Would I be content with a (cheap) TouchPad for my ministry?

Perhaps you heard this week the news that HP has suddenly and without warning gotten themselves out of the tablet market. Earlier this year, the HP TouchPad had been touted by some as an “iPad killer” – that is, that HP’s device would be so good and so popular that no one would want an iPad anymore. Less than two months after the TouchPad’s launch, however, HP announced that they would not be selling them anymore and were scratching their work on the WebOS operating system that the TouchPad runs on. But what does this have to do with a blog that’s about pastors who use iPads?

First, I want to go on record as saying that I’m disappointed. I love my iPad, but I’m convinced that competition to Apple from other tablet makers will only be good for consumers in the long run.

But the real point of this post has to do with reports that the HP TouchPad has been found at drastically reduced prices online and at retail stores like Walmart and Staples. Apparently $499 (32 GB) or $399 (16 GB) for the HP slate was not attractive to many buyers. But $149 or $99 for the same devices has them selling like hotcakes. Retailers have seen them flying off the shelves (along with the dust that had accumulated over the last six weeks).

So, if I’m a pastor on a tight budget and I’ve been drooling over an iPad for a year but haven’t been able to justify the price (even with the help of this blog), should I jump on the opportunity to pick up one of these firesale tablets? Will it do for me what an iPad would do if I could afford one?

I had a chance to play with a TouchPad this weekend. My first impression is that the interface and performance were much better than I was expecting. (Maybe that reveals that I’m more of an Apple snob than I think.)  The apps were perhaps a tad slow to open at times, and the look and feel isn’t as slick as what I’m used to with the iPad, but overall I thought, “This is a nice gadget for $149.” Think of it this way: Amazon’s Kindle sells for just a bit less than that. The TouchPad not only has a Kindle app for books, it does quite a bit more besides, with a nice color screen. Read more of this post