Do They Work? A Look At 10 Apps for HP's TouchPad

A Glimpse At The WebOS App Ecosystem

The WebOS-based HP TouchPad is hitting the market facing a scarcity of apps built for its platform – perhaps because HP waited until last week to make its WebOS 3.0 SDK available to most of the world’s software developers. Still, there are some good apps for the new platform that are well worth highlighting both from HP and independent software vendors. Some apps are merit an ’OK,’ but with a few caveats.

Since there are so few, most of them right now will get a pretty good look nonetheless. Here are a dozen of them.

TouchPad Calendar

This is HP’s own calendaring app for the TouchPad, and one of the features of the tablet platform that its marketing team highlighted recently for VARs. The TouchPad Calendar provides a better graphical experience for calendar management than the rival iPad, and includes a feature that will not just integrate several different calendars into one on the device, but will color-code each calendar separate from the others to more easily discriminate personal from business time commitments.


If you were looking for the familiar Skype interface – or a reasonable facisimile thereof – you’ll find this app on the TouchPad is much different than other Skype interfaces. For starters, Skype is accessed on the TouchPad by clicking a button that says ’Phone & Video Calls,’ rather than clicking a Skype app itself. This is an odd choice from HP, since Skype is the only app that now supports video calling on the TouchPad. Over time, it’s more likely that the video calling/Skype experience will change with the announcement that Skype will enable video calling for Facebook.


Unlike, for example, Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook, which comes pre-loaded with Documents to Go, HP preloads an app called ’QuickOffice’ that is built to support outside apps like Google Docs and MobileMe for basic productivity. We encountered some big problems with QuickOffice on TouchPad. For starters, we tried a dozen times to integrate a Google Docs account – which the app is supposed to support – but it refused every single attempt. Secondly, while we were able to integrate a MobileMe account with QuickOffice, we could only view or copy the document we called up; there was no editing them inside the app. Additionally, QuickOffice doesn’t let you create any documents or spreadsheets. (Google Docs, by the way, seems to work just fine in the TouchPad WebOS browser.)

We could say this is a must-have app for the TouchPad, but HP beat us to it by pre-loading the app for the service so it was there right out of the gate. We’ve reviewed before, and it’s been ported over to fit and work well on the TouchPad tablet. This app provides 50 GB of cloud-based storage, and it works great to access basic data like PDF documents and music.

MobileIron Sentry

A top concern of CIOs that we’ve heard lately is whether or not they’ll have the ability to monitor and manage mobile devices like tablets. With MobileIron’s Sentry product, they’ll have that if they want, on the TouchPad, right out of the gate.

Sentry allows for monitoring of mobile devices that have been deployed on a network, providing real-time tracking of what’s online, what’s not and how long someone’s been connected. The TouchPad app will provide access to information (managed on the back end of an enterprise) on what’s on the device, how it’s being used and more.

NetSpeed HD

There are other apps available to test local available bandwidth, but the TouchPad and WebOS, we like NetSpeed HD. This app provides a clear, graphics-friendly analysis of the current connection you’re using compared with the global average connection – and it will even list how you’re doing against other individuals using other WiFi networks. It’s a nice utility with a great presentation.

TypeWriter (Beta)

The developers bill this writing app as one that targets one feature in particular: simplicity. They achieve that, by creating a word processor app that takes on the appearance of an old, manual typewriter – but with the ease of tapping onto the on-screen keyboard of the TouchPad. While it lacks the power of allowing different fonts, formats, insertion of graphics and other goodies that we’ve come to expect from word processing software, it’s a decent app for longer-form writing if you’re out with the tablet and nothing else.

TapNote for TouchPad

This is one of the first apps you’ll stumble onto when flipping through HP App Catalog for TouchPad. Like many of the other apps for the platform, it’s fairly rudimentary – but it does have some nice flourishes. TapNote takes advantage of HP’s native support for HP printers, and allows for documents to be printed directly from the app. That’s not a small deal. It also supports DropBox sync and emailing from the app itself. There is a free lite vesion; the full version is $5.


If you like your apps without frills (or cost), and you need to keep track of your tasks at hand, Taskr is the app for you. Built to take advantage of the enyo framework, Taskr presents itself as a neat, easy-to-use and handy task-list app to keep track of the various chores you knock off during the day.

Mighty Meeting

This is a very odd app for meeting and collaboration – but it’s pretty neat nonetheless. The app integrates with a phone-conference calling service; during conference calls, participants can chat via group IM, and meeting leaders can share PDF or PowerPoint presentations through a whiteboarding feature. What makes it odd is that once a meeting is scheduled, those invited are asked to use an on-screen keypad to enter your own telephone number; the conference calling service then calls your phone and lets you on. It’s a little kludgey but, hey, it works. We used a free trial version; MightyMeeting gives you about 300 credits, and charges you six credits per caller per minute (in the U.S. or Canada.) It’s worth a try.