HP has been aggressively promoting their webOS operating system, a competitor to Google’s Chrome OS/Android and the tablet version of Windows 8, so it was rather expected it would have a “surprise” appearance on their new tablet at Computex in Taipei.
Originally, webOS began as the successor to Palm OS and was demonstrated by Palm at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show. In 2010 HP purchased Palm and announced plans to further develop webOS on a variety of platforms, though under the HP brand. Recently, HP killed the brand for good by replacing Palm.com with HPwebOS.com.
Ultimately HP wants to make webOS the defacto standard across a variety of mobile platforms — from smartphones, tablets, and PCs — which is certainly a lofty goal.
The HP Touchpad runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core 1.2 GHZ processor, has a 9.7 inch touchscreen, and comes in 16, 32, or 64 GB models. The email client is similar to what is found on the iPad, using a three-column layout. If needed the third column can be swiped out of the way in a similar fashion to that of the iPad twitter client. HD video playback is supported, and the device supports MPEG-4, H.263, H.264 video formats.
Overall the webOS looks very slick and polished, but with the tablet market becoming ever more crowded HP will have to go to greater lengths to make the device stand out. The device looks good — but so do a dozen other devices.
Gadgets Magazine managed to get their hands on a demo unit and posted a pretty good video: