HP TouchPad tablet to ship by summer of 2011

TouchPad, the new tablet computer from HP, will run webOS, an operating system originally developed by Palm.

TouchPad, the new tablet computer from HP, runs the Palm OS. The TouchPad is expected to be available sometime this summer.

HP will soon roll out a tablet device called the TouchPad, and if early reports are any indication, the TouchPad could be a worthy rival to the Apple iPad. In fact, the TouchPad looks a lot like the iPad, from the 1.5 pounds weight to the 9.7-inch screen. But unlike the iPad, the TouchPad runs the Palm webOS, which has consistently garnered rave reviews from critics – and which HP hopes will give the TouchPad a leg-up over the iPad.

Among the other niceties included on the TouchPad is a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, internal stereo speakers, a front-facing 1.3-megapixel webcam, and (like the iPad) a light sensor, accelerometer, magnetometer, and a gyroscope."

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"TouchPad is more than just a pretty face," HP senior vice president Jon Rubinstein said at an event in San Francisco this week. "The TouchPad is all about you – how you work, play, and connect with the things you value most." As the AFP notes, HP's recent acquisition of Palm had everything to do with the Palm webOS, which many analysts believe HP will use to wade further into the growing tablet market.

The current tablet king, of course, is the iPad, which has sold tremendously well in recent months. If Apple's past product releases are any guide – not to mention the gazillions of blog posts devoted to the as-of-yet hypothetical Apple iPad 2 – a refreshed edition of the device will hit the shelves this spring. (Possibly without a home button. But that's a different story.)

So even the TouchPad is a truly magical device – and we're not doubting it could be; we like Palm devices, as do others – it will have to contend with the massive crush of publicity generated by any Apple launch. Just something to mull over.

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