HP TouchPad / WebOS: The 28 Day Experiment – Day 1

Two years ago I made the leap and jumped on the Palm Pre bandwagon.  I still remember the day I brought it home, connected to my home wifi and started downloading from an apps store that had some 300 available applications.  In those days, the Pre was a product of Palm, and the WebOS was the first multi-tasking mobile OS created.  Even though the phone release was very late and the iPhone was all but dominating the market, I was on Sprint and wanted to give this new product a try.  One year later, I found myself on Android!  Guess that tells you how it went.

In all honesty, I do think the WebOS is a great platform.  It looks great and is very easy to use.  It suffered from poor hardware and a lack of app titles and has never really regained the ground it lost back in 2009.  In 2010, Palm was purchase by HP and since then, HP has been pumping money into the product like crazy.  I have been watching and waiting.

Fast forward to today and I find myself at the other end of the newly released (July 1st) HP TouchPad running the same WebOS that was on my Palm Pre those two years ago.  Thanks to my friend Scott at Forsyte Technologies, I have one to test out over the next 28 days.

So over the next 4 weeks, I will poke and probe, download and install and do anything else I can to get reacquainted with this old friend.  Each day (or whenever I can) I will report back my findings.  The goal will be to cover that days findings, good or bad, and document them here.  Post your questions or comments on what you would like to see in the comments section of the post.

Day 1

Scott brought the TouchPad over at lunch and we pulled it from the box.  It’s the wifi only version with 32GB of memory.  He also brought over a charging and docking station, a cover, a bluetooth keyboard and some extra cables.  Right now, that would all retail for about $600 to $700.  We took everything out of the box and started the set up.

There have been a million reviews of device itself, so I will spare you with all those details.  Brand new it looks great.  I give them an A+ for design.

Scott had already created a TouchPad Profile (Palm Profile in the old days) and I knew I was going to need to reset it in order to get the apps I purchased with my phone back (or so I thought).  With a couple clicks we were resetting the unit to factory condition and the setup screen.  With a few more clicks I had entered my profile info and it was downloading and restoring my data that had last been saved from my Palm Pre just 47 days ago.  Believe it or now, even though I don’t use my Pre as a phone anymore, it has come in handy as a music player.  It has remained in my car for just that purpose.

To my surprise, all the applications that I had downloaded on my Pre were now on the TouchPad!  Everything from drPodder to Yatzee for Palm’s WebOS, from Pandora to Facebook.  My Email profiles also came with the profile.  A nice surprise in that I didn’t need to put all those back in.  Updated password and they were syncing.


I was not surprise by how easy it was to set up a sync with my email at work.  Email is what the WebOS did and does best and had been easy on my phone.  Within a minute or two, and a few simple bits of info, and I was up and running and syncing with my Exchange email.  Very simple.

It did prompt me to enter a new password, part of the group policy at my employer.  I entered a code (now required every time I access the device) and moved forward.

The whole process had me up and running very fast.  Within 30 minutes I had most things set, email downloaded and was ready to start being productive.

I purposely will not upgrade the WebOS software from 3.0.0 to whatever the latest release.  This unit has gotten a bad wrap when it comes to speed and I wanted to see just how bad it was.  HP has recently (like last Friday) updated the OS in hopes of making it faster.  I want to spend a couple days on the early version to get a good feel for the speed issues.  To be honest, it’s not really that slow so far.  A couple places where it drags, but not a show stopper.  Maybe I will see more with more testing.

Even though I have an external keyboard, the on board keyboard was easy to use right out of the chute.  It took a few minutes to get use to it, but once I got the hang of it, it felt okay to use like a normal keyboard.  You do have to be very careful where you place your hand.  I had few misspelled words for the first couple tries.

It found my printer!  I did a screen shot and was trying to figure out how to email it to myself and discovered the print button.  Not only did it find my network printer without ANY setup, it printed it quite nicely!  This was a huge surprise.  Since HP is a printer company, I guess they might be good at that!

All and all, not a bad first day! There will be plenty more apps to try and things to do, for now, Sarah gets a shot at it!

Jim Collison is a blogger and podcaster for TheAverageGuy.tv and the HomeServerShow.comand a Microsoft Windows Home Server MVP

This unit was provided by Forsythe Technologies in Omaha NE for review purposes.