HP’s TouchPad tablet. Palm’s WebOS return ticket to Malaysia?

We remember a time when Palms were as popular before as BlackBerrys are today. Back then, you see everyone using a Treo or a PalmPilot and everybody wanted to get a Palm. If it wasn’t a Treo it better be something that ran WebOS. During those days the Sony Clie was the device to have. It was sexy, it had the Sony brand on it, it ran Palm’s WebOS and it was packed with tech.

Today, Palm is no more in Malaysia. Uncompetitive devices and the lack of attractive applications made Palm go the way of the dodo. We’ve always wondered if Palm will ever make it back to Malaysia.

If this new tablet from HP is anything to go by then “Palm” could be on the lips of local gadget junkies before this year is over.

This is the HP TouchPad, the latest tablet device to hit the market and it runs Palm’s WebOS platform. You will recall that sometime in April last year the ailing Palm company was bought over by HP for a tidy sum of US$1.2 billion, in a little under a year, this is the result of that acquisition.

The 9.7-inch (1024×768 resolution) TouchPad runs on a 1.2Ghz dual-core Snapdragon processor with a choice of 16GB or 32GB on board storage capacity. There’s 3G and WiFi versions as well. Imaging-wise the TouchPad comes with a 1.3MP front-facing camera which HP says is for video calling, so we’re not sure if you can take pictures with it as well.

We think you should be able to but with the screen facing away from you, taking pictures of objects and scenery is going to be awkward.

Apart form that, you get all the other standard amenities that you’ve come to expect from a modern day tablet lie Bluetooth, WiFi and A-GPS.

What sets the TouchPad a part is Palm’s Touchstone technology which allows you to share web pages, re-route text messages and calls across compatible devices by just tapping the two devices together. Its definitely a cool feature but the downside of it is that you’ll need to use a compatible Palm or HP device to be able to use it. Touchstone also allows you to charge the TouchPad wirelessly with a Touchstone dock

Here a video of how Touchstone works:

So the TouchPad does look competent but is it enough for HP to make an impact in the tablet market? One big hurdle that HP has to overcome with the WebOS platform is the lack of apps and the lack of developers developing apps for the platform. Both iOS and Android have WebOS thoroughly beat on app and content selection.

HP can’t bank on the TouchPad’s hardware alone to woo customers away from the iPad 2, Xoom and PlayBook because making great hardware is easy nowadays and anyone can do it. As Nokia’s CEO has aptly pointed out in his revealing memo, great hardware is just part of the successful device formula. There’s so much more that come into play in making a device a market winner.

It’s still too early to tell if HP’s gamble with Palm’s WebOS will pay off. For now we will just be happy with the possibility of Palm making it back into the Malaysian market.

What about you? Happy to see Palm come back to Malaysia?