Ok, so I literally spent about two minutes with HPs ill fated Touchpad down at my local PC world.
First impressions - yup, it's a little bulky and carries a real heft... but I think that was more down to the security device and umbilical attached to the back of the unit.
Honestly, other than the smooth plastic casing that makes up the rear, it didn't feel much different from my iPad. But my iPad is a first generation product, and next to iPad 2, the Touchpad faces stiff competition.
Anyway, I was keen to try WebOS, the operating system under which the Touchpad runs.
Initially, the experience is very pleasing - smooth transitions and animations greet you as you prod and swipe your way through the user interface. The photo viewer worked as expected but the pinch to zoom gesture suffered by being a bit laggy but not by much. But, it has to be said, laggier than our old iPod Touch which operates on much inferior hardware.
How about the web browser? Well, the pulsing 'opening app' icon is certainly reassuring - it tells me that the machine hasn't hung and is in fact doing something.
Not quite sure what it was doing, because it took at least 10-15 seconds to show the browser window. To be honest I wasn't counting because I didn't expect it to take so long. 10-15 seconds? Really? For the browser?
At this point I got caught up the the stores' wifi encryption and couldn't proceed any further without the assistance of a purpleshirt.
But anyway. 10-15 seconds to open the browser?
Now, to be fair, this is mitigated by the fact that the calendar and photo apps opened much quicker and it's easy to swipe between them. So you could endure the wait for the browser once per session and just jump between the stuff you have open. It's much better than Apple's home button double-click approach, as it actually looks like a multitasking UI.
As I said, this was just a few minutes of hands on with an eagerly anticipated device.
It's a real shame HP have decided to ditch the Touchpad so soon after launch. WebOS holds much promise and is sufficiently fresh and different from iOS that those seeking non Apple or non Android options for tablet computing would be more than satisfied with this offering.