HP TouchPad reviews are in: Released too early

Summary:All of my hopes for the HP TouchPad were based on one thing, that the hardware would perform well. The early reviews are now in and it is obvious that is not the case.

I was anxiously awaiting the release of the HP TouchPad since seeing it in person early this year. I've been quite open about the high hopes I had for the first webOS tablet given the nice OS. I made it clear that HP could make a go of it with the TouchPad even without a lot of apps in the store. But all of my hopes for the TouchPad were based on one thing, that the hardware would perform well. It didn't seem feasible to me that HP would produce the TouchPad with hardware/ software that didn't perform well. The early reviews are now in and it is obvious that is not the case. Even taking its time to get the TouchPad to market, HP has clearly not been able to get the TouchPad and webOS working well enough together to perform as it should.

Review: HP TouchPad is the productivity tablet

Reviews of the TouchPad are all over the web and I'm not going to recap them here. Suffice it to say that many if not all of them pointed out the same problems with the TouchPad's operation, contrary to what the hardware components are capable of delivering. It is obvious that the webOS experience is not close to being optimized for fluid operation, and that is disappointing. Why companies, even big ones like HP, believe it is OK to launch with a bad user experience and fix it later is beyond me. That's a hard pill to swallow with a $500 or $600 device.

As puzzling as the erratic interface performance may be, it is minor compared to the hardware design decisions made by HP. The performance can be addressed in a future OS update, which HP says is a few weeks out. The fact that the TouchPad is too heavy for comfortable use isn't going away with updates. The weight is comparable to the original iPad, which is apparently the target HP wanted to hit. That's too bad as the current iPad is thinner and lighter than that, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is even lighter. I find those two light tablets to be right on the edge of being comfortable enough for heavy use in the hands, so the TouchPad has no chance in this area. It's as if HP decided that the original iPad was good enough that it didn't matter that the industry had moved on to better specs.

I am going to hold out my final judgement on the TouchPad until I get one in my hands to evaluate. But it's undeniable that yesterday I had great hopes for the TouchPad, and today those have been largely dashed.

See related coverage:

Topics: Hewlett-Packard


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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