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Hewlett-Packard going solo with TouchPad, WebOS, in challenge to Apple's iPad

Hewlett-Packard Co. is looking to take on Apple Inc.'s blockbuster iPad, not using Google's Android operating system and not using Microsoft Windows 7, but on its own -- with its WebOS.

The world's largest computer company also rolled out two smart phones, the Veer and the Pre3, that run on the WebOS mobile operating system developed by mobile device maker Palm Inc., which HP bought for $1.2 billion in April.

At the time of that purchase, many speculated that HP wasn't buying Palm for it's name or its brand, but rather for WebOS in the hopes of creating an app-selling ecosystem across devices as Apple has done with the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and its iOS, which runs on apps bought through the iTunes App Store.

On Wednesday, the TouchPad, the Pre3 and the Veer -- each developed by the renamed HP Palm division -- were devoid of any Palm branding in name or on the gadgets themselves. Instead, the HP logo was stamped on the back of each device and the products will be marketed not as Palm products, but as HP products.

The TouchPad also has many specs that match up with the iPad, such as 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, a 9.7-inch touch screen, a processor running at about 1GHz and a weight of 1.6 pounds -- the same as the 3G iPad.

The similarities between the two tablets isn't a mistake, said Sarah Rotman Epps, a tech analyst at Forrester Research.

"What HP has to overcome is that the only apps out there built for tablets right now are really built for the iPad," Rotman Epps said. "If your tablet is going to succeed, it needs apps, and making the screen on the TouchPad the same size as the iPad should make it easier for developers to port apps over" to it.

For more information on HP's new products and Rotman Epps' take on the moves, head over to The Times Technology blog.

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

 
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