Will HP manufacture and sell more TouchPads?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Isn't it ironic that a "dead" gadget is so hot these days? After all, HP announced that they were going to stop support of webOS mobile devices like the TouchPad. Then, they dropped the price on these tablets to $99. Now, there are rumors that Samsung may want to acquire webOS and make their own mobile operating system since Google has tied the knot with Motorola.

Will webOS make a comeback? Will HP decide to manufacture and sell more TouchPads for a ridiculously low price of $99? Maybe this will put some pressure on other tablet manufacturers to lower their prices.

6 free HP webOS apps for the TouchPad

Friday, August 26, 2011

If you have an HP TouchPad, then you might be interested to know that HP is providing six apps for free in the HP App Catalog. Learn more about these free apps here. Sounds like they'll be releasing six more free apps next month, so stay tuned.

Lenovo ThinkPad slate tablet (Android OS) is now on sale

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Lenovo ThinkPad tablet is now on sale. Don't get this one confused with the ThinkPad X220 tablets that are convertible laptops.

The ThinkPad tablet runs Android and it's a slate. However, you're limited to the Wi-Fi versions for now. The tablets that include 3G radios will be coming in October. Even though theThinkPad tablets run Google's Android OS, this tablet isn't just like all the other Android tablets out there. This one is really built for business users who require enterprise-level services. Sounds like it could be a good fit for the health care industry. This photo is from GottaBeMobile.

The ThinkPad tablet includes a digitzer pen and has a built-in pen storage compartment in the tablet. It also includes multiple connectivity ports: Native USB 2.0 and micro-USB ports, full-size SD card slot and mini-HDMI output. You won't find these features on most Android tablets (or the Apple iPad for that matter).

Lenovo has made a nice tablet here, but I wonder why it won't be available with a 4G antenna this fall. After all, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Motorola Xoom are available with 4G.

Testing medical apps on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

For the past few days, I've been spending a lot of time with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. This is a super-slim slate tablet running Android 3.1 (Honeycomb) and it's delightfully fast and responsive because it's powered by a 1 GHz dual-core processor. The tablet I'm testing was provided by Sprint and it's the Wi-Fi version.

Given that I have an iPad and several other slate tablets, I'm using reference points that are probably familiar to most of you. If you're familiar with the Android OS, then you'll find that the Galaxy Tab is very easy to use, even though it uses Android 3.1 where all the navigation is done via on-screen buttons. The only hardware buttons you'll find on the Galaxy Tab are the power and volume buttons. There's no back, no home, no menu, no search. All of that navigation is now done on the screen.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 has a nice wide screen and the resolution is 1280x800. App developers are still in the process of creating apps for these larger screens, so you won't find too many Android apps that will leverage the large screens on these tablets. Most of the medical and health apps are still designed for smartphones and they won't run in portrait mode.

Let's look at a few examples of free Android medical apps running on the Galaxy Tab 10.1:

Epocrates  
This app works in either portrait or landscape mode. Nice! The user experience is essentially identical to the experience on a smartphone. This app hasn't been optimized for a large screen yet.

QuantiaMD
The main page only works in portrait mode. You'll view content in landscape mode. This is the same on a smartphone. The QuantiaMD app on a Galaxy Tab also leverages the large screen and displays a running list of discussions on the left column. This is a nice feature. I'd like to see the main page in landscape mode. I'm sure that will be coming soon. I invite you to join QuantiaMD. For a limited time, you will receive $10 for joining and confirming your clinician status on QuantiaMD.

Medscape
This app mainly works in portrait mode. Plus, some of the content is formatted for a smaller screen, so it's not optimized for a large tablet yet. The current version is v1.05 and I'm sure they'll soon release an update that will allow you to use this app in both landscape and portrait mode.

Doximity
Sorry, but it doesn't look like Doximity is available for Android 3.1. You can find Doximity on your Android smartphone running 2.2 or 2.3, but it won't show up in the Android Market on my Galaxy Tab 10.1.

MedpageToday
This app works in either portrait or landscape mode. Nice! The user experience is essentially identical to the experience on a smartphone. This app hasn't been optimized for a large screen yet. I actually don't use the MedpageToday app very much because I'm always online. I prefer to visit the site using a mobile browser.

Skyscape
This app works in either portrait or landscape mode. However, it currently shows up as a really small screen on the Galaxy Tab 10.1. I'm sure that Skyscape will have an update to fix this soon.

MPR (Monthly Prescribing Reference)
This app works in either portrait or landscape mode. Nice!

There are certainly many other medical apps that I could mention, but these are the ones I picked for this review. Eventually, I predict that just about every Android app will work in either landscape or portrait mode. This is inevitable given that the same OS is powering smartphones and tablets.

As I continue to test the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, I'll post additional thoughts, photos, and videos of my user experience, so stay tuned. I want to thank Sprint for giving me the opportunity to test the Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Comparing the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 vs. 7.0

Monday, August 22, 2011


Samsung originally entered the U.S. Android tablet market with the Galaxy Tab 7.0 running Google Android. This 7" tablet is considerably smaller than the Apple iPad, so it appealed to folks who wanted something small and pocketable in a white coat pocket. The small form factor wasn't appealing to those who wanted to larger tablet that also facilitated on-screen touch typing in landscape mode.

Now, Samsung has the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and this is a very nice tablet. I've been testing both units for the past week and here are some initial thoughts:

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is very thin and fast. Compared to the original Galaxy Tab 7.0, you're getting numerous enhancements and upgrades by choosing the 10.1.
  • The 10.1 is much thinner than the 7.0. Here are the 10.1 specs (10.10”x6.90”x0.34”) vs. the 7.0 specs (7.48 x 4.74 x 0.47 inches)
  • The 10.1 is much faster than the 7.0, thanks to a dual-core processor.
  • The 7.0 is still a nice, basic tablet for those who wish to buy a cost-effective alternative.
  • The 10.1 runs Android 3.1 while the 7.0 still runs Android 2.2.
Right now, you can get the Wi-Fi Galaxy Tab 10.1 from Sprint. If you want to get a 4G model, then you can either wait or get one from Verizon.

HP will discontinue operations for webOS TouchPad

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Today, HP announced that they were going to discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward. Do you recall how much HP spent when they acquired Palm? $1.2 billion! So, what does all this mean? Where will webOS be used in the future? I anticipate that HP will join HTC, Samsung, LG, and others to develop innovative mobile devices running other operating systems like Google Android or Microsoft Windows Phone. Bye bye webOS mobile devices. Bye bye Palm Pre. Bye bye TouchPad. It was fun knowing you.

How many of these tablets can you identify?

Here's a photo that includes all the tablet computers that I had in my office last week. How many can you recognize?

Let's start with the left column:
  • Samsung Q1 Ultra UMPC (Windows)
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 (Android)
  • HTC EVO View 4G (Android )
  • HP Slate 500 (Windows)
Right column:
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (Android)
  • Apple iPad (iOS)
  • HP TouchPad (webOS)
Did you get all those? I only own 3 of these devices. I'm currently testing all the others. Which 3 do I own?

HP Slate 500 (Windows 7) vs. HP TouchPad (webOS)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The HP Slate 500 runs Microsoft Windows 7.
The HP TouchPad runs HP (formerly Palm) webOS.

The operating system certainly sets these devices apart. Although Windows 7 allows you to run practically any desktop application on the Slate 500, the small screen size may limit your ability to view certain things.

These slate tablets certainly have other features that set them apart and here is a photo showing them side-by-side so that you can compare the thickness of each device. The TouchPad is 0.54" thick (left) while the Slate 500 is 0.58" thick (right).

Other key differences:
  • Screen sizes: the Slate 500 has an 8.9" screen while the TouchPad has a 9.7" screen.
  • Digitizer: The Slate 500 supports an active pen digitizer that is powered by N-Trig. Plus, it supports capacitive multi-touch gestures. The TouchPad has no pen.
  • Expansion: The Slate 500 has an SD card slot. No expansion slots on the TouchPad.
  • Power: The Slate 500 requires a proprietary power plug. The TouchPad is powered by a standard micro-USB port.
  • Battery life: The Slate 500 will go roughly 4-5 hrs on battery life. The TouchPad will go for 8 hrs.
Here, you'll see that the TouchPad is on the left and the Slate 500 is on the right. If you're mainly using your tablet in portrait mode, then the Slate 500 will have the tendency to cut off portions of most web pages. You'll need to scroll horizontally to view those sections.

I use my Slate 500 all the time. I mainly use it as my digital notepad and I scribble (literally) on it all the time. I also have an iPad at home, but I seem to be using it less these days. Maybe that's part of the reason why I didn't find myself using the TouchPad all the time. I already have a Slate 500 that I can use for web browsing, email, etc. 

In short, these two HP devices are completely different gadgets, even though they're both made by HP. Both have a place in the professional setting. The Slate 500 is a mini PC that can run enterprise-level applications in Windows 7. Is this what you really need? If you're looking for a nice basic tablet that has strong battery life, then you'll want the TouchPad over the Slate 500. It'll be interesting to see what kinds of apps get developed for webOS. Will HP open this operating system up to other hardware manufacturers? Will companies like HTC, Samsung, and LG also create mobile devices running webOS?


A few days with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wow, this slate tablet is thin! In fact, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is currently the thinnest 10" tablet on the market. At 8.6mm thick, it barely beats the iPad 2 which is 8.8 mm thick (converting 0.34 inches to 8.636 mm doesn't work because Apple uses 8.8 mm in its specs). At any rate, can you really notice 0.2 mm of difference? Probably not. You won't find support for microSD cards on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. You'll need the Motorola Xoom if you need to read microSD cards on a larger Android tablet.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 that I am currently testing was provided to me by Sprint. This is a Wi-Fi tablet and I'm sure we can expect a 4G version for Sprint fairly soon. The 4G Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is currently available from Verizon.

This is the first device running Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) that I've really had the chance to use. I've played around with Android 3.0, but I didn't have the opportunity to spend this kind of time with a device running this OS. Overall, I think I like Honeycomb, but I'll need to get used to the screen-only navigation because I'm still used to buttons.

My initial impressions using the HTC EVO View 4G from Sprint

Monday, August 15, 2011

I've been testing the HTC EVO View 4G from Sprint for several days now. This is a 7" Android slate tablet that also has the ability to accept input using the HTC Scribe pen. This is not your Wacom-based active digitizer. Rather, the HTC Scribe Digital Pen uses the same type of technology found on devices like the HP Slate 500 (N-trig DuoSense). So, the pen uses a AAAA battery and has functional buttons so that you can draw, erase, etc. This is a great little tablet for health care professionals who are accustomed to pen-based input.

The HTC EVO View 4G fits nicely in a white coat pocket. I was showing this to a hospital CMIO who said, "I'm going to get one." Although the Apple iPad is a very nice device, it really doesn't fit into a standard white coat pocket. The 7" HTC EVO View 4G fits very easily. Plus, the Android OS is familiar to anyone who already has an Android smartphone.

My initial impressions:

  • Very nice tablet running Android 
  • Small and light: fits easily into a white coat pocket
  • The pen-based input works well (HTC Scribe Technology), but it is not as smooth and accurate as Wacom-based tablets
  • Great to have cameras on the front and back
  • 4G data speeds (WiMAX) speeds from Sprint are excellent
I'll be posting additional thoughts as I spend more time with this device. 

I'm reviewing the Sprint HTC EVO View 4G and Samsung Galaxy Tabs (7.0 and 10.1)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thanks to my media contact at Sprint, I now have the opportunity to review these 3 Sprint tablets over the next few weeks:
  • HTC EVO View 4G (with the HTC Scribe™ digital pen)
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Stay tuned as I open the boxes and review these 3 tablets running Google Android. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is running Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) while the others are running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). My HTC ThunderBolt smartphone is still running Android 2.2 (Froyo), so that's going to be my baseline comparison.

Medical apps for the HP TouchPad running webOS

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I've been testing the HP TouchPad for over a week now. I have this pulled out next to my iPad and HP Slate 500 and I find myself comparing these 3 tablets as I browse different websites and perform some basic tasks.

When it comes to medical apps for the HP TouchPad running webOS, you'll find that Lexicomp (by Lexi-Comp, Inc.) is the only medical app that shows up on the HP App Catalog (the "app store" for HP webOS) for the large screen that's on the TouchPad. These apps say "For TouchPad" above the green purchase/Free button. Lexicomp is a great medical reference app, but you'll have to purchase the products after your free trial ends.

Other medical apps made by Palmdoc.net are formatted for the smaller screens found on HP smartphones like the former Palm Pre, the Pre3, the Pixi, the Veer, and other smartphones running webOS.

Partners HealthCare Clinicians Go Mobile With CACHÉ-based Electronic Health Records

Monday, August 8, 2011

Secure Access to Latest Patient Information Any Time, Anywhere

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--InterSystems Corporation today announced that Partners HealthCare Systems is now providing clinicians throughout its integrated delivery network (IDN) with mobile access to its electronic health record (EHR). The InterSystems CACHÉ high-performance object database is the foundation platform for Partners HealthCare’s EHR and for hundreds of clinical applications used by thousands of clinicians throughout the IDN.

Boston-based Partners HealthCare is an IDN that includes major teaching and community hospitals with more than 5,000 practicing physicians attending to four million outpatient visits and 160,000 admissions annually. InterSystems is a global provider of advanced integration, database, and business intelligence technologies for breakthrough applications.

Browsing on the HP TouchPad with Adobe Flash support

I've been testing the HP TouchPad and I find it refreshing to browse the web with Adobe Flash support. I also have an Apple iPad which doesn't support Flash (unless you use a browser like Skyfire), so it's nice to use a tablet where I can view Flash-enabled content. Pinch-to-zoom and touch navigation was quick and responsive. Instead of using tabbed browsing, the HP TouchPad uses cards for each new web page. It's easy to switch windows, but it requires a few additional steps. I personally prefer tabbed browsing because it's much faster to switch windows.

The TouchPad has a 9.7-inch diagonal XGA capacitive, multitouch screen with a vibrant, 18-bit color, 1,024 x 768 resolution display.

Stay tuned as I continue to review the HP TouchPad. I'll be posting some photos comparing the HP TouchPad, the Apple iPad, and the HP Slate 500 soon.

Initial impressions on the HP TouchPad

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I received an HP TouchPad the other day so that I could review the unit. I've only had the device for a day, but here are my initial impressions:

Beautifully made, the TouchPad has dimensions that are very close to the Apple iPad. The device charges my microUSB, so that makes things very convenient. The build is excellent, the buttons are easy to press, and the speakers and nice and loud. HP webOS is responsive and the dual-core processor makes multitasking a breeze. The user interface is simple, intuitive, and easy to learn. I don't think you'll have any trouble figuring out how to use a device running webOS.

The biggest drawback at this point is the fact that you simply won't find many medical apps in the HP App Catalog. Those that you find are currently optimized for a smaller screen like the Pre. You'll have a similar app experience if you run an iPhone app on the large screen of an iPad. In the HP App Catalog, apps that are developed for the larger screen of the TouchPad say "For TouchPad" above the green app button that you would tap to purchase or download the app.

What do you think about the HP TouchPad?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Unlike other slate tablet devices, the HP TouchPad runs its own operating system called HP webOS (formerly called Palm webOS). This operating system is optimzed for multitasking and the system also supports Adobe Flash. With support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, VPN2, and Wi-Fi3, TouchPad gives you seamless, more secure access to corporate content and services. And webOS means it's ready for the next generation of cloud services.

I plan to review a demo unit fairly soon, so stay tuned. I'll be comparing the HP TouchPad against the iPad, the HP Slate 500 (which runs Microsoft Windows 7), and a few other mobile devices.

About Dr. Joseph Kim

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Dr. Joseph Kim is the founder of MobileHealthComputing.com, an independent website owned and operated by Dr. Kim. He is also the President of MCM Education, a professional medical education and publishing company that develops continuing medical education (CME) activities in joint sponsorship with medical universities, hospitals, and medical associations. Dr. Kim is a digital entrepreneur and technologist who has a passion for health information technology, mobile health, and social media. He frequently speaks at conferences about non-clinical careers for physicians, continuing medical education, mobile health technology, and social media in medicine. Dr. Kim holds a bachelor of science in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a doctorate of medicine from the University of Arkansas College of Medicine, and a master of public health from the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health.
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