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Summary:

The HP TouchPad tablet isn’t quite dead yet: a new software update is available today that adds a new Camera app, improves performance and supports Bluetooth pairing with non-webOS phones. After the update, TouchPad owners will be able to answer phone calls on their tablet.

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The HP TouchPad tablet isn’t quite dead yet. An over-the-air software update to webOS version 3.0.4 was released on Tuesday by HP, bringing improved performance, new features and a way to use the tablet for phone calls. HP TouchPad owners can immediately download and install the free update directly from the tablet.

The official HP Palm blog outlines the details of the update, explaining that users should see a performance boost, some user interface updates and accelerometer support in Adobe Flash Player software, as well as better Skype calling, which is integrated directly into webOS. A new Camera application is also added for photos and video from the tablet’s front-facing camera sensor. Messaging gains online/offline presence support and the slate can now play Ogg Vorbis music files.

Unlike Research in Motion’s PlayBook tablet, which essentially requires a BlackBerry handset for e-mail and other phone activities, HP is wisely opening up the TouchPad to non-webOS handsets to a point. The software update brings support for pairing other smartphones with the tablet, enabling owners to take phone calls directly on the TouchPad. When a call comes in on the smartphone, the tablet can be used to answer the call over a wireless Bluetooth connection.

With HP pulling the plug on new webOS hardware — there won’t be any more webOS phones or tablets from HP — it’s comforting to see the company continuing support for the devices already sold. The once $499 tablet was offered through a $99 fire-sale that hundreds of thousands took advantage of. And HP has recently told me via email that some developers have seen a tenfold uptick in application downloads.

So while the product line was ended not long after it began, the ecosystem is still alive and kicking. That’s good for those who bought a TouchPad as well as for webOS developers who can still make some money for their efforts.

  1. Thanks for the update could anyone comment on the performance gains if there are any? Nice to see the support continue on

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    1. I’m seeing faster applicacation launches and snapier performance in most areas. The email client opens much faster than it did prior to the update. (I had disabled logging, weeks prior to installing the patch. I’ve not used Skype yet so I can’t comment on that.

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  2. Partha Chatterjee Thursday, October 20, 2011

    I believe this is a HP strategy. To bulk-sell TouchPads, and give interesting updates. This will ensure that the masses have acess to Touchpads, and once HP sees a bunch of favorable reviews from the Touchpad owners, it will relaunch the Touchpad, which I believe will be a resounding success.

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  3. Since the new update,I have not been able to open any applications. Responds perfectly to swipes and rotation,but does not open apps!! Please help me troubleshoot this problem!

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