Here's something you don't see every day. The webOS Nation blog has done a hands-on review of a tablet that will never see the light of day—Hewlett-Packard's unreleased TouchPad Go. The 7-inch webOS-based device was supposed to be released in the fall of this year, but HP's decision earlier this year to pull the plug on webOS and its TouchPad line of consumer tablets put the kibosh on those plans.
So what are we missing? According to webOS Nation, a pretty nifty little tablet (see a video review above). The blog got its hands on a rare prototype TouchPad Go and ran it through its paces recently.
In giving the TouchPad Go an 8-out-of-10 rating, webOS Nation raves about the tablet's "smooth and sleek" design, "solid" feel, and "fast and relatively stable" performance. Reviewer Derek Kessler actually seems to think the more compact TouchPad Go is a better performer than its full-sized, 10-inch cousin.
"Despite going smaller, HP does not seem to have gone cheaper," Kessler writes. "The Go is still just as powerful (if not more so), and it certainly feels better than the bigger TouchPads."
The HP TouchSmart 520-1070 ($1,399.99 direct, or $1329 on Amazon) is the high-end entry in HP's current TouchSmart line of touch-enabled all-in-one desktop PCs. Equipped with powerful components, like a quad-core processor and 2TB hard drive, it's also packed to the gills with entertainment options, offering a big 1080p display, Beats Audio, a Blu-ray drive, TV-tuner, and a remote control. An HDMI-in port is just icing on the cake, extending the life of this desktop even further for use as a monitor.
Design and Features
The 520-1070 has a glossy black plastic chassis, but it's more than just a monolithic 23-inch screen. Two vertical arms hold the touch screen aloft from the silvery plastic base, with a single immense hinge to adjust the angle. But while the hinge is housed in the base, the components are housed behind the widescreen display, which provides 1,920-by-1,080 resolution as well as a large multitouch surface. Thankfully, HP took the time to get this hinge right, and you'll find that despite your touching and tapping, the 520-1070 stays firm though it all, without the wobble that mars the experience on competitors, like the Samsung Series 7 (DP700A38-01) or Asus ET2410-06. It also has a decent range of motion, sitting at a vertical 90-degree angle that can be adjusted all the way back to a comfortable 60-degrees.
In what is the latest bizarre turn for HP's WebOS and related tablet business, it's reported that Whitman and board member Marc Andreessen told TechCrunch that the company would manufacture a WebOS tablet perhaps in 2012, and definitely in 2013.
An HP spokesman, asked to conform the report, said that a WebOS tablet would be made only if the market was "viable". He said that he preferred to focus on the decision to release WebOS as open source, which will give it an immortality that it otherwise might not have.
However, the schizophrenia on HP's WebOS operating system and tablet hardware continues, as HP reportedly plans one last fire sale for the tablet on Sunday, in what has become a long and winding road. Months after the TouchPad was launched in March using HP's WebOS operating system, HP decided to kill it in August, as part of a decision to kill the WebOS hardware business after sales failed to meet expectations. But after HP discounted the TouchPad to $99, sales began to take off, even prompting HP to make another batch.
The layoffs will affect as many as 525 employees and are a direct result of the closure of webOS. HP announced in August that it would kill off its webOS operating system and end development of webOS devices like the TouchPad tablet and the Palm Pre line of smartphones.
HP confirmed the layoffs but would not delve into details about the numbers.
Before we get into the article - if you are looking for a TouchPad, HP has set up a TouchPad availability page for you to get updates! As more come in stock, they'll be listed there.
It was a big weekend for HP, but for all the wrong reasons. Shoppers overloaded the HP servers and rushed to their local Best Buy stores in the hopes of nabbing a TouchPad tablet at rock-bottom prices. But unfortunately for HP, it was just getting rid of existing inventory; those discounts are not likely to help its bottom line.
"All this clamoring for the TouchPad, kind of bittersweet," Bryna Corcoran, HP's social media manager, tweeted last night. "For those of you who end up with one in the end of all this, I want tweets and pics of how much you love it b/c I know you will."
Late Friday night, news broke that HP was selling its TouchPads at a heavy discount: $99 for the 16GB and $149 for the 32GB. By Saturday, Corcoran tweeted that all TouchPads were sold out in the U.S., though she said there were "more coming." The company set up a Web site that allowed customers to sign up and be alerted when more were available.
"Due to HP's decision to discontinue its TouchPad product, Best Buy will now provide clearance pricing for all HP TouchPad models regardless of previously advertised prices or promotions," Best Buy said in a note on its forums.
Hewlett-Packard on Thursday confirmed that it will acquire U.K.-based Autonomy for $10.2 billion and is looking to spin off its PC assets.
Together with its plans to stop supporting webOS devices, the announcements mark a major change for HP. They appear to represent a seismic shift in how the Silicon Valley computing giant, the world's largest tech company in terms of annual revenue, plans to conduct business going forward.
The HP board's authorization of "the exploration of strategic alternatives for its Personal Systems Group (PSG)" includes "a broad range of options that may include, among others, a full or partial separation of PSG from HP through a spin-off or other transaction." Unlike the dumping of recently acquired Palm, slipping badly in a market dominated by Apple and devices running Google's Android OS, a spin-off of the PSG means HP would be parting with a long-standing investment that has turned into the biggest PC maker in the world.
Today HP announced that it is killing webOS hardware, including the TouchPad and Palm Pre and Veer smartphones. We will have more on that later, but the company seems upset that the phones and tablet haven't gained traction as fast as they expected it to. The TouchPad started selling on July 1, and just 49 days later, HP has killed it. Such a shame.
That also means that the previous HP.com $50 discount on the 16 GB TouchPad isn't active again. But the new, lower prices brings the TouchPad to right in the price range of Acer's Iconia Tab 500 and the Eee Pad from Asus, and beats the price of the iPad 2 by $100.
Read More | HP TouchPad 16 GB
The HP TouchPad finally has a launch date! If you've been jonesing to pick up the first webOS tablet, your lucky day will be July 1st, as long as you're cool with the Wi-Fi model. If you prefer the 3G TouchPad, you'll have to wait until later this summer. The 3G provider for the TouchPad will be AT&T, which may influence your decision on waiting. You'll be able to get the 16 GB TouchPad for $499, while the 32 GB model will retail for $599, which is right in line with iPad 2 pricing.
Read More | Palm Blog