According to Engadget,
Hewlett-Packard subsidiary Palm is preparing a pair of tablets to try to create
an identity for itself in this hot market. It was long expected that
Hewlett-Packard, the world
leader in personal computer shipments, would come up with a
legitimate tablet competitor.
With the acquisition of
Palm, the giant seemed to have the intellectual property --
including a proprietary mobile operating system (webOS) -- necessary to mount
such a campaign. But eight months later HP has only delivered one
tablet -- the Slate 500 (formerly code-named
"Hurricane"), which was an Intel-based tablet that used Windows 7
instead of webOS.
With the arrival of webOS 2.0 (code-named
"Mansion"), the speculation about a webOS tablet has yet
again peaked, and this time it appears we may have true webOS
tablets on our hands. Renders of a 9-inch tablet code-named
"Topaz" and a 7-inch tablet code-named "Opal" hit the web
ahead of a special February 9 event, whose tagline is "Think big.
Think small. Think beyond."
According to the tipster, the unit packs a button-free design, a single
front-facing camera, a Micro USB port, and three-speaker surround sound
(similar to the upcoming Sony Vaio tablet). The unit reportedly runs on a
1.2 GHz processor, though it is unknown whether that is an Intel low-voltage
Atom SoC, an ARM chip such as a NVIDIA Tegra 2, or refreshed Qualcomm
Prototype builds will reportedly arrive by June, with the commercial release of
Wi-Fi-only, AT&T 3G, and Verizon LTE versions of the Opal slated for
September 2011, and on AT&T LTE in July 2012. There's no word yet
when the Topaz will launch, but it will likely follow a similar timeframe.
Also unknown is the planned production volumes. The Slate 500 only had an
initial production run of 5,000 units and actually faced a demand overrun when
HP logged 9,000 orders forcing the company to inform customers of a
disappointing backorder. HP will likely be looking to better keep up with
demand and commit to a larger launch this time around, if it hopes to keep up
in the tablet market.
HP has plenty to worry about in that regard. WebOS has yet to grace a
production tablet. Meanwhile, Windows 7 has crept into the tablet space
and Android and iOS are waging a full-fledged war for tablet dominance.
Most of the other big players in the tablet space (barring Apple) are backing Android, though Intel claims that more Windows 7 tablets are on their way too.
WebOS 2.0 has the potential to do well in the tablet space if HP commits to it
sufficiently. Like Android and iOS, it was built with a mobile,
app-driven, touch-centric world in mind, versus a traditional operating system
like Windows 7 that feels somewhat clunky on a tablet, according to some