It’s TouchPad vs. iPad On July 1
“We will not release a product that isn’t perfect.”
That’s what Hewlett-Packard CEO Léo Apotheker said at D9 this year when asked why the company’s TouchPad tablet will be different from RIM’s PlayBook.
Well, evidently the TouchPad’s finally reached the necessary stage of perfection, because HP gave it a hard launch date this morning. The webOS tablet will hit the market on July first. An interesting choice of dates, as this means the device will ship exactly a year after HP’s acquisition of Palm closed. Price for the Wi-Fi-only version of the device, which will be the first to ship: $499.99 for a 16 GB version, and $599.99 for 32 GB. Pre-orders begin June 19. A connected version of the device will follow later this summer in partnership with AT&T.
As I’ve said before, its application and content ecosystem might need growing, but the TouchPad looks like it’s got a decent shot at becoming the frontrunner in the massing horde of tablet hopefuls chasing Apple’s iPad. Certainly the hardware and OS seem formidable enough to at least differentiate the device in an increasingly crowded market, particularly with HP’s massive marketing engine promoting it. And if the company’s integration story proves to be as good in practice as it sounded on stage during its unveiling earlier this year, the TouchPad could mount a decent challenge to the iPad — even though it is a bit late to market after the iPad 2.
As HP Personal Systems Group Executive VP Todd Bradley said earlier this year, “We think of the tablet as one piece of a broader ecosystem, one piece of the connected experience we’re going to create … As we think about webOS and how it enables everything from smartphones to tablets to PCs to potentially other large-screen devices, we see an enormous opportunity, both for ourselves and for our customers, to get the best Web experience, the best content experience, that they can.”