HP TouchPad set for April launch

Obviously the official company line is 'no comment', but it's sometimes harder to keep everything quiet about launches further down the line. Such is the case with HP and its TouchPad, which is now said to be launching in April.

That's a good six months earlier than was initially estimated and does offer up real hope that HP's wannabe iPad-beater could make it to the UK much earlier than expected. We thought it was going to be 2012, but if the date is correct, we might see the first shipments are early as this summer.

Although much depends on whether the information from Digitimes is actually true. Quoting information picked up from 'HP's upstream component partners', it claims that the tablet will ship in March, ready to hit the first shelves sometime in April. Around 4 - 5 million units will be shipped in 2011, which sounds a lot, especially compared to the initial shipment of the iPad 2, estimated to be around 400,000 - 600,000 units.

Why would you want one? Well, because it's certainly not short on features. The TouchPad has similar proportions to the original iPad, offering up a 9.7-inch capacitive multi-touch screen, 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, a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video calling and the option to sync with the new Palm Pre 3 phone for accessing your mobile calls and texts.

No pricing as yet, but we expect it to be competitive with the new iPad, which launches next week.

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