HP is launching their TouchPad webOS-based tablet this Friday, 1 July, and the embargo has lifted on reviews. Most rate it just as an above average tablet that can't yet compete with the iPad.
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If you have been thinking of a BB PlayBook, then you may want to swing by Best Buy this weekend or hope the rumors of a Staples 50% sale come about next week.
Sprint had a huge launch buildup for the Samsung Instinct and in MobileTechRoundup show #169 we question where all the marketing is for the upcoming Palm Pre. I had a chance to chat a bit about the fantastic Nokia E75 I am testing out. James just received the Vilev S5 UMPC after we recorded the show, but was pretty excited about checking out the device when we recorded this morning. Kevin also has a new laptop, the HP dv2, and it sounds like a nice device between a netbook and a full blown desktop replacement laptop. I was also happy to report that there are now two high-powered Twitter clients for the S60 platform that I also put up against each other on my Nokia Experts site.
Since I didn't have a chance to see the Palm Pre in person and there are no review units out yet, I couldn't really pick a favorite in my first Clash of the Touch Titans article. Last week I was able to see the Pre in person and get my hands on it a bit. I shot a video of the Pre in action showing some 3rd party apps and overall user experience. I will say that the experience and some of the functionality look quite amazing. However, I was able to also get my hands on and enter text using the Pre keyboard and found it to be a major disappointment that may be the Achilles heel of the device. I find the onscreen keyboard on the iPhone to be much better than the Pre keyboard. So far we have only seen keyboard input as being the only way to enter text so you always have to switch to portrait mode to do this and my first impressions were not good. In the photos I saw before I actually touched it I thought it would be more of a Treo 800w or at least Treo Pro keyboard, but it is much more similar to the Palm Centro keyboard with rubber sticky keys/bumps set on a flat panel. The keyboard felt pretty cramped and I am sure I could get used to it over time since I do have magic thumbs, but Palm was always known for excellent Treo keyboards and to not put one of these types on this new flagship product may be an issue for many people.
HP recently made a deal to purchase Palm and with that there is speculation on what HP will do with webOS. We heard today that one future product will be a webOS-powered printer.
The one device that I have not yet had a chance to see in person was the Palm Pre and all of that changed at the Mobile Focus event last night. Kevin Tofel and I were able to corner Matt Crowley, Palm product line manager for the Palm Pre, and he ran through some things on the Pre for us. I asked particularly about 3rd party applications because I haven't yet seen any in action. He showed us Fandango, NASCAR, and Amazon Music on the camera and then we also heard more about Pandora. Check out the video below to see these apps in action and then a walk through some of the other main features of the Palm Pre.
I was checking out jkOnTheRun this morning and read their post on new HP Windows Mobile phones that lead to the details on the wmpoweruser.com site. Sam wrote last month that HP was jumping deeper into the smartphone market after a couple years trying to sell their iPAQ line that largely focused on the enterprise buyer. These two new devices, the iPAQ Voice Messenger and Data Messenger, actually look quite modern and may appeal to consumers as well.
HP announced today that they are making webOS open source, but with no partner or hardware announcements is there any reason someone would stick around?
Speculation on a possible Palm buyer has ranged from Lenovo to HTC to RIM and more. We can now put that all aside and thank the mobile gods that HP is buying Palm for a reported $1.2 billion. As a Palm webOS fan myself I have to say I am rather excited about the news since there is now a large company behind Palm and it looks like webOS will continue to be supported for years to come.
It seems the rumors of HP's full re-entry into the Windows Mobile and Windows CE market were spot on. There have been a couple of HP iPAQ Communicators released since the last incredible HP x4700 PDA, but they didn't seem to do very well and never lasted that long in the market. I recommend you check out MobilitySite's post that links to all of the specs and a photo of each of the new 5 series announced last night in New York.