HP TouchPad Pre-Orders Open; 16GB for $499, 32GB for $599, Ships July 1st

The much awaited tablet HP TouchPad is now available for pre-orders on the official HP site and several retailers including Amazon and BestBuy. The tablet runs on WebOS 3.0 and will sport a 9.7 inch display and a dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.2 Ghz processor. (HP TouchPad Specs)

HP TouchPad

The pricing for the HP TouchPad 16GB in UK is £399 (~$643) and for the 32GB TouchPad is £479 (~$773). In the United States the tablet pricing is $499.99 for the 16GB version and $599.99 for the 32GB version. The pricing of the device looks on par with other tablet devices available in the market.

HP is betting big in the tablet market with their WebOS 3.0 platform and had also said that they would be manufacturing PCs and Laptops which will run the software. The launch of the TouchPad in July should give them an idea on how consumers react to it. It will also be pitting WebOS 3.0 against Apple’s iOS which runs and and Google’s which powers several tablets including the and 10.1.

So if you are looking forward to get your hands on the HP TouchPad, you can pre-order the HP TouchPad tablet for US from Amazon or directly pre-order it for UK from here.

HP’s webOS 3.0 Gets Screen Captured

When HP announced the TouchPad at their press event, they also proclaimed it would be shipping with a new release of webOS their operating system based on Linux and web technologies. They’ve recently opened up their webOS 3.0 Developer Beta and are providing exclusive access to the new SDK which comes bundled with an emulator. The PreCentral blog has posted screen captures of some of the features in webOS 3.0 including a change from Google Maps to Bing Maps, a new spacious and glorious looking virtual keyboard and a very plain looking Messaging and Music interface.

Bing Maps has replaced the aging and old Google Maps app on webOS. Many webOS users complain about the slow functionality of Google Maps on their devices, hopefully this allows for the much needed faster interface as well as leveraging their existing partnerships for an overall better experience.

HP has also enabled the previously hidden virtual keyboard (all their currently available devices have physical keyboards) showing off a full 5 rows, complete with size adjustment and what looks like a button that moves the cursor to the next text field for input.

Both the Messaging and Music applications are very sparse looking, granted they are not filled up with any content. The Music player has a very minimalistic feel that provides straight forward and quick access to playback controls as well as playlist and song selection. The Messaging application uses their very popular Synergy service that integrates multiple IM services into one seamless view. Contacts on the left and content on the right, it’s very clean and concise.

The TouchPad is rumored to be available by June 2011 and coming in at a $699 price point puts it head to head with some of the competition including the Blackberry Playbook, iPad 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Hopefully webOS can shine through with the existing multitasking and integration features as well as building up their ecosystem and App Catalog.