HP Launches TouchPad – for the Lucky Few

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Palm HP has finally officially announced the release of the TouchPad! Sadly though, it will only see a phased roll-out over the remainder of the year, and the number of countries actually getting the TouchPad is remarkably limited. Somewhat of a downer, really.

After weeks of intensive speculation on Palm/webOS-centric forums about the release date of HP’s tablet, the company has finally sent out a press release spilling all the beans. The device will hit the US market on July 1, followed a few days later by the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Germany. The TouchPad will hit Canada mid-July, and Italy, Spain, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Singapore will follow later this year.

Well, that surely kills any excitement I had right dead. I know it’s not trivial to ship products to all manner of countries right away, but ignoring large parts of Europe while Android tablets and the iPad further entrance themselves without restrictions on availability? Doesn’t seem like a good move to me, but alas, what do I know. At least it seals the deal for me – iPad 2 it is. I’m not going to import a product that has no native support (no application store, no support lines, etc.). I’m looking at you, HTC HD7.

Anywho, pricing is looking pretty good: $499 for the 16GB model, and $599 for the 32GB one. Those are both the WiFi-only models; the 3G models will arrive later this year. HP will be working together with AT&T in the US on the launch of the 3G models – no word yet on carriers in other parts of the world.

“What makes HP TouchPad a compelling alternative to competing products is webOS,” said Jon Rubinstein, “The platform’s unmatched features and flexibility will continue to differentiate HP products from the rest of the market for both personal and professional use. This is only the beginning of what HP’s scale can do with webOS.”

I guess that doesn’t include a world-wide launch. HP is already behind Apple on this one, and while I know a worldwide simultaneous release is difficult to manage, you’d think a large company like HP could pull it off. Two years and counting, still not a single webOS product in The Netherlands.

What a downer.


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