HP has announced the local availability of its new webOS-powered TouchPad tablet PC with Harvey Norman set to offer the device from August 15 starting at $599.
The new range of webOS devices was announced by HP back in February, but no information was given about a local launch.
Today HP’s vice president of webOS for Asia Pacific and Japan, Anthony McMahon, said the TouchPad was the first of “a range of webOS devices” that would eventually be available here, but declined to comment about when the phones might arrive.
The TouchPad features a 9.7-inch screen, 1.2GHz Snapdragon dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, a front-facing camera and either 16 or 32GB of internal memory. The price of the 32GB model is $100 more at $699.
Wireless connectivity is via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with no 3G access built-in. The TouchPad weighs 740 grams.
Most of the differentiation HP can offer compared with the crowded market of Apple, and Android-based tablets lies in its webOS platform and user interface.
Version 3.0 of webOS released this month ships with the TouchPad, but McMahon said users will receive over-the-air updates when future software releases become available. Like Android, webOS is based on the Linux operating system.
With about 300 applications considered “tablet ready” by HP, McMahon said the company is actively engaged with mobile app developers and content creators to get more apps on its platform, and some 30,000 legacy PalmOS apps can be ported to webOS with the Enyo SDK.
At the time of the global launch, HP also announced it would be expanding the number of devices webOS would be available on, including desktops and notebooks.
McMahon could not elaborate on what those plans mean for local consumers, but he did say the company is investigating the best way to offer the webOS experience alongside Microsoft’s Windows.
McMahon said enterprises looking to develop applications for a fleet of tablets don’t need to go through a public app store and more remote device management features are on the roadmap. Apps can be purchased from the public app store with a credit card.
The native WebKit-based Web browser supports Flash and HTML5.
HP also debuts its Touchstone induction charging technology where the TouchPad can be placed on the dock and be charged without wires. The dock costs $89.
Other software features include the Synergy message aggregator, JustType integrated search and an integrated 50GB Box.net Cloud storage account.
The device is also HP ePrint-enabled and the company is in talks with other retailers as well.
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