After Hewlett-Packard's hypefest for its WebOS-based TouchPad tablet, the real thing was a big disappointment, garnering lukewarm reviews from most technology websites. I found it surprisingly mediocre in its execution: slow performance, limited basic apps, and generally behind the curve compared to the iPad and Android 3.0-based tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.
HP apologists and WebOS fanboys said to wait, that HP would make the TouchPad better through system updates. A month after the TouchPad debut, HP has issued its first software update for the TouchPad. WebOS 3.02.68 was released last night for download from the tablet's System Update utility. Does it fix the major gaps between the TouchPad and the competing Apple and Android tablets? No.
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Instead, it's a baby-steps update that focuses on one big issue with the TouchPad: its slow performance. The TouchPad is noticeably more responsive in several applications with the update installed. That's a good thing. But don't kid yourself: It's still noticeably sluggish compared to the iPad, Android tablets, and even the laggard BlackBerry PlayBook.
Unfortunately, the TouchPad's limited business apps remain the essentially same. The only "big" change is that you can now manage multiple messages at the same time in the Drafts and Outbox folders. In WebOS, you won't find options to constrain search in mail, for example, or support for groups or message threading. There's no support for .ics invitation files in WebOS, nor any quick-scroll capability for your contacts. For consumer apps, HP's iTunes equivalent (HP Play) is still in beta a month after the TouchPad's release. At least HP has added a calculator and clock app to its basic portfolio; they're simple but serviceable.