HP unveils TouchPad tablet

palm_touchpad.top.jpgHP's forthcoming TouchPad will be one of the first tablets to match the iPad's screen size. By David Goldman, staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday unveiled a long-awaited new tablet device called the TouchPad, alongside two new smartphones.

The TouchPad comes with an iPad-like 9.7-inch screen, a front-facing camera and weighs 1.6 lbs. It can multitask and sync with other HP devices like smartphones and printers, and it can display Web content encoded with Abobe Flash (something iPads won't do).

Unique features of the TouchPad include a resizeable keyboard and the high-quality "Beats" audio speakers that HP features on many of its laptops.

Slated for release this summer, the Wi-Fi-only version of the TouchPad will be unveiled first, with the 3G and 4G versions hitting the market at a later date.

HP's new smartphones included the Veer, a credit-card sized smartphone with a pull-out keyboard, and its slightly larger cousin, the Palm Pre 3.

HP left out one key detail about the TouchPad: Its price tag. The company plans to announce pricing later.

The devices are the first fruits of HP's $1.2 billion white knight purchase of Palm 10 months ago.

Palm went "all-in" with its then-new webOS operating system when it debuted the Palm Pre in January 2009. Despite rave reviews of the webOS platform, the Pre and its smaller sister, the Pixi, never quite caught on with consumers.

After buying Palm, HP opted to scale up webOS, saying it would eventually become a platform that goes beyond just smartphones. HP will also unveil webOS printers and PCs later on, the company said.

The OS has failed so far to attract application developers, but HP announced several new high-profile app partners, including Amazon's Kindle app, Facebook and Fortune parent company Time Inc.

In a direct shot at Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500), HP and Time Inc. plan to make some of Time Inc.'s magazines available for sale under a subscription model. The iPad only currently allows a subscription service for one content provider: News Corp's The Daily. Apple says it is working to expand that offering to other publishers.

Apple has thus far dominated the tablet space, selling 14.8 million iPads since its April 2010 launch.

But dozens of other tablet makers debuted their designs at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, hoping to capitalize on the excitement that surrounded the iPad. Motorola (MMI) even advertised its Xoom tablet during the Super Bowl.

DisplaySearch forecasts that there will be 55.7 million tablets sold in 2011.

Tech blog Engadget leaked photos several weeks ago of a nine-inch HP / webOS tablet codenamed "Topaz" and said a seven-inch tablet codenamed "Opal" would also be released. But HP didn't announce anything about a smaller tablet on Wednesday.

Shares of HP (HPQ, Fortune 500) rose 1% Wednesday. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,730.11 -27.80 -0.16%
Nasdaq 5,009.21 -3.91 -0.08%
S&P 500 2,076.78 -0.64 -0.03%
Treasuries 2.39 -0.02 -1.03%
Data as of 1:47pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.03 0.00 0.00%
Apple Inc 126.44 0.00 0.00%
Intel Corp 30.56 0.00 0.00%
Micron Technology In... 19.07 0.00 0.00%
General Electric Co 26.78 0.00 0.00%
Data as of Jul 2
Sponsors

Sections

Greece votes Sunday in a crisis referendum that will determine the country's future in the eurozone. The result is too close to call. More

Entrepreneur Guillaume Gauthereau is on a mission to build a 50 to a 100 acre sanctuary in New York to provide refuge to honey bees. More

The most expensive schools in the nation are charging close to $50,000 a year in tuition and fees alone. More