HP TouchPad reviewed

Joshua Topolsky of This is my next reviews the $500 HP Touchpad. WebOS is very promising, he writes, but it's not competitive yet: "the stability and smoothness of the user experience is not up to par with the iPad or something like the Galaxy Tab 10.1, even if many of the underlying ideas are actually a lot better and more intuitive than what the competition offers. That, coupled with the minuscule number of quality apps available at launch make this a bit of a hard sell right now."


  1. What’s with the $500 price point on tablets. They are less capable than a notebook. The price should reflect that.

    1. One, they are using already established norms, e.g. iPad.

      Second, the market for tablets hasn’t been comoditized yet in the way computers are — They are as complicated as fully-sized laptops but the components, tooling, engineering currently cost more; You can either make a powerful tablet or a cheap tablet, the market hasn’t evolved to the point where you can make a cheap powerful tablet. Yet.

      We’re already seeing crops of cheap android tablets from China, but they are not powerful, like I said earlier. That will change though in a few more market cycles.

    2. Why are tablets more expensive than notebooks? Why are notebooks more expensive than desktops? Same thing.

      Smaller+Portable = Harder+More Expensive

  2. I’ve been playing around with programming for webos for a bit. If you’re a web developer it’s super easy to get into, but their documentation is a bit sparse at this point. Programming in javascript doesn’t appeal to me that much, but you can actually create a decent architecture if you desire. In any case the bar for developers is a lot lower than other platforms. This may be good and bad – I imagine there will be a lot of apps available in the near future, but the quality of code may be lacking in many.

  3. I got to play with a Touchpad the other night. While it’s not an iPad killer at v1.0, that’s not what HP is going after. Sounds like they’re going after Android and RIM, which is the smarter thing to do. And I think that they have a shot at it. As dolo54 says, the development model (HTML5, CSS and Javascript) has a low barrier-to-entry, and you can build some pretty nice-looking apps with it.

    I’m going to keep my eye on HP and webOS.

  4. The whole Palm-HP situation and the products coming out make me a bit sad…

    I was an early adopter of the palm pre – long time palm user. 6 replacement devices due to a faulty design (internal touchscreens were shattering spontaneously at the center face button). Thankfully by replacement #2 they had recognized it as a manufacturing defect and began replacing them for free. After the third one I just laughed about it, but co-workers compared my phone to a jaguar – always in the shop. Wasn’t a good way to build interest in the phone around the office :), I was the only pre user out of several hundred employees and -everyone- there knew it was constantly broken.

    Of course, the other option for a wannabe palm owner was the smaller Palm Pixi, effectively cutting it’s target market massively (I mean really, not many guys are going to buy a tiny phone with the word PIXI across the back).

    Hp took over, killed all further updates for my 18 month old “grandfather” of a phone (it’s currently running 1.1ghz and can easily handle the current OS, but you have to be a power user capable of creating a custom build of webos doctor in linux to do it – way outside the norm – HP effectively killed the phone). To make up for killing an update we’d been promised since -launch day- (flash capabilities etc), HP announced some decidedly not-groundbreaking new phones (an even tinier one – stupid, and a slightly bigger one that is in almost every single way inferior to current smartphone offerings and isn’t even out yet), and came out with this silly pad (think ipad only slower, laggier, pricier, and without any app catalog).

    Color me meh.

  5. I’m buying one. I’ve been wanting a Linux-based tablet device where access to root isn’t walled off by the manufacturer.

  6. I don’t get the criticism “coupled with the minuscule number of quality apps available at launch”

    My view on tablets is, a device to surf the net, read a book, listen to music, watch a film, read and answer short emails, go to facebook, show a short presentation… Is not a computer to do serious work

    How many millions of apps do you need? and how many of those you get in more “established” platforms are just fart simulators, skins for facebook, stupid games etc?

  7. Re Swangelok
    You are absolutely correct. You only need a few good apps. But if you only get a good app every thousands or so, the Touchpad will never make it. Think that you will get a higher rate of excellent apps than the iFanBois or Googlebots? Not without something decent to make a buzz for developers. I would love to know the uptake by the third of a million HP employees. I’ll bet it is low. Low enough to kill the product that they are gambling on. Go on, tell me that fifty per cent or more plan to have one by Christmas.
    If you are part of the cool crowd you have/desire an iPad. If you are a techy geek you go for an Android. If you think you are corporate you might even consider a Playbook. For the rest, there is plenty of Walmart $130 clones.
    So what market is HP aiming for?

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