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HP TouchPadHP's TouchPad is slated to ship with multiple cloud storage options to make transferring files on and off the tablet easier.

HP's announcement of the first WebOS tablet has raised some eyebrows in the industry. First, HP has basically cloned the iPad's form factor - right down to the curved back panel (which Apple is rumored to be changing with the iPad 2).

Second, WebOS appears to have successfully scaled to a 9.7" tablet with little to no change of the interface. This is not terribly surprising given WebOS's similarities to Apple's iOS with regards to interface.

HP TouchPad
HP's new WebOS powered Tablet, the HP TouchPad.

The sharing features and bundled software in the tablet are more interesting that even the tablet itself. HP has chosen to include not one or two but four different third party collaboration tools: Google Docs, QuickOffice, Dropbox, and Box.net. This will make file sharing with the tablet all the much easier.

Also baked into WebOS 3.0 is the ability for your WebOS devices to directly communicate and share information with one another. Things like text messages being readable on the tablet, and starting a book on the tablet and finishing it on the phone are all possible.

All this fancy sharing will require a Touchstone dock for the TouchPad to communicate with other WebOS devices. It remains to be seen if WebOS phones will be able to talk to each other without a Touchstone doing the wireless legwork.

Overall the tablet's fancy hardware and brand new WebOS 3.0 has the TouchPad shaping up to be the first true iPad competitor.HP's got plenty of company though. Google's Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) is shaping up rather nicely, and Motorola's XOOM Tablet is going to be a major contender using Honeycomb.

HP's own Slate tablet running Windows 7 also will be competing to a degree with the TouchPad, regardless of HP's marketing. And last, but certainly not least, Apple's iPad 2 will be launching within the next couple months.

HP/Palm have their work cut out for them in the coming months. You can read all about the TouchPad at the HP/Palm website. TGDaily also covered the basics of the tablet .

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