>> HP's Touchpad is the company's latest effort to grab a piece of the growing tablet market. And although it's roughly the same size as the current tablet leader, Apple's iPad, it has significantly different hardware. I'm Bill Detwiler. During this special edition of TR Dojo, I'll crack open the HP Touchpad for a look at what's inside.
>> Depending on whom you ask, the HP Touchpad is either Dead on Arrival or a more productive alternative to the iPad. Now, TechRepublic Jason Hiner tested the Touchpad, and I encourage you to watch his full video review. Before I crack open HP's new tablet, let's take a quick look at its specs. The Touchpad has a 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, a 9.7 inch multi-touch screen that runs at a resolution of 1024 by 768, and a front facing 1.3 megapixel WebCam; supports WiFi, Bluetooth, and unlike the iPad, Adobe Flash. You can also buy a Touchstone charging dock that lets you recharge the unit's battery without plugging in a cable. This tablet runs HP's webOS, which the company got as part of the Palm acquisition. Now, a 16GB Touchpad will set you back $499.99 US, and the 32 gig model is a hundred bucks more. The device has about the same dimensions as the iPad2. It measures roughly seven and a half inches wide, nine and a half inches tall, and half an inch thick. At 1.9 pounds, the Touchpad is slightly heavier than the iPad2, but only by a few ounces. Now that I've covered most of the technical specifications, let's start cracking this baby open. Unfortunately, like the Apple iPad and unlike the Motorola Xoom, there are no visible screws on the outside of the Touchpad. Hopefully, the device's back cover, which is plastic, will pop off with some gentle persuasion. I'll start our cracking open by using a thin metal blade and then a plastic spudger to pry loose the back cover. Halfway through the process I actually discovered that most of the Touchpad's internal components are attached to the back cover, or what I'll refer to from here on out as the case. Now when opening the Touchpad, you're actually separating the device's front panel assembly from the plastic case. Luckily, the front panel is held to the case with plastic tabs and not metal clips or adhesive. The front panel assembly consists of the actual display and the digitizer. Now interestingly enough, the display is not fused to the digitizer, but instead, connected with standard Phillips screws. This means that you can replace the LCD screen or the digitizer without buying a whole new front panel. As with most tablets, the unit's lithium polymer battery takes up a large chunk of the unit's internal real estate, and surrounding the battery are at least three printed circuit boards. Along the top edge of the device are the headphone jack, microphone and camera, power button, and the ambient light sensor. Along the right side are the volume button, and what appears to be a SIM card placeholder. Now this space will likely be fully utilized in the 3G models, which HP plans to release later this summer. Along the bottom edge we find the vibration motor, contacts for the front panel's center button, and the micro USB port. Moving around to the left side we find the first of the Touchpad's two internal speakers, connectors for the digitizer, and the second speaker. Now that we've taken a quick tour around the inside of the Touchpad, I can begin to remove each of the internal components. At this point, I removed much of the Touchpad's internal hardware from the case. Here you can see the camera, vibration motor, digitizer PCB, micro USB port PCB, SIM card slot, battery, and the main PCB. Looking more closely at the main circuit board, we find the 1.2GHz QUALCOMM's Snapdragon processor, 32GB SanDisk storage chip, 1MB Samsung low power DDR2 memory module, a theoros Phonetic, WLAN chip, Wolfson micro audio hub; Kodak, and the InvenSense 3-axis gyroscope. With the Touchpad completely disassembled, there's really only one thing left to do; put it all back together again. Putting the Touchpad back together took only about 20 minutes. And as with most of the devices I crack open, I was able to put it back together in working order. So what are my observations about the HP Touchpad? Well, first, it's much easier to disassemble than the Apple iPad2 but not as easy as the Motorola Xoom. Second, HP used standard Phillips screws inside the case, and most of the internal components can be removed and replaced provided you can find replacement parts. Third, the display and digitizer are separate components. As I noted earlier, this lets you replace one without replacing the other. But along with these significant positives, there were also a few negatives. The battery can be replaced, but you must remove the main PCB to do so. The battery is also attached to the case with adhesive, which means you'll need to pry it loose. Overall, the HP Touchpad is a tablet that's built more like a PC than an iPad, which can be good if you want to repair the device but does mean that the components require a larger case. Well that does it for this special edition of TR Dojo. Be sure to check out the TR Dojo blog for links to our complete tear down gallery and to Jason Hiner's review. And as always, for more teachings on your path to becoming an IT ninja, visit trdojo.techrepublic.com. Sign up for our newsletter or follow me on Twitter. Thanks for visiting the TR Dojo.
==== Transcribed by Automatic Sync Technologies ====