Of course, most folks showing up at the event weren't looking for the phones. Everyone was aware of the elephant in the room - several of them were present at the event, in fact. The iPad, super device of this generation, needs a competitor.
Meet the real star of the show - the HP Touchpad. It sports a 9.7 inch 1024x768 tablet with a dual core Qualcomm APQ8060 processor, clocked at a whopping 1.2ghz. Additional features include a 1.3 megapixel front facing webcam, 16 or 32gb of available internal storage, internal stereo speakers with HP's Beats Audio, and a special touchstone dock. I can't say this enough - this thing looks better in person than in pictures. It is unbelievably thin and very light, coming in at roughly 1.6 pounds for the whole package.
One of the most impressive demos at the show involved the way this new tablet works with the Pre3 seamlessly. Our demo rep pulled up a popular recipe website on the Touchpad, selecting a recipe for dinner that night. Touching a paired Pre3 to the home button of the Touchpad created a slick ripple effect across the screen. The web browser of the Pre3 opened and began loading the page on the Touchpad's screen, all via a single touch. The representative also demonstrated that text messages and phone calls coming in from that paired device would also show on the Touchpad screen. Responding to a text message no longer needs to be done on the tiny phone keyboard, but can be done from the TouchPad itself.
The notifications system has changed somewhat for the Touchpad - instead of the familiar bottom notifications that could be swiped away with the handheld WebOS devices, the Touchpad features a notification that scrolls across the top bar of the screen, and then tucks itself away in a notification icon that can be tapped to display all pending notifications. It is a VERY slick interface, even though it does move away from the WebOS notification model we've all come to love. The Touchpad is also not sporting a gesture area. At first, that decision puzzled me, but after seeing it in action, our swipe gestures - which make so much sense on the handhelds - wouldn't work quite as well on the much larger Touchpad.
Overall, this is a very slick looking team of devices coming out of HP.