HP brings out webOS tablet, smartphones

by Dylan McGrath , TechOnline India - February 10, 2011

Hewlett-Packard introduced its first tablet and smartphones based on the webOS mobile operating system developed by Palm Inc.

SAN FRANCISCO—As expected, Hewlett-Packard Co. Wednesday (Feb. 9) introduced its first tablet and smartphones based on the webOS mobile operating system developed by Palm Inc.

The HP TouhPad tablet features a 9.7-inch diagonal flush capacitive multi-touch display, virtual keyboard, instant-on access and support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta. The device features a Snapdragon dual-CPU processor from Qualcomm Inc. and is available in either 16GB or 32 GB configurations.

"Today we’re embarking on a new era of webOS with the goal of linking a wide family of HP products through the best mobile experience available," said Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president and general manager of HP's Palm global business unit, in a statement. "The flexibility of the webOS platform makes it ideal for creating a range of innovative devices that work together to keep you better connected to your world."

HP also introduced two smartphones—the Pre 3 and the Veer—based on webOS.

WebOS is a proprietary mobile operating system by Palm, which was acquired by HP last year. It is said to offer advantages to developers because it is based on the same standards as the Web.

HP's push into tablet and smartphones is seen as an important push for the company in establishing itself as a player in mobile devices beyond the notebook PC. To succeed in this endeavor, HP will have to grapple with established players—notably Apple Inc.—and compete with the slew of smartphones already on the market and the wave of tablets that is just beginning to hit.

Last November, Rubinstein said HP was preparing to roll out several smartphones and a tablet running webOS over the next 12 to 18 months.

HP described the TouchPad's user interface as "a visual representation of your workspace." The company said the TouchPad enables true multitasking with multiple applications running simultaneously.

Amazon.com Inc. said Tuesday it will launch a free Kindle app for HP webOS tailored for TouchPad that will provide access to more than 810,000 titles from Amazon’s Kindle Store and enable users to subscribe to magazines and download movies and TV shows through the HP Movie Store.

TouchPad also offers a music app that lets users transfer and play music from personal music collections with high sound quality.

HP said it is working with Quickoffice to include the Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite, which lets users view and edit documents, such as Microsoft Word and Excel. TouchPad also comes with VPN support to connect to corporate networks, HP said.

TouchPad also features 1.3-megapixel front-facing webcam and is compatible with HP's printing products, enabling users to wirelessly print documents, photos and emails to compatible wireless and networked HP printers, HP said.

HP TouchPad is scheduled to be available in the summer, HP said. Exact pricing and availability will be announced at a later date, the company said.

Also Wednesday, HP announced the Pre 3 smartphone emphasizing professional productivity and personal connectivity, and the Veer compact smartphone. The Pre3 is scheduled to be available in the summer, while the Veer is set to be available in early spring, HP said. Both devices also run WebOS.

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