 3.x layered on top of DOS. some people even try to convince themselves that vista was just a bad dream :).

keep in mind that we're also dealing with a major overhaul of the OS here and a lot of the apps that were reviewed are even complete rewrites from the ground up.

yeah, especially all these missing BAREBONE basic ones (Calc, Todo, anything that you could put your wireless keyboard to some use, apart from dog-slow and inappropriate Notes...). My gosh, "missing apps" section of the review is just outrageous, if you compare that with the asking price? It's but a joke.

I am asking here, HP, where are all these "bucketloads of cash", "doubling down on webOS", that is supposed to be happening?

How the feck you are expecting independent developers to port their apps to Enyo, if you do not even bother YOURSELVES to do so, and in what timeframe, pardon me?

Pathetic.

The calc is especially egregious because HP currently makes a very decent Calc app for iOS.

Reading this review, it's painful to see that the majority of things wrong with the Touchpad are things people complained about months ago and hoped would change. Either that or they're things anyone sane could've figured out were important, such as making the app catalog the most refined piece of software on the thing.

I know how easy it is for department heads and VPs to ignore a band of unpaid rabid fans, but we've been watching and analyzing this platform for a lot longer than you guys have. We've been doing it for years: staying up day and night, thinking about what could be done, trying our best. Why not listen to us online?

We might as well start up a drinking game - every time someone posts an editorial in hopes HP will address an issue with their hardware or WebOS, let's take a drink if HP winds up completely ignoring it. Of course, that's not really much of a game then, since everyone will be walking away smashed every time.

Maybe if we were saying crazy things like "Make a 12-inch 3D screen tablet with a built-in projector!" it would make sense not to listen to us, but most of us bloggers and forum posters and journalists are just talking common sense. Which, apparently, the people coming up with the WebOS roadmap seem to lack.

Let's be honest - HP, do you even *have* a WebOS roadmap, or are you just figuring things out as you go, hoping it'll work out if you throw enough money behind it?

Actually I'm surprised. HP seems to realize it because they're thinking of licensing out webOS to other manufacturers.

I have a lot more faith Samsung (or LG, HTC, or Motorola if they get on board) will put something out MUCH MUCH better than what HP/Palm ever did.

Samsung, LG, HTC, and Motorola are putting out dual core devices for Android. Imagine what would happen if they got those 4 on board and they competed with each other to put out the best hardware and HP concentrated ONLY on making webOS less buggy and making top notch apps for it?

I can see webOS being a huge hit. Of course this hinges on a few things

1) Samsung, HTC, LG, and Motorola (or at least 2 of them) have to be on board.

2) HP has to be able to fix webOS's bugs. I'm not convinced they can yet.

3) HP has to have a good quick and large team of developers creating versions of the most used apps. Honestly you can have an app store of 500 apps and that's more than enough PROVIDED all 500 are quality and useful apps.

I'm not sure. The TouchPad hardware is disappointing, but no because of the internal hardware, the software is its biggest problem, why would Samsung pick a buggy OS over a non-buggy OS?

My 40+ years of experience with HP products has no outstanding evidence of them (or any big corporation) going out of their way to "listen" to users. They may say they listen but what they do depends more on the effect it has on their bottom line. I've liked webOS from the beginning but it has so much turmoil around it, the love affair may be ending the next time I have to get my Pre I replaced for some kind of unrepairable problem. (The last two of three were replacements.) On top of that I need a new battery. Any suggested sources along those lines?

a few updates will fix any bugs just like they did on the pre and the homebrew community will do wonders with this bad boy yayyyyyyyyyyy im getting it is it july 1st yet

PC World has THREE bad reviews going at once on their sight. Not one review not two reviews but THREE BAD REVIEWS all at once.

Sometimes I think Apple spends a good deal of its billions paying off reviews to slam other products and praise Apple products.

Not even the sense that perhaps the product under-performed?

That maybe some long standing issues still aren't fixed? Nothing the reviews have said are surprising to anyone who's used a webos phone.

Yet you think it's purely payola?

That or they spend a good deal of their billions making good products and some other companies don't.

Let's not jump to conspiracy theories. The most likely explanation is the Touchpad isn't very good. I mean honestly

1) It's bulky compared to the competition.
2) It's battery life under performs, it's the second worst I think just ahead of the Xoom.
3) It's buggy. Look at review videos. The engadget video showed QuickOffice hanging. I saw another video where the guy tapped the calendar app and it took 20 seconds for the calendar to load.
4) The apps aren't all that. Sure some of the Enyo touchpad apps are fantastic, but did you see the emulator view for the other apps? Terrible.
5) It's not as quick or responsive as the iPad2 or the Galaxy Tab 10.

Honestly it's just not a good product. It runs an OS that has a huge amount of potential, but as of this moment still has a way to go and it remains to see if it'll ever get there. I've lost a lot of faith in HP/Palm.

Looking at the videos of it performing, I'd probably get it over the Playbook, but I'd rather have an iPad2 or a Galaxy Tab 10, or even an HTC Flyer before I get this. Luckily for me I have no interest in a tablet at this time. Say what you will about Apple and their closed ecosystem... they still release a product that's far more polished.

To be fair, I hate the emulator view of non-iPad apps as well. So that one is a strike for both webOS AND iOS. I do agree with the rest of your post however.

In this review and in the Engadget review they complain about lack of document editing. If the Touchpad is so good at the web why can't you use Google Docs? No one seems to have mentioned it, what's the deal?

1) need a connection to work
2) security

Google docs, by Google's admission, is not secure.

BestBuy.com's TouchPad page lists both QuickOffice (doesn't mention minor detail of read only!) and Google Docs for the device. Promising...

Well with these reviews definitely will try and out before I buy. Also with the no announcement of the Pre 3 ala no Touch to Share yet may skip both and get an IPad 2 and Nokia n9. Multi flow on the ip4 will have to do I guess as far as cards go. Will put the Pre 2 on eBay I guess or keep just to wait and see 

Great review. Based on this I will not cancel my preorder. Web browsing will be it's primary task for me.

Thanks for writing such a comprehensive review.

@john3976 ... You don't know Apple at all. They don't worry about other companies (unless they rip off their IP). Apple is constantly in competition with Apple. It's been this way for years.

I'm really disappointed about lacking the amazon music store, no google task, or calculator. I really hope these things get added in later.

I was given the opportunity to unbox the demo unit at my store because of my love for webOS. I showed the surrounding employees how to use it effectively, rapid fired my way through apps, changed the brightness, Just Typed a Google search and the music player and flicked half the cards away (that I stacked of course)... In seconds. As an avid iPad & iPhone user, I basically stated I could've launched a website in safari within those seconds and thats about it.
The demo was quick and responsive but I do have to say the card view button (or slit thing) was quite annoying to use and turned a lot of people off as they thought the tablet was lagging but they just didn't hit the button dead center.
Also, the weight and form factor will ultimately kill a lot of would-be buyers IMHO.. The thing is a tank, but it doesn't feel like one as it is plastic..
I hope the next iteration is slimmer and made out of something less cheap.
Bring on the Pre 3!

I played with a TouchPad at the Overland Park, KS Best Buy today. I was impressed with the speed and the build quality seemed sturdy BUT I noticed one thing. Sound was only playing from ONE speaker? The manager had left the area so I was unable to pursue this issue further. Overall, I was impressed with the device but it does seem to be missing some apps as discussed in the review. I will buy one but I'm waiting for the 3G model.

Wanted a home run, got a single. The speed of the fixes will tell if they get to second base.
I'm not canceling my order, but the life of an early adopter is not for the meek.

this would be more like a walk after the pitcher hit you.

good one...

Given that they clearly didn't knock it out of the park and it's in many ways a beta release, missing a lot of features/apps and other apps only half-baked, why are they charging the same as the iPad 2?

only so that they can drop the price and come up with some pr spin to make it seem like that was not the plan all along

I think the touchpad is more than single. Maybe double. But I'm a bit disappointed by restrained reviews. Maybe I'll wait till first update comes out and reassess.

I am ready. It didn't sound bad. Most every downfall was something I could live with, and will probably be remedied soooon. Especially with a device that is so new (so new in fact, it isn't even out yet), it will be watched like a vulture by HP, and will be promptly 'fixed' with an update. The biggest gripe was the lack of a real text editor....I guess I will just be running Evernote in the browser...? Maybe GoogleDocs in the browser as well...? I dunno. I will manage. I just want the damn thing.

" it will be watched like a vulture by HP, and will be promptly 'fixed' with an update. "

..oh yeah? They have released half-baked product, after all the talk how aaaawesome & perfect it is going to be, only to fix it "promptly" (like "in the coming months"?)

No matter how hard I try, can't see any logic in what you say. Truth is, they have FAILED, and haven't done this on purpose, to annoy the reviewers and early adopters, only to surprise them all two weeks down the line with "prompt" fixes.

Gosh, if only wishful thinking could fix issues with the subject of the wishes, webOS would be freaking light years ahead of alien technology!

I seen enough that I liked to get it. Plus I'm ok with size and weight of it. Just need some OS updates and of course more apps.

What an extremely in depth review!

I will be picking up a 32gb touchpad on friday because this device mirrors the pre launch perfectly. Mixed hardware, few apps, beautiful OS, and tons of potential. Only this time, the potential is backed by an already prepared crew of homebrewers and the goliath that is HP.

Although my pre is a good bit behind the competition in a few regards, it's so far ahead in others. Stacked cards and just type might just forever keep me from any other operating system. Although I'm no app glutton, having a large amount of apps is important to me, and right now my pre is only missing a few to keep me from bliss (Rdio, Tiny Wings).

It seems like the launch of the touchpad is a way of doing over the launch of the pre, but with a tablet instead of a phone.
After the first leap of faith with Palm, I'm ready to jump just as far knowing that HP can provide a much larger parachute.

...thank you for your encouraging input, mister HP! We are all missing another round of "potentially" great experience on new round of (not even "potentially" great) webOS hardware, this time with even MORE missing core applications!

But being aware this time around it is "backed" by HP's billions, and homebrewers/developers (who are abandoning webOS in spades, or do not express interest in porting their current apps to Enyo, until they see something at least remotely sane from HP), and which trend will only accelerate with every epic fail that HP pulls out, will make me feel SOOO much better, this egalitarian feeling is worth much more than full app catalog or few hundred bucks price hike over BETTER specced competition hardware.

I think I'm going to wait for the TouchPad 2. It's going to twice as nice.

Agreed, the current TouchPad is not ready for primetime at all. CNET killed it in their review.

Assuming of course there is one..

How did CNET kill the Touchpad in their review?

Didn't they sum up their review by giving the Touchpad 3.5/5 stars (very good)? Xoom and Galaxy Tab 10.1 got the same rating. Ipad 2 ONLY got a half star more...and it's a SECOND generation device!

Small point. It does not matter if the iPad 2 is second, third or forty-fifth generation. What matters is that it is the CURRENT generation.

Agreed, one is supposed to compare Touchpad 1 with ipad 2. And no arguments that ipad 2 is better than Touchpad. But how much better? 0.5 stars better according to CNET (which supposedly "killed" the Touchpad)? Don't you expect a bigger distance between a veteran product (this is where the "generation" comes in) and a newbie?

Ultimately, the point is that CNET's rating isn't bad...is no worse than the rating for Xoom or Tab. And that is a good start for Touchpad.

Just like there were people (and still are) buying iPhone on AT&T despite the numerous call drops and sometimes unreliable data connection, so will there be webOS enthusiast (like myself) that will buy the TouchPad irrespective of all these reviews; be it negative or positive.

I bought an iPad because that was the only tablet on the market. After a few weeks with an Android phone, I went back to my beat up Pre- and later did the Pre Plus conversion.

I have own an iOS, Android and webOS device. Overall, webOS gets the job done for me and that's why I will be getting a TouchPad and sell my iPad.

I remember when the first iOS device launched, it didn't even have Copy and Paste or any type of multitasking or app-freeze state, but look at iOS now.

Here is to hoping webOS keeps getting better in a league of it's own.

Once you truly fall in love with webOS...it's hard to say good buy.

webOS till it D.I.E!

"(...)so will there be webOS enthusiast (like myself) that will buy the TouchPad irrespective of all these reviews;"
...yeah, all three hundred and twenty seven of them. Gosh, HP should priced them TouchPads $20,000 a piece, they would make some handsome money, instead of selling themselves so cheap.

"Once you truly fall in love with webOS...it's hard to say good buy."
Yeah indeed, good _BUY_ it isn't....

Violent games have their own category?

Surely as some sort of parental control thing...

Dear Derek,

As usual you went all out in your review....you were fair, open, frank and balance.

As usual, I want to thank you for your hard work...

take care all,

Jay

I care more for the big screen and its Beast OS aka WebOS!
---to PC boyz, So much for gettin people excited about the product! Cry babies!

with this review, there should be no complaints if you proceed to buy the touchpad.

With the market moving this fast, HP will not get a second chance. Leo, it sounds like you blew it.

Kind of disappointed. Was really hoping for more out of the box. But with anything, wise to wait for next gen hardware. I wont be fooled twice. I guess since I bought a mac book pro for 2 grand a few months back, it would be foolish to not get a Ipad 2.

I love it... I predicted that this tablet would be an overpopulated bug circus, and I was right. I'll wait a year until this thing is going on ebay for $100, then I'll buy it.

You all have to credit in that, even though Palm was bought by HP, the Palm team is still a large part of what is going into the software. They just have the extra push of HP being on there butt about getting it right, and I truly believe that's what they are going to do. Like all things it might take some time, and I'm not going to go through the whole 'unkept promises' thing, those were Palm's promises not HP's. Look into the future on this, it can only get better from here.

The criticism came in many forms. There were things that could not be fixed, like size and the lack of a second camera. Let's face it, it is what it is and while the competition has them this iteration of the TouchPad does not. If it's a priority the it's not for you.

Then there was criticism about things that were stated will be fixed in app updates like document editing. While it's a feature that should have been in from day one it's not like you will be without the feature for long and you were warned. If you can wait it's no problem because it will go away.

Finally, there are the damning criticisms. The software bugs the inconsistent performance and the instability. Yes, these will be fixed in 3-6 weeks but they blow the perception of quality from day 1. There is no excuse for it. This is simply being lazy and not caring. That is a poor thing to do in an new product introduction. How do you convince someone that it will get better when there was no indication of a problem from the start.

While reviews are now an art form these days it would be nice to see someone besides Apple get it right from the release.

You speak the truth. Judging by the similar release quality of the original pre, I am going to have to say that WebOS just isn't a great OS after all. If a tech behemoth like HP can't get it right, then nobody can with Webos!

how quickly they forget...no cut&paste until recently, the can't hold the iphone 4 with your left hand was pretty big mainly because it was a hardware issue and can't be fixed by any update.

with software, no one gets it "right" from the release. that's why the put version numbers :).

but i agree with most of the people here...the reviews didn't make me want to go out and stand in line on friday. but i doubt hp will stop here. they've invested way too much. maybe the touchpad was a victim of organization alignment because it kinda looks like a product from the team that makes the cheaper HP laptop lines. i can't wait for touchpad 2 when the envy team starts designing the hardware. didn't that re-org happened a while back? so maybe they're already working on a "touchpad envy" or even a "pre envy".

The envy team would do great with a tablet. I know it's kind of cutthroat, but HP really just needs to fire everybody on the original Palm team. They haven't produced anything competitive.... Ever.

I know that no one get's it right from the release, but Palm has had 2 years to get it right, and they still fall short.

I don't understand why some people are "waiting for the 3G version" when you could easily use your phone as a mobile hotspot. Usually when I'm computing it's in a wifi friendly zone. If I'm not in a wifi zone...switch on the hotspot with my pre plus baby...or future pre 3 :) If only they would give away these products based on pure devotion...I'd have a few hundred bucks still in my savings after July 1st.

ccc

Great review.

I've been on the fence about the Touchpad, but I really wanted it to change my mind. I wanted to be amazed. Instead, I'm just sad and disappointed. So much potential, unfulfilled.

I'll definitely look at it again in a couple months, after HP has put out an update (if they haven't - well, that would say a lot right there) and WebOS Internals has worked their magic. But right now there are just so many things not right, it doesn't make sense.

The lack of an app for writing is especially a killer for me. I could really use a compact, lightweight writing tool with 6+ hour battery life. That syncs to my PC. Microsoft Word would be even better - though I'd even be quite happy with something that just let me edit .rtf files.

I do hope that HP has been holding the Pre 3 back to let the Touchpad get all the attention, and now they will surprise us with the news in the next week or two.

I am going to make another prediction that the touchpad NEVER gets doc editing capabilities.

What does this device have going for it anyways? I mean they still haven't figured out an elegent way of transferring music, the Facebook app is sub-par, Twitter is non-existent, the app catalog is understocked and video chat sucks! What have the engineers at HP been doing for the past year??

Apple has better hardware and software at a much lower price. Much lower.

I guess I'll wait and see what happens.

I was really looking forward to the touchpad being a home run for palm. This review is just downright depressing for me to read.

Of course Apple's hardware is better. The Ipad is the inspiration for the touchpad (which almost matches but undershoots on similar build quality of the original Ipad).

Samsung was able to go back to the drawing board and come up with a competitive model within weeks of the Ipad 2 release. Hp should have come up with something revolutionary in the 4 months that they have had since announcing this product. Instead they were apparently playing with themselves.. Accomplishing nothing useful. They couldn't even work out the ridiculous software bugs in all that time.

All the time they've got their mouthpieces, Richard Kerris, and Leo Apotheker filling our ears with hot air about how amazing and bright the future in webOS land is going to be.

Empty words. The best thing that could happen to this OS is Samsung purchasing a licence to flash it onto their hardware. Until that day comes, I will stick with my battered pre-, and Ipad.

Unlike Samsung, HP kept the original Palm team, minus everyone who jumped off the burning ship that was Palm. So from an already small team, HP kept an even smaller part of that. And they were very, very slow to add to that team. Unlike Samsung, this team can't work on the timescale of weeks. Ask some developers around here, especially DanPLC. When you deal with developers relations, you have to be prepared for a turnaround time in terms of weeks, not days, and you have to be prepared for your problem to not be resolved for months.

HP has done nothing to turn "in the coming months" to "in the coming weeks" at all. The webOS team is still vastly understaffed, vastly unprepared to take on iOS and Android and be "number one plus". A long serires of disappointments ends in an epic disappointment tomorrow.

If anyone talks about the number of apps, they should read todays Dilbert :)

"With a software update or two, the first of which HP has told us is in progress, and a filling out of the App Catalog, the TouchPad COULD BE a legitimate contender in the tablet space."
...the story of webOS: it is always "it COULD BE, and never it IS.

"HP’s still making their case, and if there’s anybody with the power, expertise, and connections to make a successful tablet, HP and webOS could be the winning combination."
...this is to put it in different words, that as of now, they are a LOOSING combination, yes? Blimey, and I thought that "HP will not release a product that is not perfect", to quote their own corporate parrots.

This is how it is worded in plain English (review by Engadget, which is actually read and written not by fans of a specific brand, but general tech enthusiasts):
Engadget: TouchPad review
"If the Pre 3 were out today and if the TouchPad were $100 less we could
maybe see giving it a go, if only to root for the underdog. But, as it is,
you have to put your heart and two decades worth of Palm obsession ahead of
any buying rationale. With such compelling alternatives readily available,
that's asking rather a lot."

...I know everyone hates people who are sayin' "I've told you that", but I have told you that

...now, you just wait until they realize that thing is not selling at all. And their obvious conclusion will be not that they **** pricing, timing, developer relations, marketing & hype for consumers, and in general, fecked up evcerything along the way they possibly could (and few impossible things as well), because that would mean someone in that Godzilla of a company would need to take responsibility. No, they will all came up to the comfortable conclusion, that that webOS thing is not that great at all, consumers do not really want it, and better focus on something we know how to do, which is to install Microsoft's OSes (be it WinMo or Win8) on the hardware we ("we", as in our far-east factories) manufacture.

You just wait - I am telling you now. In a year's time from now, I will be telling you: "I told you that"

:P

(and let the thumbs-down feast begin - OMG, there's shrewd of reasoning in my post!)

These are the same guys that said they would not announce a product if it was not weeks away from release, and the same guys that thought a $50 mail-in rebate on the most expensive Touchpad would be "making things right", so I don't put much stock into anything they have to say, especially the whole "perfect before ship" thing.

...I would bet the majority of the 32GB sales will be the fan-boys who thought HP actually made things right.

...well if something truly extraordinary is not going to happen (like some genius stroke marketing campaign - but can't predict any, from the looks of it...), NOBODY will buy them TouchPads, apart from few thousands that have voted "YES" on that very site couple of weeks ago. As simple as that.

The "launch" is already screwed up (haven't seen/heard of ANY significant marketing push). It makes me think, if there is single word to be believed coming from HP, because we apparently should expect "the biggest marketing campaign in the history of Hewlett-Packard". May I ask where it is happening, that "great" campaign?

No thumb down...but you are a making prediction based on what??? Looks like your prejudices of large corporations.

You're not Nostradamus here. You have a 50/50 chance of getting the answer right. Color me not impressed.

I do not think HP will not give up after their first iteration. They've invested I would estimate about $2B in launching the latest webOS devices. If they are not an instant hit, $2B is a lot to write down. No, I believe they will continue to throw more money at it....because that is also what large corporations do :), especially if they've deemed that this project has incubator protection. That is, they are not expecting an immediate profit for the first two years. That is what my corporation does when they think a new project has "potential". From the get-go, they assume massive losses for their investment that will be recouped several years down the road.

"You have a 50/50 chance of getting the answer right"
...I daresay my chances of being right on that are much higher than 50/50, unfortunately. And I am not looking into crystal ball, I am just looking what they are doing, what competition is doing, so no need for the "inner eye".

"I do not think HP will not give up after their first iteration."
It is not as important question, as if anyone else will not give up on THEM, as it is happening right now?

So, why it is they are throwing away these billions, by doing totally the opposite things they should have been doing? Another theory, that they messing things up in same "grand plan", or just because they can afford it (financially, that is, I do not think webOS can afford many more grand mistakes, if any)? Why do not make RIGHT things, right moves, to be a part of that "grand plan"?

My theory is simpler: they do not have a clue what they are doing in Mobile market, independent OS market. And this is not just theory, it is a FACT, proven by their feckup after feckup after another huge feckup.

Hello, dear user/developer, be prepared for a marathon of feckups! We are HP, we can afford it, so we will do that. Makes sense, nah?

Biggest companies in IT business have fallen, or fade into insignificance in my living memory. Other have risen in their place. Being big, or biggest doesn't make you impervious to your own (barking) mistakes.

Thank you for tuning in, ladies and gentlemen.

No, it is a 50/50 chance. The answer is yes or no..no matter how much data you think is "on your side", it will always be a 50/50 shot. You sound like a gambler. Someone who thinks they have the inside track and then gets burned. I can say "yes" with no data to back me up and I have a 50% chance of being right.

Your simpler theory boils down to "I know what they should be doing and because they aren't they are blowing billions". I hate to break this to you but just because it is your pet theory does not make it right.

Could they have done things different up to this point? Yes. But that doesn't mean they're wrong to execute their business plan (yes, assuming they have one) the way they've been doing.

I tell you something - let's just wait another year, and see where this "marathon" (unfortunately, lead by other players, moving at twice the HP's speed) will leads us, OK?

Probability "theory", such naively simplified ad absurdum, aside (if they were throwing a coin, they would have 50/50 chances, but I think we can agree that the process they are implementing is "slightly" more complicated than this, thus this simplistic view of fail/success as 50/50 is just ridiculous).

As of date, they haven't show or done ANYTHING yet, that would propel webOS in the "right direction", they are pulling one mistake after another. Every one of them mistakes, narrows already slim chances of survival for webOS. So much for your 50/50.

Now, let's stop talking obvious nonsenses, and just see where this trainwreck of TP is heading, and what HP will do about it, when it hit the wall, inevitably.

The Pre had "oodles of potential", look where it's at now. I'll wait for TPv2.

P.S. Pre3 on Sprint please!

"P.S. Pre3 on Sprint please!"
...hey did you missed that point they are makin all the time: "it is a marathon, and NOT A SPRINT!!!"
Why you guys never listen :)))

Have the feeling this is just like the pre- launch: half finished hardware and software intended as a beta test for products to come.

Then the famous "coming this summer" "coming in 2011" .... whatever

Not dealing with it anymore after Pre- nightmares

I'm getting one for sure. The only thing that gives me the slightest bit of pause is the fact that the Pre3 isn't out at the same time the TouchPad is. Otherwise, I don't have another tablet, even though I want one, and I love webOS so this will fill my 2 needs. I'm sure that once HP gets the software updates and apps rolling out, the TouchPad will end up being a worthy competitor in the tablet space.

A good review from PC Magazine: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2387560,00.asp

I think a lot of you complain way to much. Apple is not perfect and their products lack a lot of things others have but their fans back them and don't sit around bashing them on every product they put out even when those products really are not near being the best.

You better start supporting HP with WebOS or they will just pull the plug and one day all you are going to have is Apples walled garden and will only be allowed what Steve Jobs thinks you need or want.

This never ending complaining does no one any good. Reading this comment section I would turn away from WebOS and run as fast I could if I was new and searching for a product.

I have to hand it to Apple and their fan base they do stick together while all the rest just tear each other apart crying and moaning about the products of their brand.

The reason we complain so much, is because we wish we could have Apple's devotion to quality with the openness of WebOS.

HP/Palm have repeatedly taken too long to get their products to market, and when they finally do release a product that we expect to be amazing (considering the time it took to cook), it without fail, manages to be under par.

Apple consistently releases revolutionary products, in a timely manner. We secretly envy that. Although Apple's products are not always perfect, the small imperfections that they have are usually negligible, not to mention, are usually quickly patched.

We just want our company to deliver... For once.. Just once, make us happy. Then we will go back to being the greatest fans on earth.

I unfortunately have to agree. It seems as though Apple is the only company that can truly execute on Hardware and Software with any consistency. :-(

wow, Bdot.. Actually agreeing with me. I never thought I'd see the day!

"This never ending complaining does no one any good"

Yes it does. Squeaky wheel gets the grease.

I think what you may be referring to is not complaints but items you consider give bad publicity to the Touchpad to the general public. If all the public hears is bad publicity then they won't buy it and the TP is DOA.

While I agree with your viewpoint, those of us that are not trust fund babies or welfare queens will be plunking down some hard earned cash and deserve a good product. I've pre-ordered my Touchpad at Best Buy but I do expect HP to correct all the software issues and then add enhancements.

Compared to webOS Roundup's coverage, Precentral's coverage is pretty underwhelming, boring even. If I only read Precentral's take, I would not buy the Touchpad, but webOS Roundup's take really makes me want to buy the Touchpad.

Great job **** up again, Precentral. I guess with backlon gone your best days are behind you.

WebOS Roundup is where you go if you don't want the truth. Precentral gives you an unbiased opinion on what's up.

WebOS Roundup is where you go if you are mature adult that doesn't whine all the time. Whose believes in, things that takes time. it's a working progress.

So, in essence, what you are saying is that WebOS roundup is where all the people go, who don't want to accept the fact that their beloved company can't produce decent hardware to save their lives?

I'm getting the feeling that such people care more about the brand than the quality. That's cool.. If that's what you are interested in.

I have seen 6 reviews slamming the TP and the P|C review seems very honest and thorough. If you find a good review and want to put all your support behind it that's fine, but don't go bitching about P|C because they didn't blindly follow.

WebOS and Palm fans are used to less than stellar reviews, but the OS is so good, we expect MORE. We are not even getting close to what is expected and that is hugely disappointing.

I was an early adopter - and still a loving parent - of the Pre Minus. I'm buying the TP because I need this size screen and capacity for several planned trips. I have no intention of switching to apple or android, so getting the TP is the choice for me. It will do for me what I need, and like the Pre-, get updates to increase product quality. If not, once the next hardware version comes out, I'll run back to BBY with my hopefully near-pristine TP and use my buy back dollars toward the next one.

Get a case and keep your friend's toddlers away!

This is DAMN DEPRESSING!

I fault HPalm from the get go by trying to match specs and not exceeding them! The TP has the same price point with the appearance of being a under-performer and that is just ******* sad.

If the design was better (not plastic), and the specs were easily recognized as being superior, they could afford to weather the storm of missing apps and future optimizations ect. But of course they didn't and now it's a new waiting game for the next failed iteration.

There should be a lot of firings going on around HPalm.

I am an ME major who still has a year and a half left of school. I have no experience in the field, but I think I could have designed a better quality product.

I can't even believe that they have blundered another great opportunity.

HP - The small things are what make the huge difference!!! You seem to have forgotten this.

I don't understand, if there's no supporting these products, then it won't grow. and if you don't care and you see failure in there roadmap, then you are a dumb one, stupid i might say or you are a failure for sticking around. people like you doesn't have any hope and faith. Hope and faith went out the door when it didn't meet your needs. So therefore you should of have been bounce to something else. How could you stick around here when you knew that it was going to fail. that makes you all a failure as well. You all that whinezzz are all failure. You let yourself down. Great Jobbbbbbb!!!!!!

I have no idea what you are talking about. We are all loyal fans waiting for a good product. Is it really unreasonable for me to expect competitive quality out of a product which is NOT competitively priced?? You really expect me to close my eyes and pay $500 for something that sucks?! Are you crazy?!

I need a good web browser, email, calendar, battery life, and multitasking. This is still the best tablet for my needs and i will be getting one once it comes out on ATT or whatever.

I'll keep posting this until I hear a response: Apple has massively dropped the price of their WiFi-only tablets to far below what HP is charging at intro. No way I'm paying a $200 premium for last year's device.

No way.

This can still be turned around and HP has the muscle to do it, but as I stated before, they aren't getting a very good start on it.

Yikes, yow, the folks who revel in negativity are astonishing. Whining masked as 'intelligence'. Phew. Find something positive in life to focus on, you'll feel much better.

Krute,

Thanks for your insight, I am now focusing on Ostriches. I feel much better with my head buried in the sand.

Thanks.

You really have to wonder who, exactly, is going to buy this device aside from the kinds of people who frequent this website. RIM, at least, has a large and loyal user base to market their mediocre device to. Are there really that many HP loyalists out there? I doubt it.

Enterprise customers? Do they not read the WSJ and NY Times before they buy hundreds of tablets? Productivity? By itself it isn't even a buzz-word. And it certainly looks like Touch to Share is a big fat URL sending gimmick. It's not a selling point.

So, again, who is going to buy this? Four million units per year my ****

Who knows? This licensing talk is interesting too. They want someone who will make webOS a priority. I can understand this coming from HP who of course made webOS a priority over its windows products. I mean you wouldn't even know that HP still sells PC's now just looking at their website right?

To be honest, the TouchPad will not sell especially well. However, if the price drops because of too much inventory I will pick one up with a Pre 3 in February for an upgrade.

Well if HP has taught us anything it's, "don't buy it now if you need a software update to 'make things right'"

I'm not in for a tablet, but if I were, I'd have to see what the TP v2 has to offer. There seems to be some basic things missing. Hopefully by the time I'm ready for a tablet these will be fixed.

I'm still waiting for features to appear on my Pre+ that my Centro and even my m100 had. (Crossing my fingers that the Pre3 will be better...)

Great review. Thanks for providing all the detail.

This is craziness: HPalm has somehow managed to be both too slow AND too fast in releasing the TouchPad. I don't see why they released it in this level of polish. They said "summer" a while back with no hard dates, and now they're getting slammed in reviews for having buggy software.

Buggy/laggy software, missing gestures/area, and thick/heavy hardware doesn't sound too appealing. Software will be fixed, I'm sure, but the hardware shortcomings can't. If they'd come out with this within a few months of the iPad, the HW might have been OK, but they're already a generation behind there.

Don't get me wrong, I really like using webOS. I just made a Sprint FrankenPre2 a few weeks ago and I'm really liking it so far.

I know I'm going to take a pass for now. Maybe the 7" tablet will be better.

I don't understand. What is so laggy and buggy about the software. Have you went out and tried it yet.

Lots of whining as usual. The PC Mag review is actually pretty positive. To the normal consumer, if I read that and was anti-Apple I'd pick up a TouchPad over the other tablets on the market. I think TouchPad will be fairly successful for hp, but we shall see.

Most disappointing thing is that Enyo and 3.0 was supposed to (in part) fix the lag and the bugs that fill 1.45 (I've got one!). I don't know why this hasn't happened.
I don't know if Jon Rubenstein and the Palm leadership team will survive this; I really don't. Whenever a new chief comes on the scene, there is a shakeup. It has already happened with some at HP. I imagine when the CEO reads these reviews (and he will) he is going to have some very pointed questions for the leadership at Palm as to why they released a product with this many bugs and seemed unfinished to so many reviewers. I know that I would. At this point, I'd be pretty tired of excuses if I was in charge at HP.
Someone has to take charge (someone akin to Steve Jobs at Apple) and make things happen. Someone who can get rid of the software bugs after 2.5 years (yes, we are that far into WebOS at this point). WebOS can suffer because it is not Apple, because it doesn't have enough apps, etc. It can compete or suffer on hardware depending on how they design it. But it can't have software bugs and it can't lag. As the reviewers have said, it kills the experience.
I don't understand the testing they do on these things. They should have given PreCentral a review unit 3 months ago (or some third party testers) and said, please review this, take it apart, and tell us what is wrong with it. The list would have been 5 pages from PreCentral, and then they could get the bugs fixed. Period. There are no excuses at this point. If you can hire Russell Brand to adverstise your product, you can hire software engineers to fix each one of these little bugs that are so annoying.
By the way, this isn't whining. I'm as big a fan of WebOS as anyone. It is because I like it so much that I want them to get it right. It is getting ridiculous at this point.
As Anand Lal Shimpi of Anandtech said when the Pre was released, if they fix the bugs and lag in this thing in six months, then he would be worried about Apple. It it took Palm longer than six months, then he would worry about Palm. It's taken 2 years and it is still not fixed, so I'm worried about HP. There are no excuses now. None.

It is a lot of whining, and a lot of "I'm still here." I'm thinking in particular of one of the "reviews" on ZDNET in which the reviewer gives a mediocre review (based on other available reviews) and then states that he hasn't actually used the Touchpad yet. How does the review even pass editorial scrutiny?

I've worked with the Media in the past on press releases, and if my experiences are representative of what really happens, what probably occurred here is that one mixed review is singled for its ability to sow controversy (the Media LOVES this), and everyone just copies it, sometimes word for word.

This Precentral review and the one over at WebOSRoundup are among the most balanced and well-written. And their message is the same, you are just going to have give the thing a testdrive to see if it fits your lifestyle.

I've noticed the same thing...the people with negative comments are basing them on what they've read. The people with positive comments are basing the on actually having used the device. Hope the table space at retail stores will help.