BlackBerry PlayBook has me excited about the HP TouchPad

Summary: The entire time I have been using the BlackBerry PlayBook I have come to realize how much of the webOS interface that RIM has borrowed. Seeing the PlayBook in action has me excited about the upcoming HP TouchPad.

The BlackBerry PlayBook is impressing me the longer I use it, primarily due to the nice hardware and the good user interface. The UI in particular is very intuitive and very well implemented. The entire time I have been using it I have come to realize how much of the webOS interface that RIM has incorporated into the PlayBook. Seeing the PlayBook in action has me very excited about the upcoming HP TouchPad tablet.

Don't get me wrong, I think the RIM interface is very well done and while it uses some of the same methods found in webOS it is unique in many ways. I love how the running tasks show up in a bar that can be swiped left and right, and I love how closing an app is as easy as swiping the "card" up off the screen. I also find it useful to swipe left and right on the screen within an app to switch to the next app. This works well in practice, and it is very similar to the webOS method of representing tasks as cards on the screen.

I spent a couple of hours with the HP TouchPad earlier this year, and the most impressive thing about that session was seeing how HP has converted the webOS interface to fit the bigger tablet screen. Displaying tasks as cards is particularly good on the tablet screen, and the ability to stack tasks together in card view is really handy. This is lacking in the PlayBook interface, and I believe it is a major difference.

BlackBerry PlayBook tasks

BlackBerry PlayBook tasks

HP TouchPad

HP TouchPad cards

HP TouchPad notifications

HP TouchPad notifications

The notification system in webOS has been quite good since the launch of the platform, and it is nicely updated for the TouchPad display. It is possible to triage email without going to the app, a very useful method for those of us buried in the inbox all day. I knew when I first saw the HP TouchPad that I would almost certainly like to use one, and having seen the similar methodology in practice on the RIM PlayBook has me convinced that is so.

I am as excited about the impending launch of the TouchPad more today than ever, and it is in part thanks to the BlackBerry PlayBook. That's not the intent of RIM, but it does confirm its good move in copying parts of webOS for the PlayBook.

Topics: Mobility, BlackBerry, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Mobile OS


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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