MWC 2011 - HP's new webOS Family


MWC 2011 - HP's new webOS Family

HP has done some quick work after barely a year of its acquisition of Palm and the webOS platform, having officially shown not one, but three new webOS HP devices. No doubt, the old-new OS faces some strong competition from popular operating systems like Apple iOS and Android, both of which have built their successes around a strong portfolio of handphones and a viable, growing ecosystem. This means that HP must at least not only match or outdo its competitors in technical specs at launch but also come with an OS that at least provides a different and yet, intuitive user experience. On this account, we say that we stand pretty impressed in both aspects after checking out the products at the booth.

Unfortunately, out of the three, we were only allowed to touch and handle the Veer, but suffice to say, the demonstration showed us some nifty tricks that the webOS have up its sleeves (watch out for our videos). We were most impressed with the 9.7-inch HP TouchPad, from what we noticed allowed for brisk and fast navigation, no surprises here since it is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-CPU 1.2GHz processor. The interface is very simple and bare in design with an emphasis on synergy and one-stop access. Take for example, the Photo application keeps all relevant photos from related accounts (from Facebook Snapfish, and Photobucket) in one place, even allowing you to easily print, share and even see Facebook comments on it without even having to move out from the app. The search function also allows you to search through everything, from contacts, to photos and apps - making it extremely easy to find what you want.

A clean layout with all affiliated photo accounts at the side and easy viewing of photos by simply scrolling down or up.

Remember the Touchstone technology? While it is still used for wireless charging, it is now put into place for the sharing of URLs across webOS devices. Here, a demonstrator simply taps a Pre3 on the side of the TouchPad to allow the smartphone to display the same link.

From what we saw, the TouchPad handled multi-tasking very smoothly, with no lag spotted. The apps working in the background are displayed as tabs with full view of your last activity. You can easily slip in and out of an app or drafting an email seamlessly.  A nifty feature that we liked was that you could stack these tabs together, which allows you to group similar apps or tasks (say, drafting emails) so that it is easier to keep track of your multi-tasking inventory.

With a quick tap at the bottom of the screen, users can toggle between different sizes of keyboards for different purposes - say emailing or typing up an essay would require a bigger keyboard for better accuracy.

Availability for Asia Pacific has not been announced officially yet, but a spokesperson mentioned that both the Touchpad and the Pre3 will be tentatively launched in summer of this year with the Veer slightly earlier in spring in the US.