The H-P TouchPad

Or “It must be worth losing if it is worth something”.

I’ve had my TouchPad since 1 July. I picked it up on my way to the airport to visit my folks and family. I’ve now had a solid seven days of use. I have formed opinions.

First, the multitasking is top notch. The card metaphor works brilliantly. The interface inside of email and other apps, the multiple panes that can overlap and expand, is impressive to behold and mostly intuitive to use.

Second, the speed is good. It is better if you install PreWare from webosinternals.org and several patches to reduce the amount of logging to speed things up just a bit.

Third, they need more apps. I think H-P hurt themselves by not embracing what HTML5 apps exist today. They could have focused more on apps users would want off-line data for, Read It Later and Google Reader. No document editing day one is a critical flaw. The browser seems inclined to invite full page renderings instead of a more gesture-based interface. H-P should have partnered with more providers or embraced more homebrew solutions.

Fourth, no Amazon Kindle or MP3 store at launch. I get that H-P is working on their own music app. I’d like diversity.

Fifth, the App Catalog and Pivot are great. I like the layouts and the concept. In the app catalog I’d like to be able to search exclusively for apps “made for TouchPad”. I’d also like to zoom in on the screen shots.

Sixth, Bluetooth tethering with my Pre 2 and bluetooth keyboard worked flawlessly. I have yet to have an SMS appear on my touchpad, but I haven’t really gotten into it.

Seventh, I like the backwards compatibility mode. I wish it could rotate with the tablet. I wish it could resize to full screen. I wish I could “Just Type” in them. I wish I could load more apps in that mode.

Eighth, no GPS in the WiFi version is a glaring oversight,

Ninth, I couldn’t care less about a rear facing camera, but I get why other people do.

Tenth, bring back the gesture area. Being able to swipe between apps without going to card view was one of the “wow” moments from other smart phone users.

I’m sticking with the TouchPad, and webOS in general, not because of the advertising H-P has put behind the launch (which I’m on board with) or their refrain that webOS will be crucial in phones & tablets & printers & PCs (though that’s good, too). Its because of the developers and the Homebrew community. I expect a lot of the interface issues and missing features will be implemented by the community and not by H-P initially.

I do like that a company as big as H-P seems to be making a gamble on webOS. I don’t think they’re doing it to cut into Apple or Google, through I’m sure they wouldn’t mind that. I think H-P is looking to make this a three horse race. If they can make a play that knocks Microsoft/Nokia and RIM back a few steps, they can make a go of this.

What do you think? Is H-P tilting at windmills? Or is there a method to their madness?