HP getting set to take another stab at the tablet market, here are my thoughts

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Earlier today, we reported that HP is getting ready to jump back into the muddy waters that are the tablet market. As someone who has used an HP tablet for the last 11 months, I just wanted to share my thoughts on this new development. When I got my TouchPad last September, I was excited to have a tablet. In fact, I didn’t really care what it was – I just knew I wanted one. The fact that it was a tablet that was looking like it would rely heavily on a custom ROM, I was a little more excited because I really enjoyed that part of my Android phone.

I know there were probably some people who bought a TouchPad during the fire sale, and then ended up getting rid of it because it was not what they were looking for. Some didn’t know you could put Android on it, and some probably didn’t care. I bought a second TouchPad from a girl that had no clue you could put Android on it and do so much more than you could with webOS – but I don’t want to talk about the software. CyanogenMod has proven time and again that it doesn’t really matter what software starts on a tablet, it can almost always be changed to something else, given enough time and talent.

So let’s talk about the tablet hardware that HP has created. The TouchPad’s original MSRP was over $500. This puts it into the category of tablets like the iPad and the Asus Transformer series. Was the hardware worth that much money? The short answer is yes. The TouchPad has a dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon processor with 1GB RAM and a 1024×768, 9.7-inch touchscreen. Those specs would still be fairly competitive if the TouchPad was released today. Could HP release it at the $500 price point today? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be a competitive tablet.

HP also had at least one hardware feature that we haven’t seen in any other tablet since. That technology is induction charging – I really like this feature, and made sure I bought the charging dock to take advantage of this great feature. There are some companies like Powermat creating third party solutions using this technology for just about every cell phone out there, but nobody except HP has done this for a tablet, that I know of. This says to me that HP is willing to step out of the box and try some different things. Did it work out for the TouchPad? No, but that doesn’t mean that the TouchPad was a complete failure; it just means that HP needs to change some things and try harder next time.

A major test for anything technology-related, from cases to accessories to the tablet hardware itself, is its lasting power. What I mean by this is basically the quality of the item. Will it still be in one piece in 12 months? I’m not a person that will be dropping hundreds of dollars on a device only to turn around and do it again a few months later. This means that I need to make sure I buy a quality device, because I won’t be able to afford a replacement for probably a couple years.

I’ve had my TouchPad for 11 months, and it’s still working the same way that it was when I first pulled it out of the box. There are no dead spots on the touchscreen. The case isn’t pulling apart at the seams. The ports are still all connected tightly to the innards and do what they are supposed to do. My TouchPad is still a great tablet and I can easily see myself using it for the next 11 months with no issues. This says to me that HP has the capability to make a good tablet. There are so many more factors in whether a tablet succeeds or fails, and in my opinion, the hardware was not the reason the TouchPad failed. I’m excited to see what HP does in the tablet market, and can honestly say I would be extremely interested in making an HP my next tablet.

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Bryan Faulkner

Bryan Faulkner is a former associate editor at Pocketables. He loves to find new ways to use his tablets while working as the Tech Director at his local church. Mixing sound from the iPad is his newest obsession. He currently has a pair of HP TouchPads, an iPad 2, a decommissioned HTC EVO 4G, and a Samsung Galaxy Note II to tinker with.

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