Posted By RichC on June 30, 2011
Although Mr. Mossberg is rightly critical about some of the shortcomings regarding HP’s late entry into the tablet computing market with the webOS Touchpad, he had a few complements too (LINK).
I like the interface a lot. Instead of a screen full of app icons, the main screen of the TouchPad’s operating system, called webOS, presents running apps as "cards"—large, live rectangles that you scroll through in a horizontal row.
When you tap a card, it fills the screen and is ready to use. To minimize it, you just swipe up on the bezel surrounding the screen. A second swipe takes you to a screen from which you can launch or download a new app. To get rid of a card, you just flick it upward, and it disappears. Multiple cards can run in the background.
And these cards are clever. For instance, the contacts and photo cards combine both local and online content, from sources like Google and Facebook; and cards with related functions, like an email message and an attachment you’ve opened, are stacked atop one another.
You can make Skype video and audio calls directly from the messaging apps. And if you buy a forthcoming H-P webOS smartphone, you can link it to the tablet wirelessly, and send and receive voice calls and text messages from the tablet, or transfer a Web page from the phone by tapping the phone on the tablet.
Here is what a few others are saying …
PC Magazine (Four out of five stars, "Very good")
Pros: Top-notch, intuitive user interface. Fast performance. 9.7-inch, 4:3 screen excellent for video and photos. Synergy features make integrating with social networks and websites easy. Strong Facebook app.
Cons: App is selection is limited at launch. No rear-facing camera or video-recording capabilities. Screen sometimes needs multiple taps. Almost twice as thick as the iPad 2.
Bottom Line: With solid hardware and a user-friendly operating system based around multitasking and intuitive organization, the HP TouchPad is the best non-Apple tablet we’ve tested. There aren’t a lot of apps yet, but Android Honeycomb tablet manufacturers should be a little nervous.
The TouchPad I’ve been using is downright buggy, and suffers from a shortage of key apps. Which is why my advice to anyone who wants to buy a tablet right now remains unchanged: Get an iPad 2.
One hardware department where the TouchPad is a leader is audio: It features Dr. Dre-approved "Beats" technology and stereo speakers rather than the iPad 2’s single speaker. Music sounded unusually good whether I was listening out loud or over headphones.
This tablet bears the burden of great potential; it’ll be a real shame if it turns out to be nothing more than yet another unsatisfying, unfinished iPad alternative.