HP TouchPad available for pre-order

HP TouchPad

Hewlett-Packard has opened up pre-orders for its forthcoming TouchPad tablet in the United States and Canada, both through its own Web site and through a wide variety of retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Office Depot, Walmart, Staples, Costco, Office Max, and many others. As previously announced, the webOS-powered tablet is available in two editions, with the 16 GB version going for $499.99 and a 32 GB model priced at $599.99.

Features on the HP TouchPad remain unchanged: the devices are built around a 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, feature a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR wireless networking, stereo speakers with HP’s Beats Audio technology, and the usual panoply of mobile device sensors, including an accelerometer, gyroscope, light sensor, and compass. And, of course, the TouchPad features a 9.7-inch 1024 by 768-pixel display—just like a certain Apple tablet product.

However, unlike the iPad, the TouchPad runs Palm’s webOS and offers unique features like Just Type (which enables users to start a message, social networking update, or search just by entering text—no need to launch an app first), and Touch To Share, enabling users to pass Web sites and other information back and forth between TouchPads and webOS smartphones just by touching them together. The TouchPad will also feature HP Synergy to coordinate users email, social networking, and calendaring services, and it’s compatible with HP’s broad range of printing solutions, so users can wireless print documents, photos, messages, and more. And, of course, webOS can run Adobe Flash: the units will ship with Flash Player 10.3 beta.

Hewlett-Packard has said it is working to launch a 3G-enabled version of the TouchPad through AT&T soon. The 3G-enabled version will also feature assisted GPS.

For now, HP itself is only accepting pre-orders for businesses, but its retail partners are taking pre-orders from anyone who wants to sign up.