The iPad has more apps, but the TouchPad’s price can’t be beat

HP TouchPad Tablet

By Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.

You’ve seen lawyers clutching their iPads in court, carrying them to depositions and bringing them into meetings. Perhaps you’ve flirted with the idea of buying a tablet but $520, the basic price for an Apple iPad 2 on Amazon, seems too much to spend for a gadget you might not like. If that describes you, the HP TouchPad might be worth considering. (Affiliate links included)

Last week HP announced that it was ditching the TouchPad tablet after a scant 49 days on the market. The price plummeted from $499 to $99, and sales have been on a tear. The HP TouchPad is now one of the hottest-selling products on Amazon.

But is it right for your practice?

The TouchPad runs on an operating system known as webOS. iPad’s operating system is iOS. That means iPad apps aren’t going to operate on the TouchPad tablet. And one of the significant drawbacks to the TouchPad is that the app store is sparsely stocked – around 300 apps – compared with the iPad’s App Store, which currently offers more than 90,000 apps, including some of the most popular among lawyers, such as iAnnotate, TrialPad and FastCase.

However, there are still some productivity advantages with the TouchPad.

Access email, calendar and browse the Internet using the TouchPad

The TouchPad has received kudos from reviewers for the way in which its operating system uses Flash, making Web browsing easy. The ease of setting up email accounts has been praised and the calendar system merges dates from every platform.

Calendar app in HP TouchPad

Cloud storage apps available on the HP TouchPad

Cloud storage services from Dropbox or Box.net Apps are available in HP’s app store. In addition, Box.net gives TouchPad users 50GB of free storage.

Dropbox and box.net TouchPad apps

Evernote makes a TouchPad app

Evernote, the handy productivity tool that allows you to clip Web pages and email in addition to making notes, offers a TouchPad app. (For more on Evernote, read “Evernote App Review: An Alternative to Printing Information.”)

View Word, Excel, Powerpoint and PDF documents on your TouchPad

Quickoffice is a TouchPad app that allows you to view PDF and Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and Powerpoint presentations. Unfortunately, the app doesn’t permit editing. One suggested workaround – at least for Word and Excel – is to use Google Docs, accessed through your Web browser.

The Web browser offers a workaround for many apps that aren’t offered for the TouchPad but are available for desktops and laptops. However, you will need an Internet connection to reach these apps.

TouchPad screen keyboard

As we noted recently in our infographic on lawyers and technology, 96% of lawyers who use a tablet own an iPad. If you want to see whether tablet computing is right fit for you, though, the price of the TouchPad can’t be beat.

Do you own an HP TouchPad tablet? If so, would you recommend it to other lawyers? Are there any HP TouchPad apps you would recommend?