Since HP claims its webOS tablet, HP TouchPad has the stuff to beat Apple’s iPad 2, it’s only fitting that we run a comparison between the two 9.7inch tablets – based on hardware, software, and price.
iPad 2 released on March 11, 2011 and has been sailing ahead of all tablets ever since. It is available in black and white, 16GB/32GB/64GB, and Wi-Fi/3G models. HP TouchPad will release on July 1 but you can preorder it at Amazon, Best Buy, HP, Newegg, Staples, and TigerDirect since June 19. A white model of the webOS tablet is also in the offing.
The iPad 2 features a 9.7inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen multitouch display with IPS technology at 1024x768p resolution at 132 PPI, protected with fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating. Just 8.8mm thick, the iOS device features a front VGA camera and rear camera with 720p HD video shooting capabilities at 30fps. iPad 2 is powered by a 1GHz dual-core Apple A5 custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chip; and features built-in speakers and microphone. The 25-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery provides 10 hours of video playback. For the rest, you have three-axis gyro, accelerometer, ambient light sensor, WiFi, A-GPS, digital compass, external mail support, accessibility options, 3G, and 16GB/32GB/64GB internal storage. iPad 2 supports a wide range of languages too.
Software and apps
This is where the competition is going to be tough – webOS versus iOS. webOS is ahead of Honeycomb in maturity, finesse, and quality experience. While Android tabs still need to catch up, HP TouchPad will be strongly placed here.
What does webOS bring to the table? There’s seamless multitasking; single view of all your contact information – Facebook, Google, Microsoft Exchange, LinkedIn, Yahoo accounts, IM and text messages, etc.; type to email, compose a message, update status, etc. – all without launching an app; notifications that are non-invasive and easy to follow; and Touchstone technology that allows webOS devices to share photos, websites, info, etc. with a touch; support for Flash (big no-no on iPad 2) and HTML5. HP TouchPad also offers QuickOffice Connect Mobile Suite for viewing and editing of business docs, spreadsheets and presentations. However, the editing feature will not be available at launch.
On the apps side, HP’s repertoire is limited but growing. Angry Birds is definitely in, you’ll be happy to know, besides Evernote, The Weather Channel, TuneinRadio, Skype, Kindle, etc. HP is scaling PDK apps and working on in-app purchasing to get more apps on board.
Now, what about iOS 4? The intuitive interface developed by Apple offers multitasking too. You can also create folders to organize apps. There’s FaceTime chat for all iOS devices. iOS 4 supports encrypted network communication so websites do not have access to your private data, parental controls help you protect your kids from inappropriate and unsafe content and also avoid accidental deletions of apps, PC syncing to backup all your iPad 2 content, and accessibility options for people with disabilities. iPad 2 does not support Flash and only viewing of documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in mail attachments is enabled.
Apple’s App Store is distinctly superior to HP’s with 65,000 apps and games available. iPad 2 and HP TouchPad are comparable in OS capabilities but there’s a wide gap when it comes to applications and games.
Price and availability
The 16GB and 32GB WiFi iPad 2 are available for $500 and $600 respectively as are the 16GB and 32GB WiFi models of HP TouchPad. iPad 2 is already here while the HP TouchPad will reach customers on July 1. Again, HP TouchPad is available for preorder in North America and Europe.
HP TouchPad matches iPad 2 in hardware specs and price. The battle is really going to be between webOS and iOS, and how quickly HP ramps up its application store.
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