Tablets soar to limelight with the Apple iPad. This 9.7″ touchscreen device wooed a large part of the consumer crowd. Apple is said to have sold about 3.27 million units till date. But, the iPad will soon have company, or rather competition, in the market. HP is readying tablets of its own. These tablets are said to feature different operating systems – Microsoft’s Windows 7, Google’s Android and Palm’s (now HP’s itself) WebOS. Personally I’m not a big tablet fan. I’d any day pick up a cheap laptop, than any of the advanced, feature-rich, enticing tablets. However, I was quite interested in comparing HP’s WebOS tablet, the Hurricane, with the Apple iPad. After all, it was Palm’s WebOS which gave the iPhone OS a run for its money.
Since the HP Hurricane is not released yet, most of the comparison is based on the operating systems of these tablets. While the initial iPads shipped with the iPhone OS, an upgrade to iOS4 is expected soon (whether for free or for a price is not known yet). Hence, the iOS4 is used for the comparison below:-
WebOS brought with it multi-tasking more than a year ago. The Apple platform just got it now. Despite both operating systems having this ability, there’s a big difference in what they do. With WebOS, you can have several apps active and running at the same time. Be it downloading of music, or playing a game or having your emails and social networks update in the background, the WebOS can do it all. While one app is running in the foreground, the rest of the active apps run in the background. There is no restriction on multi-tasking (except the RAM ofcourse). iOS4 on the other hand, supports multi-tasking only for downloading content, streaming music and GPS based services. All other active applications cannot run in the background, while you’re working on something else in the foreground. When you navigate from one app to another, the first app is paused. When you switch back to this app, it will continue from where you left it. Therefore there is some sort of a status saving that happens when you switch from one app to another.
Emails and Contacts
WebOS allows on-the-cloud syncing of contacts, calenders and conversation. This feature is called Synergy. It pulls contacts from different sources like email accounts, social networks etc. and puts them in the user’s contacts list. Synergy also syncs calenders from various mail accounts, so that the user can easily manage his time. Then there’s something called Buddy List. IM conversations with contacts in this Buddy list can be continued seamlessly via SMS and vice-versa. iOS4 presently does not have a feature that aggregates contacts from different sources. It does have a provision to show all calenders though. There’s a unified inbox feature, which displays emails from various accounts as well.
Apps and eBooks
Nothing can beat Apple’s App Store, which has more than a billion apps today. Palm does have an applications store called App Catalog, but it has a long way to go to catch up with the App Store. Plus, the introduction of the iBooks store has given users the freedom to carry thousands of books with them, effortlessly.
Multi-touch and Gestures
When it comes to multi-touch and gestures, both platforms support either of these. However, the Apple interface is considered by many to be more touch responsive than any other interface available today.
WebOS supports Flash, but iOS4 does not. iOS4 supports HTML5 instead of Flash.
The iPad does not have an in-built camera, but the Hurricane has 2 of them – one for taking photographs (and videos) and the other for video calls. Clicking pictures and shooting videos with a tablet? Does not sound very comfy. But nonetheless, there are cameras. The iPad can however be connected to an external camera using a special kit provided by Apple. Hmmph..Extra luggage.
The Hurricane will be gifted with at least a USB port and an SD card slot. For the iPad its more luggage again, with the dock-connector that is required for connecting it to a PC or a laptop.
These are some of the basic differences between the two tablets and their platforms. In-order to get a better picture, we’ll however have to wait for the release of the HP Hurricane, which might happen later on this year.
Author: Trinity Nick