Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad—which launches Friday—impressed reviewers with its multitasking features, smartphone interaction and slick charging dock, possibly giving the iPad a run for the money in the productivity department.
It is already being called "the iPad's stiffest competition yet for individual business professionals, who currently represent a quiet but very large portion of the iPad user base," by Jason Hiner of Tech Republic who spent some time testing the TouchPad.
Considering the iPad has been the darling of the market with upwards of 25 million sold to-date, that's a pretty remarkable compliment.
Hiner says the TouchPad "will appeal to professionals who want a tablet to handle work tasks," but will be disappointed by it's entertainment value compared to the iPad.
He notes three key areas where the TouchPad "trumps" the iPad, namely email capabilities, full web experience, and interaction between tablet and smartphone.
TouchPad's multitasking capabilities allow the user to easily move between apps, multiple browser tabs, texts, documents, phone calls and more. The more includes the ability to pair the TouchPad with a webOS phone, such as HP's Pre3, and bump a call or text received on the cell phone over to the tablet.
A feature called "touch-to-share" allows the user to take an open web page on the TouchPad and share it with the smartphone by simply touching the phone to the tablet.
Fat-fingered folks will appreciate the ability to switch over from a smaller onscreen keyboard to an expanded onscreen keyboard and then on over to a wireless full-size keyboard in a docking station, too.
The Touchstone Charging Dock sounds pretty sweet, too, according to Jason Snell of Computerworld. Plus, when the TouchPad is docked it launches into "Exhibition Mode"—a prime app-developer opportunity, says Snell, for just about anything from calendar, photo, Twitter stream, clock, or whatever.
Snell was impressed with the software integration—that allows the pairing of TouchPad with a webOS phone by laying the phone down on the bottom of the TouchPad—and with webOS's app-switching interface, calling it "a far more intuitive system than Apple's."
Seems HP may be taking a byte out of Apple in the tablet department.
Editor's note: The YouTube video that accompanies this article was published in February.