HP unveils TouchPad tablet, WebOS headed to PCs

HP introduces the TouchPad, a WebOS-powered tablet, along with two new WebOS phones--the Veer and a follow-up to the Pre. The company also announced that WebOS would be headed to PCs.

Jon Rubinstein, HP's Senior Vice President and GM holds the company's first WebOS tablet, the TouchPad.
Jon Rubinstein, HP's senior vice president and GM, hold's the company's first WebOS tablet, the TouchPad. James Martin/CNET

Hewlett-Packard today took the wraps off its long-anticipated tablet, a 9.7-inch device it's calling the TouchPad, along with the bombshell that its WebOS is headed to PCs.

The TouchPad will run the company's WebOS, which it acquired along with Palm as part of a $1.2 billion deal in April . Among its list of features are: a 1024x768 pixel display, a weight of 1.5 pounds, 13mm thickness, front-facing cameras for video chat, 16GB or 32GB of built-in memory, support for Adobe's Flash, Beats by Dre speakers, and a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor.

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Initially the TouchPad will be offered as a Wi-Fi only device, though HP said it plans to release a version with 3G/4G mobile connectivity later on down the line.

But the TouchPad will not be the largest device to run HP's WebOS. At the very end of the company's unveiling, HP Executive Vice President Todd Bradley said that the company plans to tweak the OS to work on personal computers as well. That includes both laptops and PCs. Timing on that was not announced, but considering HP's top spot in the world of PC makers, the news is likely to have a dramatic effect on the PC landscape.

New phones
Along with the TouchPad, and news of bringing WebOS to PCs, HP announced two new smartphones that will run on the company's WebOS platform. The first being a third-generation version of the Pre, which in mid-2009 was the first device to ship with the WebOS operating system.

The new version of the Pre doubles the display resolution of the previous model, adds HD video recording, and a front-facing camera, along with squeezing in a 1.4GHz Qualcomm processor. HP is offering two versions of the Pre 3, one that's HSPA plus, and another that's an EVDO Rev A World phone. Either can be had with 8GB or 16GB of memory, and will ship out "this summer."

HP's tiniest WebOS phone, the "Veer."
HP's tiniest WebOS phone, the Veer HP

The other new phone is called the Veer, which HP is positioning as an alternative to what the company called "jumbo phones" during its presentation. The Veer is akin to a scaled-down version of the Pre in terms of its size, packing a similar slide-down keyboard form factor, HSPA plus, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, 8GB of storage, and an 800Mhz Snapdragon processor.

Similar to HP's other WebOS phones, the Veer can also function as a Wi-Fi hot spot to provide connectivity with other electronics. HP says it will begin shipping the Veer to customers in the spring, though the company did not specify the price.

Names and preliminary specifications for all three of HP's new devices were leaked ahead of the company's event earlier today on HP's own sales site.

Web OS updates, future
As part of the new device launch, HP also detailed WebOS 2.1, which the company says adds 50 new features, including things like voice dialing and improved multitasking. That will be arriving in all three new devices, and will be going out to older devices like the Pre 2 as a software update.

WebOS 2.1's big new feature is that it adds inter-connectivity between WebOS devices to let users share information between tablets and their WebOS smartphones. This includes application notifications, as well as things like Web browser history using a new feature called "Touch to Share" that begins that data transfer once users get two WebOS devices within near proximity to one another:

HP's new connectivity feature lets tablet users answer calls, see phone notifications, and share browser history between devices.
HP's new connectivity feature lets tablet users answer calls, see phone notifications, and share browser history between devices. HP

Another new feature as part of WebOS 2.1 is a photo gallery feature called Exhibition, which HP says can wirelessly print to its line of HP printers. This lets users swipe around photos that have been stored on the device, as well as photos that are stored in places like Facebook.

As for the trick to bring WebOS to full-size PCs and notebook computers, HP did not provide a specific timeline.

 

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