iPad

Three areas HP TouchPad trumps Apple iPad

Naturally, the biggest question about the HP TouchPad is how it stacks up against the iPad. Jason Hiner demonstrates the three areas where the TouchPad is better than the iPad.

Hewlett-Packard's webOS tablet has arrived. The TouchPad faces a number of challenges, including lack of apps and entertainment content and countering the momentum of the iPad. Still, there are plenty of people interested in tablets that aren't sold on the iPad and are waiting for something that's more productive and not tethered the Apple ecosystem. For them, the TouchPad could be the answer. This is a tablet that gets a lot of things right for professionals and power users. Here are the top three.

You can watch the five-minute video where I demonstrate the TouchPad's top features, or you can read the full transcript below.

Transcript of video

The long-anticipated HP TouchPad has arrived and, of course, the number one question everyone has is how it stacks up against the Apple iPad.

I'm Jason Hiner of TechRepublic, and instead of telling you the areas where the TouchPad has advantages over the iPad, I figured it would be more useful to show you. There are three big ones and that's what we're going to talk about today.So let's get to it.

Number 1: Multi-tasking, especially in email

This one shouldn't come as much of a surprise. If you're familiar the Palm Pre smartphone, then you know that one of the biggest strengths of webOS is multitasking. Most mobile operating systems -- including Apple's iOS -- struggle in this department because of the constraints of smartphone screens, battery life, and ARM processors. However, webOS does it better than any of them with a UI that makes it quick and easy to flip between apps and close apps, a notification system that provides at-a-glance information for messaging, calendars, and system info, and the ability to quickly interact between multiple apps or multiple windows within the same app. This is especially useful in the email app, where you can compose a new message while jumping back to your inbox to reference a couple other messages or even quickly copy-and-paste from one of those messages into the email that you're composing.

Number 2: The full Web experience

The TouchPad offers Web browsing that gets a lot closer to the desktop Web experience than the iPad. A lot of that has to do with its Flash capabilities, but it also handles some other interactive Web code better than the iPad, even though both are based on Webkit browsers. As for Flash, I'm not a huge fan of Flash and try to avoid it whenever possible because it's such a resource hog, but there large swaths of the Web that are still based on Flash and will be for several more years until HTML5 becomes the standard. The TouchPad offers a much better Flash experience than the buggy Flash you'll find on Android tablets, but it's not quite as smooth as the excellent Flash experience on the 7-inch BlackBerry PlayBook. Of course, the iPad does not support Flash at all. An example of how the TouchPad also works on some sites where the iPad does not is WordPress, the popular blogging tool. The WordPress Web interface does not work on the iPad, but it does work on the TouchPad. I actually started my review of the TouchPad on the TouchPad itself with its expanded virtual keyboard, and then continued it when I docked the TouchPad in landscape mode in the wireless docking station and wireless keyboard.

Number 3: Interaction between tablet and smartphone

The other area where HP has done some solid innovation is in the interaction between tablet and smartphone. Most of the professionals who have a tablet also have a smartphone and there are times when it gets clumsy and confusing as to when to use which one for which task. HP has addressed this by letting you pair one of its smartphones with the TouchPad. I tested this with the Pre3 and was pretty impressed. It allows you to take a call received on your phone and bump it over to speakerphone on the tablet or take a text message from the phone and bump it over to the tablet's instant messaging app. There's also a feature called Touch-to-Share that allows you to take a Web page you have open on the TouchPad and share it to the smartphone by simply touching the phone to the tablet. This is fairly rudimentary stuff and it's limited just to HP phones, but it's nice start in bridging these two devices in some meaningful ways.

Wrap-up

Overall, I think the TouchPad's strengths will especially appeal to professionals who want to use a tablet as a productivity device. These are primarily the folks who want to buy their own tablets and then use them for work.

The TouchPad isn't perfect. It's still a little laggy once in a while, it's missing some key applications, and it will need some better content deals to function as a media device, but it's arguably the most productive tablet yet and the first one that can serve as a legitimate laptop replacement for professionals on the road.

I'm Jason Hiner of TechRepublic and for more on the HP TouchPad take a look at my full product review and extensive photo gallery of both the TouchPad and its accessories. You can also find my blog Tech Sanity Check at sanity.techrepublic.com and you can find me on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonhiner. Thanks for watching. See you next time.

Also read

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

37 comments
BBaldwin803
BBaldwin803

Since HP gave up the fight and all of the sudden the Touchpad is available for $99 to $149 I saw it as a no-brained to buy one to compare it to my iPad2. (Or should I say that it WAS available.. Seems I just bought the last 32gb Touchpad from BestBuy at the liquidation price and everyone else seems to be out of stock). Once I go pick it up from the store and get a chance to use it I'll come back and give a review. On a side note.. My condolences to those folks that put their trust in HP and invested $500+ for what turns out to be a defunct product that is now worth @ $100 or less. That's got to suck..!!!

fhrivers
fhrivers

That's the fundamental flaw of these non-Apple devices. There really isn't any compelling use for them at these current price-points. iPads sell mostly to Apple consumers. Recently I bought a Nook Color primarily for reading epubs. It was $250. I could easily justify that purchase because I'm a heavy reader. However, if you already own a laptop, just how can you justify dropping $500-$800 on a tablet? I'm sorry, but "instant boot" isn't compelling. That justification smacks of trying to rationalize a bad purchase.

8string
8string

The ipad isn't better from a hardware experience, but for video production for example,or medical use there already are great apps for field use, slate applications, logging of shoots, epocrates for medical, apps for finding out the declination of the sun for field video shoots, model releases, etc. The vertical appsalreadyon the ipad make it more compelling, though i wish it supported flash, usb, etc. This is why it's not the hardware (and neither was it with the ipod), but hp needs to do a bigger job evangelizing the apps, and sticking with it until the build a credibile library. That might be the biggest challenge.

wtk450
wtk450

iPad is King, and will be for a long time. Come on people. Let us be honest for a change. Thanks to all.

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

The iPad. To me a tablet is a hunk of plastic, metal and glass that delivers value through content and applications. So far the iPad with it's "hateful" iTunes wins. As soon as Android, WebOS, Blackberry et-al offer a seamless content experience they will begin to give the iPad real competition. That said I would buy an HP with WebOS over a Motorola XOOM in a heartbeat.

rvgammill
rvgammill

I love a spirited debate for how superior Mac is to competition. One for the Mactistas on WordPress. Two on Apple does seem to lead product introduction. Then the rest of the world kills them with pricing, integration and functionality. Since Apple always fails with these three, I would say their rush to release the Next Big Thing summarizes the basic defect of Apple, it glorifies every shortcoming as an elite feature. Mactistas will always rant with foam on their lips; the rest of us will never buy into it.

MacNewton
MacNewton

" The TouchPad also works on some sites where the iPad does not is WordPress, the popular blogging tool. The WordPress Web interface does not work on the iPad, but it does work on the TouchPad. " As I type this I have an iPad sitting beside me with on of my WordPress Blogs on it. Not sure why you're saying that the iPad can't access or read or post on WordPress. I'm having absolutely no problems. Jason your credibly just dropped down to the bottom of the list. Can redo your research and edit your statement please. People need to know the truth!

pgit
pgit

Does this have a ssh client available, and RDP capability? I would imagine not. I can't justify a tablet until I can use it to remote in to customer's systems to do work.

desilvav
desilvav

... screw up agin. For all of us: 1. in the past who have first of all expected a super product and then it never materialised, and second when the marketing catch is supplied through updates and had to abandon the system design based on HP documentation; 2. who bought the product and then had to buy a shopping trolly load of stuff to do what is required ... 3. etc., etc. THE REASON APPLE SUCCEEDS IS BECAUSE EVEN IF THE PRODUCT IS INADEQUATE FOR US PROFESSIONALS IT WORKS

daniel.khaw
daniel.khaw

It's very funny thing... When i received this email this morning, I saw the title of the newsletter. Without hesitation, I knew who the author of this article would be... None other than Jason Hiner. Would be a good read, thought i'd give this opinion first before reading.

tomkinsr
tomkinsr

So, why did most of the comaprisons go against an iPad? Oh, I get it market share. The Playbook does all that and more and it's lot less expensive. If I wanted to pay out so much for a tablet, I'd buy another laptop. If I want portability, I can get 10 times the bang with a netbook.

SHCA
SHCA

None of this is relevant. Apple makes superb, reliable hardware, and hp, well ...

jonrosen
jonrosen

The lack of reliance on iTunes

stevenw
stevenw

I purchased the BlackBerry PlayBook the day it came out because I was excited to see where the future of BlackBerry is heading. I really like the PlayBook but after using it do find myself suggesting people look into the iPad that are interested in a Tablet. I will feel more comfortable recommending the PlayBook once the PIM apps become native and not tied to BlackBerry Bridge and the Native SDK gets released to developers. I am interested in getting my hands on an HP TouchPad because I find it similar to the PlayBook with some refined features such as Window/Application Stacks and the built in ability to print to most modern HP printers. Printing is something other tablets just can't do or can't easily do. I got a look at the HP Slate 500 Tablet PC which runs Windows 7 Professional and was real impressed with it. Being Windows, I could use this tablet at work and replace my Notebook PC. The HP Slate does cost more than the Tablets out on the market but if you need a tablet for work than the HP Slate 500 is worth taking a look at. (More info at: http://shopping1.hp.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/WW-USSMBPublicStore-Site/en_US/-/USD/ViewProductDetail-Start;pgid=xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?ProductUUID=84UQ7EN5jvoAAAEtbbJVIOIv&CatalogCategoryID=iugQ7habYEAAAAEvKwJKiY4p&JumpTo=OfferList )

BBaldwin803
BBaldwin803

After a day of using the Touchpad I can honestly say that it ain't no iPad..!!! Don't get me wrong, there's a lot that HP got right, and Apple could learn a thing or two from the Touchpad, but it falls very short of the quality of experience that you get with the iPad. Some of the things HP got right include: - Multitasking is much smoother with the Touchpad than it is with the iPad. It's super simple to switch back and forth between Running apps, and HP's way of closing an app is great (swipe it off the top of the screen and it's closed). - The Touchpad's keyboard layout is really nice with the number keys across the top. The only thing that this layout does that might be a problem is that the keys are smaller, and typos might be harder to avoid (as opposed to typing with the iPad's larger keys). - The Touchpad's integration with Facebook (for photos) is awesome. Now the downside to the Touchpad (compared to the iPad): - The very first thing that I noticed was that it's bulky compared to my iPad2. Even though the edges are rounded, it still feels bigger than the first generation iPad. - The next thing that I noticed right off the bat was that the Touchpad feels, well, cheap! It's not nearly as well designed and finished as the iPad. It's back is made of what appears to be plastic. - Even though it's got a plastic back, it's still as heavy as my iPad2. - When using the touch interface the sensitivity of selecting a link, or a button, or other small areas of the screen is really kind of clumsy and difficult. - It's slow..!! From the little things like the time it takes to get feedback that your selection has been accepted, to the tasks that really take a long time like saving many of the settings... The Touchpad is much slower to react and respond. - Here's a big one... The picture quality from the camera is horrible. When using the Touchoad for Skype the picture quality from the Touchpad is BAD. It's very slow and very pixelated. It's almost unbearable..!! Especially for me considering that I bought it primarily for video calling!!! There's more, but I think you get the picture. I find it hard to believe that HP originally priced the Touchpad right along side the iPad. There's no way that anyone at HP had an iPad to use as comparison to the Touchpad and could be objective and say that the Touchpad was an equal to the iPad. It simply falls very short..!!! But, in my case, when you consider that I paid $550 less for the 32 Gb Touchpad than I did for my 32 Gb iPad... I'd say I just about got what I paid for (in both cases).

JJFitz
JJFitz

Whether you would have a use for a tablet or not depends on your lifestyle and line of work. I run a computer services department for a biotech company with several office, laboratory, and manufacturing locations. I attend several meetings per week and need to take lots of notes. I also log in the impromptu help desk request that arises as I walk around the buildings and internet access as I walk around is a great resource. My 7" tablet fits in my back pocket as I do my rounds. A 10" tablet would be too clunky for my line of work. "Instant on" is a critical feature for me. just because you have no use for it does not make it unimportant to others. We all have different user needs.

JJFitz
JJFitz

multi-tasking on the HP "seamless content experience".

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

Jason specifically said "Web interface". There is really no need to "call him out" when you are probably using the WordPress app. Which is there because the iPad doesn't do Flash just like Jason stated...

mckinnej
mckinnej

Since the topic of that paragraph is Flash compatibility, which the iPad obviously does not have, my first guess is you are accessing a non-Flash version of that site. I don't use that site myself so I can't verify this, but it seems like you should have done some checking yourself before you start throwing rocks at Jason.

casper67
casper67

that's why apple stuff, including itunes has updates 3 times a week, just like Windows-based systems. My first ipod touch I bought 3 months ago crapped out after an update. finally go it restored, but apple stuff works with apple stuff and had tons of updates/fixes after they're out..iphone4 comes to mind, oh yeah, and if you're tired of trying to use the virtual keyboard, just buy a docking keyboard, and buy the anti-scratch covers, and buy the ipad folder, and then all the other "external" add-ons you'll have to carry with you 'cause it only has one micro-usb port... no extras with apple stuff at all

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

Apple doesn't hit home runs any more frequently than the HP crowd. Think laser jet versus laserwriter and HP ran them into the ground. I also remember buying Apple stock at $13 a share :) Getting back to the Newton they have put in their dues and refined a device to the point that folks like Jason write articles entitled "Will X be an iPad killer?" So long as they have that lead I will continue to buy their product. And that goes for any company...

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

I'm not sure if that's good or bad. :-)

davidengel84
davidengel84

I have to agree with you. I think all the hype about tablets is just simply that they're new and a fun toy. I still don't see a reason for me to spend $500 to $800 on a tablet when my Dell Latitude E6510 laptop will out work any tablet any day. Sure, I can't slip it in a small bag but I still consider it highly portable.

JJFitz
JJFitz

If I had to choose based on my needs, I would go with the TouchPad. Multi-Tasking is a killer feature. I am not a fan of the silo approach of the iPad. The full web experience with Flash is preferable although honestly, I disable Flash on my Android tablet by default and enable it only when I need it. The option to do this is key. I can see where the Smartphone / Tablet connection would be very useful but I wouldn't want to be locked in to an HP hardware ecosystem any more than I want to be locked into Apple's ecosystem. I think I'll pass. Good review Jason! I suspect the fanbois of all sides will be coming out of the woodwork soon.

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

To my assertion that to be successful one needs to focus on content versus perceived capability. No one can challenge that the iPad is king regarding content e.g., apps and media. Numbers speak for themselves. It is also a fact that the iPad sucks wrt Flash web experience. Having said that it seems to me that saying the Touchpad multitasks better without any sort of quantification goes into the realm of subjective. Subjective leads to difference of opinion, difference of opinion leads to quasi religious war. Too ingrained to be trained he is...

pmcm
pmcm

I think the one reason I like my Ipad is there is no waiting for it to boot up, versus a laptop or netbook. I get home from work and turn it on and check my email and read some USA Today...unless you don't mind keeping something turned on and plugged in all the time.

casper67
casper67

but if a tablet's purpose is to be mobile and productive I need to be able to do what I need/want with it, not what the form factor dictates. I frequently need to have several e-mails open to reference, browse/search the web, and cut/paste into a doc or spreadsheet so i can respond to my clients and colleagues. so I'd argue apple's rose coloured version of multi-tasking doesn't cut it for this user.

JJFitz
JJFitz

I would define multitasking as the ability to run any app concurrently on the same processor. I would call the ability to only run a specific set of apps (such as music) in the background while accessing another app selective tasking. I am not saying one approach is better than the other - just different.

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

I say tomatoe... Can you read multiple e-mail messages simultaneously? :) You are spot on in that you aren't allowed to throw multiple instances of mail into the scheduler. But I don't think that is a negative and CAN'T is different from WON'T. On a tablet device I wouldn't want a full footprint of the same app instances taking up primary memory. Nor would I want a battery powered device wasting cycles running e-mail in the background. That is why I have a PC hooked to AC! Android takes a desktop OS task scheduler and shoehorns it onto a radically different form factor. It's not that iOS can't do that kind of multitasking, it just doesn't make good sense for the form factor. That may be frustrating to users especially when you are used to a desktop OS, but I'll trade intelligent resource management (including extended run time) over not having to save to drafts to refer to another message any day. So yes, iOS really does multitask, and in a manner that is well suited to the form factor e.g., I really can listen to my music app in the background while composing an e-mail message. :)

TD88888
TD88888

Can you have more than one e-mail message open? Can you begin writing an e-mail, then open the inbox to refer to a message without saving to drafts? Ipad only does an intermediate form of multitasking, but hey, its better than a unitasker I guess.

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

While it is true that the iPad lacked MT until recently, it has it now and a double click of the button gives you access to running tasks. It just bothers me when someone says "X multitasks better than Y" and I get the feeling that the only rationale behind it is "X isn't Y". That isn't fanaticism it is an application of critical comparison based on the scientific method.

JJFitz
JJFitz

I saw the TouchPad multi-task between apps and between email messages. That's an observation and I was merely pointing out that it has some compelling content features as well. It is not subjective. I say if a tablet meets your needs, more power to you. I usually get accused of fanboism when I point out what a device is lacking. This is a new one.

JJFitz
JJFitz

The "instant on" of my Android HTC Flyer makes it a tool that I carry around in my back pocket at work all day to jot down notes, check my email, or look up something on the internet. Waiting for a laptop to boot up has become a drag. I find myself using my tablet more and more at home for casual surfing too.

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