HP TouchPad: Facebook pros, cons and bottom line

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Just yesterday we provided our readers with a list of some of the best apps available for the newly released HP TouchPad tablet. If you read the article in question, you will know that one of the applications we mentioned was the Facebook app. The WebOS-based TouchPad is only the second tablet PC – with the BlackBerry PlayBook being the first – to have its own dedicated Facebook app.

Alex Colon from pcmag.com appeared quite impressed with the TouchPad’s Facebook app when he reviewed it, even going to the extent of describing it at the most highly interactive version of Facebook that they’d ever seen. However, he also noted that the app is still unfortunately missing some major features such as Groups and Chat, and does take a bit of getting used to.

There’s no real setup process required for the Facebook app, as it already comes built in to the tablet. All users have to do when opening the Facebook Tablet app for the first time is enter their Facebook username and password, and then choose the type and frequency of the notifications they would like to receive. The TouchPad’s version of Facebook looks different from other mobile versions.

The left-hand side of the screen features all the familiar Facebook functions such as Messages, News Feed, Places, Events, Photos and Friends. Facebook seems to have become increasingly more interactive since making the transition from desktop to mobile phones and tablets. However, the TouchPad’s version of Facebook appears to have taken the feeling of interactivity a step further.

If for example you tap on the News Feed function, it will bring up a feed displaying all of your friends’ recent activities. Although this may sound familiar to every Facebook user, it is when you tap on an individual status that things start getting more interesting. A window will then open up on the right of the screen that will not only display the status, but also the option to ‘Like’ it or leave a comment.

Another interesting point of the app is the way the photos are handled. If users tap directly on a photo, it will open up in a brand new window. Thumbnails of other photographs in that specific album will then be displayed at the bottom of the screen. TouchPad owners will also notice that the Facebook News Feed has been given a completely new tile-based view, although this view doesn’t appear to follow a specific order of time.

The downside as mentioned above is the fact that the app is currently lacking Groups and Facebook Chat. Alex also mentioned a couple of other misgivings he had with the HP TouchPad’s Facebook app including that his News Feed wasn’t displaying every single update and that the Notifications appear pretty weak at this point. Have you got the newly released HP TouchPad? If so, what do you think of its Facebook app?

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