back to article HP TouchPad 32GB WebOS tablet

What a difference a year makes. Had HP's TouchPad - which went on sale in the UK this past Friday - debuted 12 months ago, maybe even as few as seven, it would have stood tall alongside the competition. But coming six months or so after the iPad 2, let alone the iPad 1, HP's offering in many ways feels distinctly behind the …


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  1. Si 1

    1024x600 or 1024x768

    I'm confused about the screen res on this. If it's 1024x600 it's not 4:3, it's closer to ~16:9. The iPad is 1024x768 which is 4:3.

    If the screen really is 4:3 and is also 1024x600 I would expect to see rectangular pixels in the display.

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: 1024x600 or 1024x768

      It is 1024 x 768 - and the copy has been corrected accordingly.

      Force of habit from reviewing too many netbooks... :-)

  2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Shame about the delays, I liked the look of WebOS

    but settled for an android phone nonetheless (to replace both a regular phone and my good old Tungsten T3).

    1. Thomas 4


      I miss my T3 =(

      1. Dapprman

        Must have been better than the T2 then ...

        ... I almost threw mine against the wall a few times in frustration, eve regretting some how gouging out a bit of the graffiti area on my VX, which I sorely missed.

  3. Getter lvl70 Druid

    OH MY GOD!


    No, really it looks pretty good - where is that give-a-way HP tablet anyway? - however just purchased an Acer Iconia Tab last night and haven't gotten over the giggles yet. Finally priced a bit more sane @$399 as of yesterday. Oh and fondleslab is right - very sexy lol.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Si 1

    HP's website and others confirm its 1024x768, so it is 4:3

    And a damn good thing too. I've been looking at the Android tablets, and each one has been a case "ooh, that's shiny! but its 16:9 so its useless". Its like all the manufacturers have gone "well, we need to diffentiate our products from Apple's how can we do that? I know, the iPad isn't crippled, so if we cripple ours, that'll make it different and people will buy it..."

    1. John 73

      16:9 is better

      I wonder whether the people who disdain 16:9 tablets have actually used one. To be fair, I wasn't sure before I got my Asus Eee Transformer, but there's one big reason that 16:9 is better than 4:3 - it's closer to the aspect ratio of A4 paper.

      When I'm using my tablet at work, I'm often looking at PDFs or Word files, and holding it in portrait orientation means that the A4 page is fully visible, with space for the toolbars above and below. When you try that on an iPad, you end up with letterboxing or cropping.

      That's right - for real work, 16:9 is better.

      And I'm not convinced by the aesthetic argument either. 4:3 just means there's less difference between the two orientations - and hence less point rotating it. With a 16:9 tablet, there's a real difference between the two modes, and each has its uses.

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Is it really?

        If you take a fondleslab that is 29.7cm long, the length of a sheet of A4, at 4:3, the width would be 22.275cm. At 16:9 the width would be 16.7cm. A4 paper is 21cm wide, much closer to the 4:3 ratio.

      2. Steve Ives

        Check your maths...

        "but there's one big reason that 16:9 is better than 4:3 - it's closer to the aspect ratio of A4 paper.".

        16:9 = 1.7777

        4:3 = 1.33333

        ISO paper size = 1.414 (yes, square root of 2)

        Which one is closer?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not to labour the point...

        16.7cm is closer to 21cm that 22.275cm? Let's look;

        21cm is 1.275cm less that 22.275cm.

        21cm is 4.3cm more than 16.7cm.

        Let's approximately illustrate that;

        16 16.5 16.7 17 17.5 18 18.5 19 19.5 20 20.5 21 21.5 22 22.275 22.5

        So we can surmise that 22.275 is in fact closer to 21 than 16.7 and therefore based on A4 paper sizes, 4:3 is the better resolution to use. Furthermore 4:3 is a good approximation of US Letter, thus satisfying both EMEA and US markets! So 4:3 is the sensible choice for doing "real work" (whatever the fuck that is) if the goal of the aspect ratio is to approximate international paper sizes and their variety.

    2. Dave Fox
      Thumb Up

      Depends on what you want to use it for?

      16:9 works much better if you are using an RDP application to connect to a remote server, or watching practically any video since it's all wide screen these days.

      Since I do both regularly on my Asus Transformer, a 16:9 aspect ratio suits me personally far better than 4:3 would.

  5. Anonymous Coward


    As I said about the 16gb version it needs to be technically better, or cheaper (and preferably both) than the iPad to make any inroads.

    It's neither, so why would I buy this over the iPad which has a populated app store? The clone tablets are coming and your either the market leader who can command the premium or your lost in the flotsam.

  6. Sartori

    Gen2 could be a winner

    Provided HP can sort out the hardware/CPU issues and the app development comes along I reckon I could go for the 2nd generation of WebOS tablet. A reasonable first gen to show some potential but i'll hang on a little while and see what happens when the next one comes along.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Not Likely

      HP as palm before them are 6-9 months behind the curve.

      So when Gen 2 comes out. Apple and the Android slabs will be on Gen 3 - or close enough to kill the sales of HP's contender.

      Its frustrating to see that half these firms don't realise that time to market with something that works reasonably well is the be all and end all in this market.

      1. James Hughes 1

        @Gordon 10

        Of course the firms realise they need to get stuff out, but there is only so fast you can do these things - they are late to market and suffering. You cannot just throw people at the problem.

        Of course, they could rush this stuff out, which means it will be full of HW and SW bugs. Is that a good idea?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Of course it's not a good idea to rush stuff out that's buggy.

          The rest of the manufacturers seem to be doing that though - and *still* selling units.

          What HP should have not done is wait to see if the market takes-off, and then take their time to release a machine that's a year behind their main competitors.

          What HP needed to do was release a machine that can directly compete with today's top-end machines. And since most people on reg seem to hate the fruity company so much, it's got to be really easy hasn't it?

          What? It actually isn't? Even a company as big as HP can't do it? Blimey - maybe Apple aren't so crap after all?

    2. jai

      so will everyone else

      and HP won't sell any Gen1's and so won't see the point in continuing to produce a Gen2.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        HP isn't patient...

        Yep, HP has little patience with products which don't sell quickly enough; remember their dalliances with digital cameras and sat-navs?

        It's a bit of a shame as I've played with one and it's OK; WebOS works well, but there's almost no apps, and it's a bit laggy. If this had been around a year ago the tablet market may have looked a bit different today.

  7. NellyD

    It's not the hardware

    It's the OS (excessive logging and non GPU accelerated CSS transitions mainly) causing the lagginess. This should be fixed for the great unwashed with an OTA update due any day now. Homebrewers can bring the thing pretty much up-to-speed already (legally and with the blessing of HP!).

    As a review... there's a lot lacking. Why only compare features to those on an ipad when the TouchPad has lots more yet to offer e.g. Touchstone wireless charging, Skype built in, touch to share, using the pad to take calls and text messages from your phone... If you're going to review something at least include mentions of the main features.

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: It's not the hardware

      I did mention Skype, ahem.

      As for Touchstone, while the TouchPad supports it, the charging kit is an optional extra, so its place is in a separate review.

      The link between pad and phone only works, IIRC, with Pré handsets and impossible to assess with out one. This is a feature for Pré specialists to cover, not a general one like El Reg. It's not a 'main feature'.

      1. NellyD

        Re: It's not the hardware

        You mentioned Skype twice actually. The integration is worthy of more than just the name being dropped IMHO. I didn't count the number of times Flash was mentioned though. Reports have it as working very well (for a pad).

        So the Touchstone being an optional extra relegates the feature it to a separate review? The same can surely then be said of iPad 2 accessories as well? No, it doesn't (I looked). In particular, the Touchstone tech is a built in feature to the OS and most certainly is a main feature providing location aware wireless docking / charging.

        The TouchPad operates as a bluetooth headset for taking calls. By the wonder that Bluetooth almost is, it should pair with anything that supports the profile. Taking and replying to text messages is a webOS only feature. This particular black magic is a big differentiator over the rivals for me as a user... and lots of others ta boot.

        I'm not buying one either BTW. Not until HP sort out assorted other things and prove they'll support the Pre 2 with more than 2 tiny updates. I had an iPAQ once. Once!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not true

        It acts as a bluetooth speakerphone for calls, so yes other phones besides the Pre 3/Veer should work. For text messaging you'll need a Pre3 or Veer though.

        I'd agree with the other commentator, even though these things may require an HP phone or are sold as an accessory they are important features that really differentiate the product. Even if they can't be reviewed fully at the moment they could have been mentioned.

        The unfortunate thing with the Touchpad is that the Pre3 isn't on the shelves yet. Its really a two product system that won't show off its unique points (good or bad - your call) until you can see the full system working.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "This should be fixed for the great unwashed with an OTA update due any day now"

      *any day now*

      I'm sure a lot of Nokia owners are still waiting for their any day now updates to fix crashes and buggy software.

      Once the updates are out - and the tablets are fixed and speedy - *THEN* you can bleat about it.

      1. NellyD


        Eh, there's already ways to easily fix performance issues out now. You don't have to wait for HP and you can do it with their blessing in about 5 minutes. Homebrew on webOS really is that safe and simple. Even a Nokia user could do it!

  8. K. Adams

    Too little, too late. Which is a bummer, because...

    ... I get along great with my (1st generation) Palm Pre` (Sprint/Nextel), and really love webOS.

    However, when it comes to tablets, the lack of an SDHC or microSDHC card slot is a deal-breaker for me. (Curiously, for phones, not having a microSDHC card slot doesn't bother me... Mostly because I actually tend to use my phone more as a phone than a portable media/Internet consumption device.)

    I had an almost Pavlovian response when the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 was finally announced, but then I heard that it didn't offer an SDHC or microSDHC slot. The Motorola Xoom does offer such capability, but seems to be a "rushed" product, design-wise, and fails to hold my interest due to a lack of polish and (perhaps mistakenly) perceived stability problems.

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  10. Uwe Dippel

    ... but, does it run Linux??

    Serious. I checked for the Acer Iconia and the Asus Transformer; but nothing.

    I'll buy the first one that runs, let's say, Debian.

    1. NellyD


      webOSInternals got Unbuntu 11.04 running on the TouchPad and, IIRC, the teeny tiny Veer as well. that do you ;) webOS runs on Linux kernel anyways. You can get in about it by typing in the developer mode code found running free anywhere on The Google.

    2. Rick Dickinson

      WebOS is actually running on top of a Linux Kernal

      2.6.something, depending on the exact WebOS version.

    3. Christian Berger


      I second that. I don't need tiles or graphic effects. What I need is a proper TCP/IP stack (including for example tools to tunnel IP through DNS) SSH and X.

      I don't want a gadget, I want a portable computer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I don't want a gadget, I want a portable computer."

        So buy a netbook then.

  11. fishman


    I'm surprised that someone hasn't tried making a 16:10 ratio tablet - somewhat betwen the 16:12 (4:3) of the ipad, and 16:9 of most other tablets.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Got an eval of one of these day...massive fail!

    Our organisation got an eval version of the 32GB TouchPad today, we put it on our wireless network and guess what...we couldn't get it to connect to the internet. Why? Because it doesn't support proxy servers!!!! Pathetic. Immediate fail. I guess we won't be getting any of these then.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Rear Facing Cameras *do* have a point

    For the moment, they let you take snaps without having to switch to some other device should the need arrive (a lousy pic is better than none). In the future, I expect we'll be seeing a lot more Augmented Reality apps for tablet devices which would make use of the rear camera. Plus it's hard to scan a QR or barcode without one.

  14. TheProf Silver badge


    "I don't like munging my photos.... "

    Munging? What the hell does that mean?

    1. Paul Ross


      I was also confused by this terminology. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of looking it up on urban dictionary.

      I see a Kindle app has now been made available for Touchpad owners (but only for US at the moment). I had a play with the Touchpad in PC World and it seems like a fairly good device. It is good to see WebOS back on the highstreet in the UK. However, now HP has ditched the Pixi form factor I have relapsed and gone back to a Blackberry Bold. Not as pretty as WebOS but I don't miss the lag!

    2. Arctic fox

      Munging can apparently mean................




      1. Creating a very strong password by character substitution.

      2. The practice of disguising an e-mail address.

      3. A comprehensive rewrite of a routine, data structure or the whole program.

      4. Necrophilia (apparently L.A. slang from the early nineties).

      If one engages in # 4 one might very well wish to ensure than any details on your pc or your e-mail address are heavily protected/disguised!

  15. h4rm0ny

    This isn't a review,

    it's a sales-pitch for the iPad.

  16. MGT

    Corporate usability

    We were considering trying these out in a corporate environment, but there seems to be a couple of big problems:

    1. No support for certificates for wireless authentication

    2. No Remote desktop applications. The closest thing is a VNC Client PDK, but this appears to be non-functional on the TouchPad, as it is unable to display the virtual keyboard.

    If anyone has any solutions for either of these problems for the TouchPad I would be interested in hearing them.

  17. ThomasC

    pad choice

    lots of raves around on the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 pad. And also tracking well on the eee Pad. Or the HP! What else is coming through. Am not an Apple king of guy! But am not sure which option to go for. Recommendations gratefully received. Be looking at basic on the road office use - like the idea of being able to match the ratio of a sheet of A4. Thanks

  18. dgsinclair

    Why i returned by TouchPad

    1. they removed the backswipe and replaced it with a clumsy back button

    2. no rear camera

    3. little useful software ready (no kindle, no netflix, no magazine style reader, crappy games)

    4. very little free software

    HP is a generation behind. They need to jump ahead, not play catchup. I'll try again if they make a next generation. Too bad, webos rules, but they can't make a good hardware/software decision to save their lives.

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