Testing out the HP Touchpad and WebOS

First off I have to send out a big thank you to HP for sending all the contestants in the VMworld Blogger Reality Show a great new toy to test out.  I was pleasantly surprised when I got home on friday from work to a good size package.  As I opened it I found a HP Touchpad bundle(includes the sleeve), a bluetooth keyboard, and a TouchStone Charging base.  As many of you know I have been a iPad user since v1 and have really come to enjoy using it when I don’t need to open up my laptop.  I added the Clamcase to it when it was first released and the ipad became one of my primary tools. The big question now is will this new Touchpad join my repertoire.

I think the easiest way to look at it might be a pro vs. cons list.  I will start with the cons because everyone likes to hear the bad first.

Cons:

  • The app store is not nearly as large as ios.  I did not expect it to be but I also found that many of the apps are built for the phone platform not the Touchpad and can not be expanded like we can in the ipad.  Heres a few of the apps I am missing: Yahoo Fantasy Football, VMware View Client, Citrix Receiver Client (Think they stopped making this), Hootsuite(or any of the other known twitter apps)
  • The charger for it is a USB cable and connector, the connector is about 2 inches high and circular.  It does fold for travel but seems big.  You can however just plug into any USB charger so this is not a huge drawback
  • Every app you load seems to have a waiting loading window when you open it.  At first I thought this was a big downside until I thought about how every ipad app seems to have a splash screen and they just hide the loading time.
  • Mobile Web vs. Full Web:  While the browser will support full websites and flash, if a website is written to force the mobile browser, that is your only option.  Some websites have the “Click here for the full site” but if that is not there, you are stuck with a mobile version.
  • The screen is very glossy and has not only glare but shows fingerprints really easily.

Pros:

  • The first really cool thing I found was the TouchStone charging base.  What appears to be a basic stand allows for wireless charging at a very convenient angle.  I found this allows me to sit the Touchpad on my nightstand and use it just like an interactive clock and web device.  
  • Exhibition Mode : This is what allows you to have the Touchpad act like a clock, or a weather station, or a website tool. This is a nice video showing off how it can act like an interactive photo frame.
  • Simple easy to use mail client.  With a quick scanning and adding of email accounts I have been very happy with the mail client.  The one component I would like is the ability to select and delete multiple items at once.
  • Notifications: On the top bar the notifications are simple, easy to find and takes you right to the apps.
  • Search Bars: Many of the apps can be added as search items for the “Just Type” interface.  A really nice tool if you visit the same sites often.
  • OTA updates : Unlike IOS (until 5) all the updates to WebOS can be done over the air and I have yet to need to sync the touchpad with a computer.
So thats the rundown from a couple days of use.  So far I do like it and think it could become very handy.  Although, I think the use might not be for work and more for at home in the bedroom as an alarm clock, weather station, and web browsing from bed, and probably in the kitchen for looking at recipes and keeping updated while cooking.

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