HP releases TouchPad tablet

Announced what seems like an eternity ago (but was in reality just back in February), HP finally released its TouchPad tablet today.

It’s the first tablet running the webOS operating system.

Reviews around the Web and elsewhere mostly put it behind the iPad 2 (it shares many of the same specs, although size-wise, it’s more akin to the original iPad), but on a par or slightly ahead of the myriad Android tablet devices.

Many of the reviewers praise the software (which in some areas still appears to be half-baked), but fault the TouchPad’s hardware, dinging it for being a scant 139 grams (not quite 5 ounces) heavier and a mere 4.9 mm (one-fifth of an inch) thicker than the iPad 2.

Reviewers are also knocking the fingerprint-magnet, piano-black plastic back, but how many iPads have you seen that are not in a case?

They’re also pointing out the lack of tablet-specific webOS apps
compared to the iPad — about 300 for the TouchPad compared to 100,000
for the iPad. However, reportedly there are only about 232 Android
tablet-specific apps available, and those tablets have been around for a
couple of months now (although thousands of Android apps will scale up
to fit the tablets’ screens).

It’s also is lacking a rear camera.

There
are some things the TouchPad apparently does better than the other
guys: It displays Flash, which the Android tablets generally do, but the
iPad does not; it multitasks very easily; and does most tasks
wirelessly, including being able to charge wirelessly via the optional
Touchstone charger.

It’s also capable of pairing with certain webOS phones for sharing capabilities.

The
TouchPad is Wi-Fi only (for now, a cellular-networked version is in the
works) and is available in 16GB ($499) and 32GB ($599) configurations.

San Jose Mercury News tech columnist Troy Wolverton gave the HP TouchPad a 7 out of 10. You can read his review here.