WebOS based tablet aims to be more business friendly than rivals
Tech4Biz | 22 Jul 2011 :
The long awaited HP TouchPad is now available. Running the much praised webOS operating system acquired with Palm, the device is aimed very much at business as well as the consumer and carries many features that will make it an easier fit with enterprise security than other comparable devices.
The top benefit of the TouchPad is the multitasking that webOS delivers. Any running application can be de-focused and another application opened. When multiple applications are open, they appear as cards on the screen that can be scrolled through independently, with full cut and paste functionality between them.
No other tablet, or smart phone, operating system currently offers such an easy, intuitive and effective system of multitasking. There is also a facility to group applications in card stacks, allowing users to associate certain applications into logical groups, adding further value.
As if that were not enough, HP has made great strides to make webOS, not only on the TouchPad but on the Pre3 smart phone too, more attractive to enterprise with device encryption and accommodation for enterprise class e-mail handling.
Another key feature of the TouchPad is its ability to be managed remotely, as a fleet. Administrators can prevent unauthorised use of any TouchPad. Security policies can be implemented, such as requiring alphanumeric passwords of a specific complexity or length, with a set the number of failed password attempts after which data is erased. Remote wipe of lost or stolen devices is also available to administrators. Cisco AnyConnect and IPsec VPN support are aimed squarely at high level corporate users. Browsing and e-mail are protected by 128-bit encryption and SSL, allowing secure Exchange access. Where a device is lost or stolen, HP says that a new device can be restored for a user entirely over the air.
The other webOS devices, such as the Pre range of smart phones, means that there is already a healthy application selection to support the TouchPad, with HP putting considerable resources behind the push for more applications for more developers. Though not of interest to the enterprise users of course, a good example of the ease with applications can be ported for webOS was found in Angry Birds by Rovio. HP said that it was successfully ported in a matter of days.
The TouchPad is available in 16GB and 32GB versions, with prices at €479 and €579 respectively.
"What makes HP TouchPad a compelling alternative to competing products is webOS," said Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president and general manager, Palm Global Business Unit, HP. "The platform's unmatched features and flexibility will continue to differentiate HP products from the rest of the market for both personal and professional use. This is only the beginning of what HP's scale can do with webOS."
Optional accessories for the TouchPad include the Touchstone wireless charger and wireless keyboard, which are sold separately, as unfortunately, is HP cover.
The core specifications of the TouchPad are also impressive, sporting a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-CPU APQ8060 processor, with a front-facing 1.3MP camera, 6300mAh battery, 3.5mm stereo multi-jack with internal stereo speakers.
Connectivity is via 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi with WPA/WPA2/WEP/802.1X authentication and Bluetooth. Dimensions are 240x14x190mm with a class competitive 740g weight.
While its business credentials are likely to make the TouchPad a commercial success in enterprise, it is unlikely to knock the iPad off its consumer perch. While the TouchPad exceeds the iPad and iPad 2 in certain areas, it is unlikely to be enough of a challenger overall to usurp the iPad in the consumer space. That said, there may be a reverse of the consumerisation effect in that as businesses acquire TouchPads, perhaps as part of major IT infrastructure deals with HP, users may find that they are useful devices through use, and consider them over iOS or Android tablets-they are certainly worth considering.