Will HP TouchPad Kill the iPad?

Maressa Brown
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Today, HP announced the release of the Palm TouchPad, a tablet meant to rival the iPad. They'll also be coming out with two new smartphones, the Veer and Pre3

A little bit of history, in case you don't recall ... The Palm is that ancient personal digital assistant (PDA) released originally in the late '90s. Early models required a WAND. (So old school!) But, last April, Hewlett-Packard acquired Palm company for $1.2 bil. Now joined in technology matrimony, the Palm devices run an operating system called HP WebOS.

Ok, so that brings us to today, and the news that HP-slash-Palm wants to compete with Apple with a bunch of new fun, tech-y goodies due out this summer. Except, in order to be competitive, I guess they thought it best to drop the Palm part. None of the new devices feature the word -- just a plain silver HP logo. Simple, elegant, clean ... sounds suspiciously Apple-ish to me!

Well, unlike the current iPad, the TouchPad (what a creative name, right?) has a front-facing cam that makes it video chat-capable. But, of course, iPad 2.0 will likely tout the same feature, as do/will many other tablet devices, so that's no big whoop. Oh, plus the TouchPad's got nothin' on the Samsung Galaxy tablet, which has a cam on both sides, so you can take pictures with it. (Although, I still can't wrap my head around the concept of using your tablet to take photos. Doesn't that get a bit unwieldy?)

One advantage the tablet seems to have over other devices is the "Beats Audio technology," developed by Dr. Dre. (You know, those big, expensive, high-end headphones that have MONSTER AUDIO? Yeah, Beats By Dr. Dre. Or the High Performance In-Ear ones -- Heartbeats by Lady Gaga!) So, TouchPad promises to deliver "great sound through the built-in stereo speakers." Nice. But again, personally ... I wouldn't rely on a tablet for my music, either. But if you do, you might be more psyched for the TouchPad.

I have to say, the only thing that seems like anything worth raising your eyebrows at is the little guy, the Veer. It's one of the new smartphones from HP, and it's about size of a credit card. Seriously. It's 3.25 inches tall with a 2.6-inch touchscreen and slide-out keyboard. Reminds me of one of the jokes in Zoolander ... Didn't they have a teensy-weensy flip phone in that movie? Anyway, I'm not sure I would really want to spend much time looking at a credit card-sized screen, and I'd be afraid I'd lose it, but hey, for convenience sake, sounds kinda cool.

Bottom-line: Meh. If you're into HP products -- you use them at work or whatever -- you might want a Pre3, a Veer, or a TouchPad. For me, deciding on a tablet or smartphone to buy totally comes down to brand loyalty/comfort. I just don't see HP offering anything superior to Apple. Do you?

 

Image via HP.com

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