HP has become the latest technology vendor to launch a tablet device that is set to compete with Apple's iPad, unveiling the HP TouchPad tablet in the US.
Check out our guide to the best upcoming tablets in 2011.
The HP TouchPad tablet has a 9.7in touchscreen with the same 1024x768 screen resolution as the iPad and runs the Palm-developed webOS operating system, which powered the Palm Pre smartphone; a product that sadly never made it to Australian shores.
The HP TouchPad tablet also has a dual core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor, a front facing 1.3-megapixel camera for video recording, 16 or 32GB of internal memory, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and stereo speakers. The first HP TouchPad tablet released in the US will be a Wi-Fi only version, with 3G versions to follow.
A key feature of the HP TouchPad's webOS operating system is "cards" — a unique way of swiping through multiple open applications. HP claims users can easily move back and forth between cards, as well as group related cards in stacks. Other webOS features on the HP TouchPad include a pop-up notification system, built-in Skype support, and HP Synergy, which groups contacts from multiple sources in a single application. The HP TouchPad tablet also handles wireless printing and will synchronise with Google Docs, QuickOffice, Dropbox and Box.net.
The HP TouchPad also has "Touch-to-share" technology, which enables users to share content, read text messages and even answer phone calls from a compatible HP smartphone by simply tapping the devices together.
HP acquired struggling Palm for US$1.2 billion in July 2010, and the TouchPad tablet is the first of a suite of webOS products promised by the company. HP hasn't yet confirmed whether the TouchPad tablet will launch in Australia.
Further reading: HP TouchPad vs. iPad