Well, I went to see it in person, and after trying very hard to keep my expectations very low, I was still somehow disappointed. It pains me to say it; I want WebOS to survive in the worst way, but sadly this launch (if you can even call it a launch) did nothing but further weigh WebOS down from getting off the ground.
Hardware:Since I mentioned weight I guess that is a good place to start with describing the new tablet from HP: heavy! The Touchpad feels like a massive brick compared to other tablets on the market. The hardware in general seems very poor in both quality and design. It feels as though very little time was put into hardware design. The speaker holes feel rough, sharp, and unfinished. The “home” button feels extremely awkward and poorly designed for being the only interface button on the device. Design wise, it is basically a giant iPhone 3G, which came out in 2008.
If it weren’t for the spec sheet saying it had a dual core processor, you would thing it was running a single core around 1.0GHz or less. For being a dual core 1.2GHz, it felt sluggish.
The screen left a lot to be desired as well. It felt very dull as far as color reproduction went and not very clear.
Software:WebOS is still a solid and well designed OS. This new 3.0 version is great, but doesn’t feel as snappy and fluid as it should. My only concern is that you don’t immediately have access to the entire WebOS catalog of apps, since all apps must be re-written to work on 3.0.
As the title states, if HP would have sold this device at a loss to get people amped up and excited for WebOS, that would have been huge. Hell, even at $199 it would be a no brainer for everyone to get one, if for no other reason than just to try it out. If you don’t put WebOS in people’s hands, no one is going to just discover it on their own, sadly.
One last note about this “launch”. I say launch in quotes because HP continues to half ass the release of these new devices. When the Veer came out, no one knew it was out. The stores that were selling it, barely knew it even launched. This was no different: you heard nothing about it, and saw nothing either. You might have just happened to see the display for it sitting in between its competitors, the iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1; both of which are far more polished and the same exact price point.
At this point I am definitely saying do not buy the Touchpad, and WebOS is officially on the back burner (apparently HP feels the same way).