HP Touchpad with WebOS

I was one of the lucky ones who managed to score an HP Touchpad during the fire sale — and I’ve had a few weeks to get to know its quirks.

First and foremost, WebOS has A LOT of potential. It’s a shame that most recreational programmers I know are more interested in developing for Android or iOS, since it means that the HP App Catalog is quite lacking. I would like to see more work done for WebOS in the future. I can but hope that the firesale put HP Touchpads into the hands of enough people to create a market for applications and encourage programmers to develop for it.

Amongst my favourite features:

  • Cards. I really like the cards. I like how can see all the browser pages and appplications I have open. I like how I can reorganise them.
  • Size. I like the size of the Touchpad. It’s nearly exactly the same size as the iPad1, which means it’s not as light as a tablet with the same screen size *could* be, but it’s still smaller than my now-ageing Asus EeePC901. It fits perfectly in-between my notebooks in my courier bag.
  • Power. I like the fact that the battery lasts all day, even when I’m using it for hours-on-end. I also love the compact power adapter (plug? power supply? thing-plugged-into-the-wall.) that it came with. I can take it apart and fit it in  my pencil case, ready to be re-charged at a friend’s house when I decide to stay for a couple days. I love the fact that it charges by USBmicro – the same cable I use for transferring data.
  • Skype integration. I really like how I make Skype calls through Phone & Video Calls. It makes me wish I had a Pre phone so I could use the Touchpad as a full phone!

The most irksome items include:

  • No navigation keys. If I need to move the cursor, I must tap, tap, tap until I get it exactly where I want it, rather than tap and use arrows. It would be great if the right shift key were replaced with a navigation function key, then use up, down, left, or right swipe movement to move the cursor. This would then be consistent with the current behaviour on the Pre phones (as described on precentral.net).
  • Wobbly scroll. When I slide my finger to scroll up and down, websites follow my finger exactly as it moves, even if the page itself can’t scroll left or right. This makes scrolling seem wobbly.
  • Websites not scrolling. Some websites (such as Google Reader) won’t scroll to the bottom of the page. The browser seems to think that it has reached the bottom of the page.
  • Refusal to stay switched off. On many occasions, I’ve turned off my HP Touchpad and it has switched itself back on. So I turned it off again – and it’s switched itself back on again. The only solution I’ve found has been to close all the cards  and restart the TouchPad. I don’t really like doing that, since there are some cards I tend to like to leave open.
  • Browser bookmark organisation. I keep a million bookmarks so I generally need them to be organised in folders if I want to be able to find the link I’m looking for. Unfortunately, the bookmarks list is just a list. This means that when I really need to find that site so I can show it to someone else, I need to scroll up-and down. I end up relying heavily on the flavicons.
  • “Too Many Cards Open”. Very occasionally, WebOS hiccoughs. I’m not sure how many cards is too many cards, but it would be nice if it didn’t tell me this when I have only one card open….
  • No multiple logins. I can’t think of any other tablet operating systems that allow multiple users to log in so I can’t really say this is an issue with the Touchpad, but it would be really great if both my fiance and I could use my tablet. I wouldn’t even mind if I had to turn it off and on again to get to a login screen.