After skimming through the interface of the new HP webOS tablet I wanted to share my first impressions. To start with my overall feeling: webOS on the HP-Palm Touchpad offers a basic set of functionalities and navigation. That makes the TouchPad an ideal tablet for users that are looking for an easy-to-use device without too much advanced options.
Size-wise the TouchPad feels similar to the iPad and also the Home button serves the same purpose. The multitask 'card'-based UI is the center of the navigation, showing all running applications parallel and allowing to access them by swiping sideways. Similar apps are stacked upon each other (akin to the stackable-widgets-idea of the AndroidOS).
Apps open with a playful slide animation but there's no indication on how to close them again - this works by dragging them off the screen. It's actually possible to open a huge amount of apps which are then placed side-by-side. However, to jump back to the first opened app, the user has to swipe a lot without having an overview nor an indication of the current position within the cards. That may be somewhat annoying for users that use many apps.
The visual language of the webOS is a bit inconsistent at times, which can also be charming in a sense. Some apps follow the iPad style, some are darker with a glossy look-and-feel, and some appear completely different. As this is just the first release of HP’s webOS for tablets, I surely expect the OS to be further refined based on feedback from the market.
All in all the tablet is easy to use and bears a striking resemblance to existing platforms and tablets. The basic set of functionality and the playful look-and-feel make it a nice tablet for none-power users.