HP Touchpad release date finally confirmed on July 1; Priced as $500

HP Touchpad release date finally confirmed on July 1; Priced as $500

It’s been a long time coming, but Hewlett-Packard (HP) looks as though it may finally be ready to unleash its TouchPad tablet upon the world. The tablet will sell for $499.99 to $599.99 depending on storage capacity, Palo Alto, California-based Hewlett-Packard said in a statement today. Sales will begin in the US on July 1, followed by the UK, Ireland, France, Germany and Canada.

Preorders will begin on June 19, and the WebOS-based tablet will be sold at various retailers, including Amazon.com, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Staples, Sam’s Club, and Office Depot. HP said the TouchPad will also be available from AT&T later this summer, though pricing for this model was not revealed at this time.

In addition to the U.S., the TouchPad will arrive in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, and Germany a few days after the U.S. launch. HP expects to ship in Canada by mid-July, followed by Italy, Spain, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Singapore later this year.

As for pricing, HP isn’t straying from the baselines established by Apple. The 16-GB TouchPad will cost $499.99 and the 32-GB TouchPad will cost $599.99. HP didn’t announce or make note of a 64-GB version.

The TouchPad initially will be available only with Wi-Fi on board, but HP indicated that a version that works with AT&T’s network will be available later this year. It didn’t provide specifics on which cellular data technology that model will support.

“What makes HP TouchPad a compelling alternative to competing products is webOS,” enthused HP’s Jon Rubenstein in an official statement. “The platform’s unmatched features and flexibility will continue to differentiate HP products from the rest of the market for both personal and professional use,” he added. “This is only the beginning of what HP’s scale can do with webOS.”

Announced in early February, the HP TouchPad features a 9.7-inch capacitive touch screen, a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, and a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera for video calls but no rear-facing camera. In addition to the capabilities of WebOS, the TouchPad also has HP’s touch-to-share technology, which allows you to share information between WebOS devices simply by touching them together.

The biggest hurdle the TouchPad will have to overcome is applications. The webOS App Market has a paltry 6,000 applications in it, and it is unclear if they’ll even work with the TouchPad. The lack of applications has been a knee-capper for the Motorola Xoom and LG G-Slate, which run Android 3.0 Honeycomb. A similar story applies to RIM’s recently-launched PlayBook. Unfortunately for all tablets, Apple’s iPad has more than 90,000 applications optimized for it, and it can run the 200,000+ iPhone apps as well.

According to HP, the TouchPad will have a number of accessories available at launch, including the Touchstone Charging Dock, the TouchPad Wireless Keyboard, and the TouchPad Case. They will be will be sold separately; prices weren’t disclosed.

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