Unlike many touch-screen keyboards we've tested, the TouchPad's on-screen keyboard uses a top row of dedicated numeric keys. The keyboard can also be resized using the button in the bottom-right corner, allowing more or less room on the screen for viewing your composition.
The TouchPad's ability to triage e-mail is one of its standout features. During setup, the TouchPad prompts you to enter any and all of your e-mail accounts, including Gmail, Microsoft Exchange, Yahoo, and more.
Just as HP infuses its e-mail and calendar app with all of your online accounts, so, too, does the photos app. Your photos from Facebook, Photobucket, Snapfish, and others are all pulled in and cached to your TouchPad, alongside any photos you may have stored locally.
The included messaging app also does a decent job of integrating several of the more popular instant-messaging services on the Web. At launch, HP builds in compatibility with AIM, Google Talk, Skype, and Yahoo. If you also happen to own an HP WebOS phone, you can pair the devices over Bluetooth and both send and receive SMS messages through the app, as well.
One of the core features of HP's WebOS is its integration with a broad range of Web-based services. After linking your accounts to the TouchPad's software, apps such as calendar, photos, messaging, and e-mail will automatically pull in your data from the Web.
The TouchPad can directly download third-party apps through the built-in HP App Catalog. Here again, HP took a chance to distinguish itself from the app-buying experience on the iPad or Android Market. Upon opening the HP App Catalog, users are presented with digital magazine called Pivot, which acts as a kind of shopping guide front end to the app catalog.
If you own a WebOS phone, such as the HP Pre 3, you can pair it with your TouchPad. Once the two devices are linked you can then send and receive SMS messages on TouchPad by way of your phone. You also have the ability to wirelessly transfer content between devices by simply placing them together.