Tablet deathmatch: HP TouchPad vs. Apple iPad 2

By , InfoWorld |  Mobile & Wireless

But the TouchPad does have an innovation the iPad 2 lacks: The optional charging dock ($80) not only props up the TouchPad at user-adjustable angles, it uses induction (which HP brands as Touchstone) to charge the TouchPad through its case. But be careful -- the induction area is small, so you have to place the TouchPad in horizontal orientation with speakers down for the tablet to charge. Each Touchstone charging dock also has a unique ID, so you can set different default Exhibition mode displays when the lock screen is engaged for each of your docks. For example, you might have your dock at work display your calendar and your dock at home display your photo.

A related capability enabled by Touchstone is what HP calls Touch-to-Share: Rest a compatible WebOS smartphone on the TouchPad to register its presence, and the devices use a Bluetooth connection to share the current (meaning full-screen) Web page, text message, or phone call automatically (after they've been paired, which you do once). HP has no smartphones available yet that support Touchstone syncing, though it did lend me a prototype to show that it works, which it does. I'm not convinced that this is more than a "oh, cool" feature that would quickly fall into disuse once the novelty wears off. For example, touching a smartphone to the tablet to take a phone call or read a text message requires a lot more effort than just using the phone, which you need to have on you anyhow. For Web pages, it's hard to envision the meaningful utility in this sharing until Touch-to-Share is available in other shipping devices for testing in a more real-world context. I suspect the sharing capabilities of Touch-to-Share would be more useful if you didn't have to make the physical connection -- a feature similar to Mac OS X Lion's AirDrop that allowed you to initiate syncing over the air would be welcome.

Both devices require USB adapters to connect to USB devices. The $29 iPad Camera Connection Kit's USB connectivity is limited to cameras and SD cards; HP has no adapters for the TouchPad as yet. The iPad 2 can mirror its display to VGA or HDMI using a $39 dock-to-HDMI cable or $29 VGA connector that other iOS devices also support. Currently, the TouchPad has no video-out capabilities, due to lack of adapters. That means you can't use it for presentations -- a big deficit for sales, marketing, and other business users.


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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