HP Finally Intros webOS-based TouchPad Tablet PC, 2 New Smartphones

HP on Wednesday finally unveiled its long-expected webOS-powered HP TouchPad tablet PC together with a pair of webOS-powered smartphones, setting in motion a new level of competition with Apple and its iPhone and iPad products.

However, availability for the products is slated for spring or summer, and no pricing details have been announced.

All three new devices feature HP's webOS operating system. HP received the webOS platform with its acquisition last year of struggling smartphone vendor Palm.

The HP TouchPad tablet PC, which HP terms a "slate," features a 9.7-inch diagonal capacitive multitouch display and Wi-Fi wireless connectivity.

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It also supports Adobe Flash Player 10.1 in the browser, and comes with either 6 GBs or 32 GBs of internal storage. Like the iPad, it has only a single forward-facing camera. Last April, a pre-webOS HP tablet PC prototype sported two cameras.

It is expected to be available this Summer.

HP also unveiled the HP Pre3 smartphone featuring a 3.6-inch touchscreen, a 1.4-GHz processor, a full slideout keyboard, 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, and Adobe Flash support.

The HP Pre3 targets business customers with a business-class e-mail application, encrypted storage, the ability to talk and access the Web at the same time, and the Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite.

HP also gave the HP Pre3 the ability to create a mobile hotspot, which allows it to act as a mobile Wi-Fi router to connect to up to five Wi-Fi devices. It also has a "touch-to-share" feature which allows sharing of Web addresses between the Pre3 and the HP TouchPad by just tapping the phone on the tablet PC.

The HP Pre3 is slated to ship this Summer.

Also new on Wednesday from HP is the HP Veer smartphone, which HP said is about the same size as a credit card and the same width as a deck of cards. The HP Veer includes a full slide-out keyboard, an 800MHz processor, 8 GB of internal storage, Adobe Flash support, Wi-Fi support, and a 5-megapixel camera.

The HP Veer is expected to ship in the early Spring.

The acquisition made HP one of the only major computer vendors to be able to compete with Apple with both its own hardware and operating system related to tablet PCs and smartphones.