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HP TouchPad Wi-Fi: Guide on Whether to Buy or Not.

Hewlett Packard will be launching its new TouchPad tablet in Sydney next Tuesday, July 26.

But with new tablet offerings in the market today, should you buy the HP tablet? Hewlett Packard is the world's largest vendor of desktops and laptops. However, in tablets, Apple's iPad dominates the market with 80% of total sales.

Amid the tablet craze brought by Apple Inc.'s iPad, we now have more offerings in the market: BlackBerry maker Research In Motion's PlayBook, Apple nemesis Samsung Electronics Inc.'s Galaxy Tab, Netbook pioneer Asus' Eee Pad, HTC's EVO View 4G, and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.'s Xoom have tried to be the iPad killer, but these iPad wannabes have barely made a dent in the market. Joining the tablets on shelves this month are top desktop vendor Hewlett Packard's Wi-Fi version of HP TouchPad and Internet protocol-based networking provider Cisco Systems Inc.'s Cisco Cius. Amazon will also reportedly launch a tablet PC in the third quarter.

Here's a detailed comparison of key specifications of four tablets in the market today or that are coming in the few weeks:

Screen.

HP TouchPad has 9.7-inch XGA capacitive, multitouch screen; 18-bit color, 1024 x 768 display. Cisco Cius has 7-inch multi-touch tablet form factor, with backlit, WSVGA capacitive touchscreen LCD with 1024 x 600 effective resolution. RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook features a vivid 7-inch 1024 x 600 WSVGA capacitive LCD touch screen. The iPad 2 features a 9.7-inch touch screen, with 1024 x 768 pixel (XGA) resolution.

While the PlayBook is convenient for users on the go, common complaints include the relatively smaller screen size would make Web browsing difficult. A Tech Radar review says that the TouchPad's screen is dim. Like most tablets, the TouchPad utilizes a glossy display for deeper blacks, purer whites and richer colors.

Storage.

HP TouchPad has 16GB and 32GB variants. Cisco Cius has 32GB of onboard storage space. The BlackBerry PlayBook has 16GB, 32GB and 64GB variants. The iPad 2 has 16GB, 32GB and 64GB of storage.

Rear Camera.

The HP TouchPad has no rear camera. Cisco Cius has a rear facing camera for capturing 5-megapixel still pictures or VGA-quality video. The PlayBook has a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera. The iPad 2 has 0.7-megapixel still camera at the back for 720p HD video.

Front Camera.

The HP TouchPad has a 1.3MP front facing camera. The Cisco Cius has forward-facing camera for HD video communication and 720p 30-fps HD video encoding and decoding. The PlayBook has 3-megapixel front camera. The iPad 2 has a VGA video camera.

Processor.

The HP TouchPad has a dual-core 1.2-GHz Snapdragon processor. The Cisco Cius has 1.6-GHz Intel Atom processor.The PlayBook has a 1GHz dual-core processor. The iPad 2 has dual core Apple A5 processor (runs twice a fast as the original iPad).

Connectivity.

The HP TouchPad has Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR with A2DP stereo Bluetooth but no news of 3G model yet.Cisco Cius has 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi support, Bluetooth and GPS. The PlayBook has Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n) connectivity plus Bluetooth 2.1+EDR support. The iPad 2 has Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR plus 3G GSM support.

OS.

The HP TouchPad is the only tablet that runs on Palm's WebOS. Cisco Cius, like the Motorola Xoom, runs on Android's OS. The PlayBook runs on BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing. The iPad 2 runs on Apple's own iOS 4.3.3.

"The HP TouchPad uses Palm's unique WebOS interface and delivers Adobe Flash-enabled Web browsing, Beats audio enhancement, and impressive compatibility with third-party calendar, messaging, and e-mail services," said Donald Bell at CNET in his review. Bell concluded, "The TouchPad would have made a great competitor for the original iPad, but its design, features, and speed put it behind today's crop of tablet heavyweights. TechRadar adds that performance of the device is inconsistent.

Users are complaining about the absence of native email, calendar and contacts apps of the PlayBook, however, the advanced security features, screen quality, and multi-tasking performance are positives for the PlayBook.

Apps Store.

The TouchPad has the second largest tablet app store with 400 tablet optimized applications already available in addition to the 6,000 apps for Pre phones that could also work. For the Cisco Cius, apps are available at the Android marketplace, which is going head to head with Apple's App Store for apps available to users, although most of the Android apps are tailored for smartphones. In addition to apps available on the Android marketplace, the Cisco Cius has access to essential business applications that are offered by Cisco, which is known for its Internet protocol-based networking and other products. Cisco also has launched the Cisco AppHQ, an enterprise-class application ecosystem. For the PlayBook, the BlackBerry App World offers "apps for social networking, online shopping, personal productivity, gaming and so much more" for the PlayBook but early reviews for the device complain of the shortage of consumer apps. Apple has gained a head-start against other tablets as more than available 100,000 applications are already optimized for the iPad that can be downloaded from the App Store, in addition to the more than 200,000 iPhone apps that can also work for the Apple tablet. Plus Apple has the iTunes for movies and music.

Pricing.

HP TouchPad sells at US$499 (16 GB) and US$599 for (32 GB) in the U.S. Cisco Cius is estimated to price at US$700 to US$750 per unit. For the PlayBook, a version with 16 gigabytes of storage costs US$499 in the U.S., a 32-gigabyte model retails for $599 and a version with 64 gigabytes is $699. iPad 2 - WiFi only 16 GB costs A$579, the 32 GB costs A$689 while the 64 GB costs A$799 in Australia.

Release Date.

HP TouchPad to be released in Australia July 26. The PlayBook is scheduled for a July release in Australia. The Cisco Cius will be available exclusively to corporate customers starting July 31. The iPad 2 was released in March.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Jul 19, 2011
Words:1030
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