Touchstone Technology Expands: Exhibition, Touch-to-Share | webOS Nation

Touchstone Technology Expands: Exhibition, Touch-to-Share

by Dieter Bohn Wed, 09 Feb 2011 8:40 pm EST

HP's Touchstone technology got a bit more interesting today. We know the Touchstone as a convenient charging solution, but later this year it will encompass that and a few new features. We can't say we're entirely clear why the Touchstone brand is expanding the way it is, but if you're curious about what's coming down the pike, we're here to help.

The traditional Touchstone charging back is getting put on both the Pre 2 and the Veer. They'll be able to charge via the standard Touchstone charging dock.

What's new in this traditional setup is that webOS 2.x will be able to differentiate between different Touchstones. So when you set it on the Touchstone in your bedroom, it will see that as "Touchstone 1," the Touchstone in your office is "Touchstone 2," and so on (we ran out of time in our meeting before we could verify whether this worked with existing Touchstones or would require new, location-identifying Touchstones). This is important because the Exhibition feature in webOS 2.x will be able to display different glanceable information depending on which Touchstone you've set it on.

The Touchstone for the TouchPad is similarly straight-foward. Really, the only clever thing here beyond the location feature is that it's just-plain well-designed. You can set the TouchPad on the dock in landscape and portrait. Additionally, the TouchPad Touchstone has a great stand that not only works at pretty much any angle (including a comfortable typing angle) but also folds up into a fairly compact package.

Phone Touchstones won't charge the TouchPad - it requires more power than they can provide. The TouchPad Touchstone won't charge phones either and you'll be happy to know that they won't damage them.

Next up: The Touchstone brand is getting applied to the new Tap-to-Share feature. If you set a phone on the home button of a TouchPad, the currently open card will get 'transferred' to the phone so that you can continue your activity from Pad to Phone. It's not 100% clear what what apps are supported by Touch-to-Share, but at the very least we've seen it demoed on the browser. All that sharing, by the way, happens over Bluetooth.

Also new: Touchstone'd phones can send their calls and text-messages to the TouchPad, so you can make calls and answer texts on the larger device. This also happens over Bluetooth, if you were wondering, so make sure that your phone is docked to a Touchstone, you don't wander too far away with your TouchPad. We presume that Video Calling will happen direct over WiFi on the TouchPad - basically think of the TouchPad as a super-enhanced, crazy-big Bluetooth headset for docked webOS Smartphones and you get the idea.

Why relate this feature to Touchstone? Because it uses similar coils as the charging type.

And there you have it: Touchstone in 2011, explained.