The HP TouchPad launch is only a couple of days away, which means we are that close to more reviews of the webOS tablet than you can shake a stick at. Most of those reviews, and rightly so, will spend a lot of ink dealing with the lack of apps available in the market for the TouchPad. Apps are the tools that extend the usefulness of a tablet out of the box, and there aren't going to be many of them available compared to rival platforms iOS and Android. While the lack of apps will be less of a problem as time goes by, there is one thing HP can do for the TouchPad launch that makes that less of an issue for consumers.
The lack of apps will be a less significant problem for users if the TouchPad is able to do most of the tasks users want to do on the tablet right out of the box. If a new TouchPad owner is able to take the slate out of the box, fire it up and do the things that matter, the lack of apps will not be perceived as such a big negative. Here are the things that the TouchPad needs to do to appease most buyers from day one.
Email. The webOS platform has been good at handling multiple email accounts, and the TouchPad email app looks ready to deliver a good email-handling experience.
Web browsing. The TouchPad browser must deliver a desktop quality browsing experience. The unique ability for the TouchPad user to have multiple browsing sessions running side-by-side in separate "cards" is an advantage over most of the competition.
Calendaring. The webOS platform has always been good at handling multiple calendars and presenting them in an intuitive form, and the TouchPad must expand on that given its larger screen.
Contacts/ task management. The TouchPad must interact with cloud-based contact systems, and integrate those into the system in a useful form. The ability to add task management to the contacts/ calendar system will go a long way to making the TouchPad a useful tool out of the box.
Twitter. Many of us do it, and apps are much better for most than the web site.
Facebook. Same as Twitter, millions of us use Facebook and a tablet is a great method for interacting with the system.
Video player. We all like to watch streaming videos from time to time, and the TouchPad needs a good media player to make that easy.
Ebooks. Tablets make good eReaders, and the TouchPad needs Kindle/ Nook capability out of the box to provide an instant popular feature for the tablet.
PDF handling. Many folks deal with material in the standard PDF format, and the TouchPad needs to have a good method for accessing this material on the go.
Office doc handing. Office document creation would be a useful tool, but as that might take some time to implement properly, the TouchPad could get by with just document reading out of the box.
The ability to handle these tasks can go a long way to letting new TouchPad owners do a lot of typical tablet work without the need for third party apps. While a robust app store is essential for the long-term success of the webOS platform, HP can buy some time to make that happen if TouchPad buyers can do a lot with the new tablet, right out of the box.
If you are considering the HP TouchPad, which functions do you consider important to handle out of the box?