It was confirmed today that the HP TouchPad tablet PC will be available in the UK on the 15 July, from £399. UK customers have been able to pre-order the TouchPad from 19 June. The TouchPad is HP’s first webOS tablet. The 16GB HP TouchPad will be available direct from HP for £399. Its 32GB sister device will retail from £479.

HP is hoping that the much-vaunted webOS will allow it to start making some serious returns on the $1.2bn investment it made in April 2010 in buying Palm, principally for its mobile operating system. WebOS has been well received by smartphone users on devices such as the Palm Pre, but hardware issues hobbled major sales.

With Apple's iOS and the iPad dominating the market for tablets, and Google Android tablets coming up fast in the rear, it remains to be seen how popular the HP TouchPad (reviewed here) will be. BlackBerry will release its BlackBerry PlayBook into the same, crowded market later in the year.

HP is hoping to differentiate its device in such a crowded market with both its multimedia capabilities, and ability to share data by simply touching two WebOS devices together. The tablet market was moribund for many years until Apple released its Apple iPad and sold 15 million devices in the first year. But Apple already had many millions of Apple iPhone and - crucially - iTunes users, and the TouchPad will go it alone with no such dedicated webOS userbase.

Commenting on the TouchPad's launch, HP's Jon Rubinstein said: "What makes HP TouchPad a compelling alternative to competing products is webOS.

"The platform’s unmatched features and flexibility will continue to differentiate HP products from the rest of the market for both personal and professional use. This is only the beginning of what HP’s scale can do with webOS."

You can find HP's TouchPad page here:

VIDEO: Hands on with the HP TouchPad tablet

See also: Hands on with the HP Touchpad