The HP TouchPad has a 9.7-inch (24.6-centimeter) display screen and a sleek black exterior, and it weighs 1.6 pounds (0.73 kilograms). It comes in 16GB and 32GB versions, and sports WiFi (802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth capabilities [source: Hewlett-Packard].
The TouchPad also features a 1GHz dual-core processor and webOS 3.0 operating system. HP acquired the operating system when it purchased Palm for $1.2 billion in 2010. The operating system was initially developed by Palm during the mid-1990s for smartphones and is rumored to have a promising future in tablet applications -- one that could rival Apple's iOS and Google's Android [source: Gruman, Hewlett-Packard].
The TouchPad has several preinstalled apps, including Bing Maps, QuickOffice, Facebook and YouTube. It also has apps to create a contact list, cull photos and videos, add memos and organize music [source: Arthur]. Additional free or paid apps can be downloaded from the HP App Catalog, an online app store. However, critics contend that the HP App Catalog offers few options -- certainly not the hundreds of thousands of apps available in the Android Market or Apple's App Store.
The TouchPad has a 1.3-megapixel camera for video and still photography, and it offers videoconferencing. Without a second, rear-facing camera, the TouchPad comes up short when compared to competitors like the Samsung Galaxy [source: Stern]. One thing that sets the TouchPad apart is its a wireless charger, a device on which the tablet sits during re-juicing -- which it'll need to do after some five to eight hours of use. The charger can lie flat or double as a stand, which can turn the tablet into a desk or bedside clock.
TouchPad's proponents like its ability to handle Adobe Flash apps and widgets, as well as its intuitive printing capabilities, which allow users to network wirelessly with HP peripherals to print documents and images.
Whether there will be a next-generation TouchPad is still unclear. For the perpetually congested tablet market, however, the takeaway is this: Too-high prices are a barrier between tablets' purveyors and sales numbers.
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- Budgell, Mark. "More TouchPads on the Way." Aug. 30, 2011. Hewlett-Packard. http://h20435.www2.hp.com/t5/The-Next-Bench-Blog/More-TouchPads-on-the-Way/ba-p/68749
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- Usigan, Ysolt. "Can You Still Buy an HP TouchPad on the Cheap?" Aug. 24, 2011. CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-20096566-501465.html