One of the most anticipated devices this year has finally gotten a fixed schedule for release along with other details: the HP TouchPad release date is July 1st
while prices for the webOS-running tablet start at $499
. The United States will be the first country to get the tablet and you'll be able to pre-order yours starting June 19th. HP has also confirmed that the tablet will come on AT&T
with support for the carrier's data network, but there were no details whether that means 4G or 3G connectivity. HP promises to unveil the details as the tablet approaches its AT&T launch date which is set for later this summer. Stateside, the tablet will be available at most major retailers including Best Buy, Walmart, Staples, Sam's Club, Office Depot, and Amazon.com.
Initially, the tablet will be offered in a Wi-Fi only configuration with the price set at $499 for the 16 gig model and $599 for a 32GB version, in line with rivals like the Apple iPad 2 and slightly more than the upcoming super slim Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1. In Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Germany will be the first to have it in stock a few days later, and Canada will get it in mid-July.
The key differentiator for the tablets is the operating system: “What makes HP TouchPad a compelling alternative to competing products is webOS,” said Jon Rubinstein, Palm's ex-CEO and current VP at HP's Palm unit. In addition, the 9.7-inch tablet will sport a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU along with 1GB of RAM, stereo speakers with Beats Audio, instant local and cloud searches with Just Type, but while it's a powerful device by itself, the TouchPad also plays nice with other gadgets in the webOS ecosystem like the HP Pre 3 and the HP Veer 4G through its HP Synergy and Touch to Share. The latter allows you to share information like web addresses between webOS devices by simply touching them.
Interestingly, the TouchPad will only come with a front-facing camera, perfect for video conferencing, but no rear camera. Come to think about it, it sounds like a justified decision from HP as the tablet is hardly the most practical gadget for photography or video recording. You can bundle the tablet with a number of accessories including HP's Touchstone Charging Dock giving you the possibility to wirelessly juice up your slate, the HP TouchPad Wireless Keyboard and the HP TouchPad Case, all sold separately. With the release date so close, are you looking forward to get the first webOS tablet? Don't hesitate to share your expectations about the device in the comments below.