Ina Fried

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Aiming to Address TouchPad Shortcomings, HP Updates Software While Cutting Prices

Hewlett-Packard on Monday released a software update to its TouchPad tablet that the company hopes will help address at least some of the early criticism of the product.

“Over the last month, we’ve heard from our valued community members about ways to improve the experience on the HP TouchPad,” an HP representative said in an email. “We took it to heart and are proud to announce notable enhancements that HP TouchPad users everywhere will experience with the latest OTA update available starting today.”

The free software update makes a host of changes designed to boost stability, fix bugs and improve performance, HP said. However, the changes don’t address some of the more fundamental criticism of the product and, of course, can’t address the lack of third-party apps or critiques that the hardware is more like last year’s iPad than this year’s slimmer iPad 2.

Perhaps looking to boost the product’s competitive position, HP’s Web site is touting a $50 instant rebate on the TouchPad, though the company bills the discount as a limited time offer running through Sept. 10. The 16GB and 32GB models had been priced at the same level as a comparably equipped iPad.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus