HP TouchPad: 5 features the iPad lacks

The TouchPad boasts a better notification system, phone pairing and a resizable keyboard.

HP's TouchPad looks pretty similar to Apple's iPad on the outside but the inside is a different story.

We know what the iPad brings to the table: a huge selection of tablet-optimized apps; access to the most popular digital music and video store in the world; and the ability to buy the tablet right now.

But when HP launches the TouchPad this summer, it'll have some software features of its own that the iPad doesn't. Here are five of the best:

Notifications

HP's TouchPad has a dedicated bar at the top of the screen for notifications, using icons to inform you of incoming text messages or e-mails. Tapping these icons brings up a small pop-up, allowing you to sort through messages without leaving the current app. The iPad's notifications, by comparison, are crude pop-ups that interrupt whatever you're doing.

Resizable Keyboard, With Numbers

The virtual keyboard on HP's TouchPad comes in four sizes, letting you find the right balance between comfort and screen real estate. And unlike the iPad, which makes you switch to a different set of keys for numbers, the TouchPad's keyboard includes number keys above the main group of letters.

Phone Pairing

If you've got an HP Pre 3 or Veer smartphone, you can tap it against the TouchPad to transfer a website, text message, phone call, document or song from one device to the other. You can take or make calls on the TouchPad via Bluetooth with a nearby WebOS phone and view your phone's text messages on the big screen.

Social Photos

On the iPad, your photo gallery is an island of locally stored images that can only be shared with the outside world through e-mail. The TouchPad's photo application is more social, incorporating pictures from Facebook -- including comments - along with Snapfish and Photobucket. You can use the built-in photo app to upload locally stored photos to social networks as well.

"Just Type"

The "Just Type" feature of WebOS is similar to the iPad's universal search bar, letting you search by text through apps, contacts or the Web. But HP's version goes a step further by letting you crank out e-mails and status updates without ever entering an individual app.

Now that you've read about some of the HP TouchPad's software perks, see how the hardware stacks up against the iPad and Motorola's Xoom.

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Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
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