HP has announced that the first ever webOS powered tablet, the TouchPad, will be hitting store shelves on both sides of the pond next month.
The computer giant has officially confirmed that the hotly awaited iPad 2 rival will finally land on July 1st in the US and in select European countries, including the UK, a few days later. However, the initial batch of the slate will only include the Wi-Fi only version, with the 3G and 4G models scheduled to arrive later in the year.
There’ll be two SKUs available at launch with 16GB and 32GB of storage retailing for £399 and £479 respectively. This means they would match the equivalent iPad 2 models exactly in pricing. Preorders will start on June 19th.
Alike and yet different
Like the iPad 2, the TouchPad will also offer a 9.7-inch display, although it’ll be thicker than Apple’s slate with dimensions closer to the original iPad.
However, the extra depth means there's room for a faster 1.2GHz Snapdragon dual core processor and twice the RAM at 1GB.
Elsewhere, there's a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera for video calls. But no rear-mounted snapper is onboard, which is a surprising exclusion.
Of course, the biggest difference is that it runs on the much-praised webOS operating system, created by Palm, which is now owned by HP since it was acquired last summer.
webOS, for those who don’t know, is a fully multitasking operating system that utilises a rather clever ‘card’ based metaphor to visually display running apps. It also features several unique features such as ‘Touch-to-Share’ which allows the TouchPad to communicate with upcoming webOS smartphones with a single touch, and takes voice and video calls directly on the device.
Another key USP of the TouchPad is that it will support both Adobe Flash and HTML5 with hardware acceleration, which should be a boon to users intent on experiencing both.
Stay tuned for more news and announcements regarding the TouchPad in the weeks to come.