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  • News - Written by on Friday, June 10, 2011 10:00 - 7 Comments

    HP Touchpad to hit Australia ‘later this year’

    Global technology giant HP has given the first indication of the planned timing for its flagship tablet device to launch in Australia, revealing in a statement overnight that Australians would be able to buy the device “later this year” after it launched in a range of other countries first.

    The TouchPad line of tablets are based on technology acquired with the company’s buyout of handset specialist Palm last year, and represent HP’s attempt to take on Apple’s iPad, utilising Palm’s rival webOS operating system. When HP unveiled the devices, it also launched several new phones in the Pre range — the Pre 3 and the Veer, neither of which are available in Australia.

    HP has previously said Australia was not on the early deployment list for its new tablets, as it was not a market in which the company has previously launched devices based on webOS. However, in last night’s statement the company said Australia would get the TouchPad later this year, after the Wi-Fi version of the tablet launches in the US on 1 July.

    “HP’s first webOS tablet will be available in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Germany a few days later and in Canada in mid-July, with availability scheduled to follow later this year in Italy and Spain, as well as in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore,” the company said.

    Palm never launched the Pre in Australia, preferring instead to focus throughout 2009 on countries in the Americas and Europe, such as the US, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Canada and Mexico. Despite this, some users in Australia had imported the handset due to what was seen as its innovative and open operating system.

    The timing will make HP one of the last major manufacturers to launch a tablet in Australia, with Apple’s iPad having dominated the local market since launch in mid-2010, and rivals such as Motorola, Samsung, Acer and others having launched primarily Android-based devices locally. In addition, this week Research in Motion revealed that its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet would launch through all of Australia’s major mobile carriers as well as retailer Harvey Norman from 20 June this year.

    In the US, HP will sell the TouchPad directly, as well as through retailers and resellers, in two models featuring 16GB or 32GB of internal storage for US$499.99 and US$599.99 respectively. Preorders for the device in North America and Europe will begin on June 19. No Australian pricing has been announced.

    Image credit: HP

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    1. Posted 10/06/2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink | Reply

      This is literally (!) the only non-iPad tablet that I’m excited about. It’s telling that it is in 4:3 screen ratio, making it more useful in portrait mode than the usual 16:9 of other tablets.

      Looking forward to a hands on review.

      • Posted 10/06/2011 at 10:06 am | Permalink | Reply

        I actually think you’d be surprised by how good the PlayBook is — I reckon it’s fairly comparable to the TouchPad; potentially even better. As I get used to the user interface I’m loking it more and more.

        • Posted 10/06/2011 at 10:56 am | Permalink | Reply

          Wow, just your comment surprised me. The reviews I’ve read of the PlayBook (not even to mention it’s SDK for programmers) are pretty scathing. Cool though, looking forward to hearing more about it.

          • Posted 10/06/2011 at 11:18 am | Permalink | Reply

            The hardware is pretty great – better than the build quality on any tablet I’ve seen except the iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. And the software is constantly getting better. I expect the PlayBook to be a sleeper hit.

    2. JD
      Posted 10/06/2011 at 1:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’ve manged to play with the TouchPad at its Asian launch a little while ago. As much as I’m sceptical about tablets being the wonder tech that many claim – it was the best best tablet I’ve seen. The hardware was nice, the display was as good if not better than any I’ve used and, more importantly, WebOS is a beautiful best of both worlds mix of iOS and Android (kind of what everyone thought Windows Phone 7 would be but isn’t).
      My only concern is WebOS might go the way of Betacord – the better system loses out to the better marketer.

    3. Posted 10/06/2011 at 1:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I hope some of the awesome, i.e. the tab with phone and active page appears on tablet, features of webOS get integrated into other platforms.

    4. Posted 10/06/2011 at 3:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Screw the Touchpad, sell me a Pre 3 already!

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