Since Apple redefines what a tablet ought to be with its iPad, many competitors rushed to introduce their non-existing tablets and claimed that they will be the next “iPad Killer”. Started off with Microsoft preempt announcement of their new “Slates” by HP running on Windows 7 over at CES2010 (I will come to HP later) which failed miserably. Next, RIM announced their yet to be release Playbook, followed by various players announcing their Tablets running Android. Samsung has a minor success with their Galaxy Tab. Basically as of this writing, Android Tablets are running a version of its smartphones siblings and are not truly designed for tablet until Honeycomb Devices are launch with the first announcement being made by Motorola XOOM.
By now, most of us have seen the demo of RIM’s Playbook, Android pre-Honeycomb devices and Motorola XOOM running on Honeycomb. While impressive with their choices of hardware and software features that try to outsmart the iPad, they lack any new innovations and basically trying to cramp features that most of us don’t care for or features that try to imitate iPad’s successes.
HP, in my opinion is smart enough to drop Windows 7 from its tablet strategy and bought PALM and together with it, the WebOS. Recently they have announced their new TouchPad using WebOS. While I can’t comment on the platform itself at this early stage, two features did caught my attention and I truly believe it to be an innovative idea that is different from the rest of the pack.
1) Touch and Go technology
If you own both TouchPad and Palm Pre 3 smartphone, you can basically sync the sites you are reading from the Tablet to the smartphone by touching the two together. This to me is a great feature to have. Imagine while reading some sites on the TouchPad and you decide to go away a while, and you can automatically continue reading it from your smartphone on the go. This feature also extend to phone calls and SMS if you decide to answer those on your Touch Pad.
2) Wireless Charging
While this technology is nothing new, you normally have to get an additional 3rd party charger attachment to your devices such as iPhones or iPad. And I am glad HP TouchPad is built-in with this feature although you have to purchase the additional dock. According to SlashGear once the TouchPad is on the dock it automatically kicks into an “Exhibition mode”:
That said, I think TouchPad still needs more refinement in order to play catch up with the iPad. The recent demo did show some sluggishness even when running on a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and I believe there are more fine tunings to be done prior to its release. One thing HP did get right is the inclusion of front facing camera and not the back facing camera like most other iPad competitors have. Back facing camera just don’t make sense and including it is like giving an additional feature that most users don’t care for. In order for TouchPad (and other platforms) to really have a chance to compete seriously with iPad’s phenomena success, they first must have a decent App Store and lots of software applications to support it. Without it, there can be no long term success.
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