The WiFi version of the HP TouchPad, the first tablet to be powered by webOS, will be available in the U.S. starting July 1st. It will cross the Atlantic a few days later, landing in the UK, Ireland, France and Germany. Pre-order in those countries begins June 19.
Canadians will see the tablet in mid-July, while customers in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Italy will have to wait a few more months.
Pricing is similar to that of the iPad at $499.99 for 16GB and $599.99 for 32GB.
The OS & Hardware Is Right
Response from Palm Pre users, the early adopters of webOS, were mostly positive. They were impressed by the user experience of the well-polished system. The card multitasking interface was also often praised as the best implemented on any smartphone platform.
Om Malik of GigaOm said the TouchPad is “one of the best competitors for the Apple iPad,” and he “really did want to use it.”
The new group of webOS devices — including the TouchPad, Palm Pre 3 and HP Veer — have introduced features that yet to be seen on either iOS or Android devices, like wireless charging and touch to sync with HP TouchStone. These features have real practical value instead of just being eye candy.
Apps and Hype are Lacking
While most early adopters and tech enthusiasts are generally excited about webOS, most average users may not have even heard about it. People are queuing for Apple products on launch day just to be among the first to own the product — all thanks to Apple being a super hype machine.
Even if webOS is on par or better than iOS, it won’t see the same adoption rate, especially when the pricing isn’t any more attractive than the iPad, because HP doesn’t enjoy the same kind of hype.
Most importantly, webOS lacks the massive app ecosystem of Android and iOS. In its current state, it’ll have hard time courting users from other platforms who can’t live without the apps they’ve come to love.
Still, if HP manages to populate the webOS App Market and pursues an effective marketing plan, its products can be true contenders in the tablet space, even against the iPad.
Source: The Official HP Palm Blog