HP TouchPad tablet officially launched

It's been talked-about in the past, but never actually seen 'in the flesh' (so to speak) until last night. Yes, we're talking about the latest iPad-wannabe, HP TouchPad tablet, which has just had its official launch in the US.

Looking not unlike those leaked images from last month, it's the first HP device to use webOS, which the company acquired with the purchase of Palm. Interestingly, there's no mention of the name 'Palm' on here. So let's presume that particular brand name has been put to bed for good. Which is a shame.

In terms of size, the TouchPad has a 9.7-inch capacitive multi-touch screen and is just 13mm thick, weighing in at 1.5lbs, pretty much the same size and weight as an iPad. You can see where HP is looking to pick up sales. Inside, there's a Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, the option of 16GB or 32GB of storage plus Bluetooth, Wi-Fi. microUSB port and a slot for a sim card, should you want to use it on a mobile network. There's also Beats by Dr Dre audio technology and stereo speakers, no doubt for some 'street' credibility.

On the outer casing, there is an iPad-like 'home' button and a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video calling. Apparently it syncs with the new Palm Pre 3 phone for accessing your mobile calls and texts and if you have a fancy new HP printer, you can use it to print wirelessly from the tablet.

It will be interesting to see how HP markets this, but already, it looks like 'iPad alternative' is the likely tag line, with apps for accessing leading magazines available at launch, plus popular games (like Angry Birds), easy social networking and that staple of just about every mobile device right now, the Amazon Kindle app, adapted for use on webOS.

No news on price or availability in the UK, but previous reports suggested September 2011 for the US, much later for the UK. In other words, 2012 is likely - and probably only if it takes off initially in the US. More news when we have it.

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