Will HP’s TouchPad rival the iPad?

The HP TouchPad has been announced recently. From what I’ve heard of the TouchPad so far it looks like it may be quite a worthy rival for the iPad – if its release isn’t too late.

It looks especially interesting because it’s the first iPad rival that brings some fresh ideas in terms of operating system, interface, and user experience. Like the Palm Pre it will run webOS, which should lend itself very well to running a tablet device.

I’d like to quote some LI members’ opinions on this point.

«Having played around with lots of different tablet products over the years, the iPad is the only one that I would consider having a successful user experience. I heard (and read) lots of people who criticized the iPad for not having a camera, or business apps, or HD capability, or some other feature, but not many focus on why it is successful where previous tablets have failed. The answer is this: the iPad is designed for minimal input. It is a media consumption device, period.
Previous tablet PCs had a desktop OS shoehorned into a tablet form factor. Those failed because the desktop pc is designed for high input. Apple’s success with iOS, in my mind, comes from their design decision to minimize input and maximize output. It’s why iPhone was such a game changer, and why the iPad succeeds where other tablets fail.
I think that as long as competing tablets recognize the wisdom of Apple’s design approach to the tablet (minimize input, maximize output) and design their tablets for media consumption and not as pc/notebook replacements, they’ll be able to compete.»
Joe Cardella

«The HP TouchPad is still vaporware at this point and still not slated to come out until the summer. Apple is slated to release the iPad 2 model by then, so the TouchPad may well end up being released on a DOA basis competing against features that leapfrog those of the TouchPad.
In the meantime, the iPad has obviously developed serious critical mass with the consumer world, and is making big in-roads into the enterprise world. One other big factor is the applications available for running on the devices. Apps = functionality, and in that regards, given the big lead Apple has in that arena, any other players will just end up playing catch-up. As the iPod captured the MP3 players market, the iPad has captured the tablet market. And as much as all of the iPod “killers” that were released threatened to eat into the iPod market, none could compete against the critical mass and lead that Apple built up. The same cycle will perpetuate itself in the tablet world with the iPad 2 and beyond. So in short, too little, too late and the TouchPad won’t end up rivaling the iPad.»
Bill Chen
Senior I.T. Manager

«There is an argument that the only people that are attracted by iPhone / iPad are those that like shiny toys rather than serious products! The reality is that people are going to have an increasing choice of products to do their computing on – what is used now is very unlikely to be around in say 10 years time (possibly not even 5 years). Everyone is getting in on the act, and you will have many other options very soon.»
Anthony Sutcliffe
ICT Manager

So … the TouchPad sounds promising, but that release timeframe takes a lot of the shine off. The device looks good, particularly as a rival for the current iPad. We know there’s going to be an iPad 2 coming along within the next couple of months though. If the TouchPad comes out after the iPad second gen that’s going to make it a whole lot tougher for it to compare and compete well with the iPad.

What do you all think of the TouchPad? Will this tempt you away from an iPad?