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HP joins mobile race with smartphones, tablet

Posted: 14 Feb 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:HP TouchPad? HP Pre 3? HP Veer? webOS?

Hewlett-Packard Co. has unveiled its first tablet computer and smartphones. The new products run Palm Inc.'s webOS mobile OS.

The HP TouchPad tablet comes with a 9.7-inch diagonal flush capacitive multitouch display, virtual keyboard, instant-on access and support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta. Powered by Qualcomm Inc.'s Snapdragon dual-CPU processor, the computer is available in either 16GB or 32GB configurations.

"Today we're embarking on a new era of webOS with the goal of linking a wide family of HP products through the best mobile experience available," said Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president and general manager of HP's Palm global business unit, in a statement. "The flexibility of the webOS platform makes it ideal for creating a range of innovative devices that work together to keep you better connected to your world."

HP also introduced two smartphonesthe Pre 3 and the Veerbased on webOS.

WebOS is a proprietary mobile OS by Palm, which was acquired by HP last year. It is said to offer advantages to developers because it is based on the same standards as the Web.

HP's push into tablet and smartphones is seen as an important step for the company in establishing itself as a player in mobile devices beyond the notebook PC. To succeed in this endeavor, HP will have to grapple with established playersnotably Apple Inc.and compete with the slew of smartphones already on the market and the wave of tablets that is just beginning to hit.

Last November, Rubinstein said HP was preparing to roll out several smartphones and a tablet running webOS over the next 12-to-18 months.

HP described the TouchPad's user interface as "a visual representation of your workspace." The company said the TouchPad enables true multitasking with multiple applications running simultaneously. Inc. said Tuesday it will launch a free Kindle app for HP webOS tailored for TouchPad that will provide access to more than 810,000 titles from Amazon's Kindle Store and enable users to subscribe to magazines and download movies and TV shows through the HP Movie Store.

TouchPad also offers a music app that lets users transfer and play music from personal music collections with high sound quality.

HP said it is working with Quickoffice to include the Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite, which lets users view and edit documents, such as Microsoft Word and Excel. TouchPad also comes with VPN support to connect to corporate networks, HP said.

TouchPad also features 1.3megapixel front-facing webcam and is compatible with HP's printing products, enabling users to wirelessly print documents, photos and e-mails to compatible wireless and networked HP printers, HP said.

HP TouchPad is scheduled to be available in the third quarter of 2011, HP said. Exact pricing and availability will be announced at a later date, the company said.

HP has also announced the Pre 3 smartphone emphasizing professional productivity and personal connectivity, and the Veer compact smartphone. The Pre3 is scheduled to be available in the third quarter of 2011, while the Veer is set to be available in the second quarter of 2011, HP said. Both devices also run WebOS.

- Dylan McGrath
??EE Times

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