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HP Hurricane tablet running webOS due this summer?

updated 08:30 pm EDT, Sat May 8, 2010

HP may have webOS tablet very quickly

HP's plans to axe the Windows 7 slate for a webOS alternative may be coming much quicker than expected, an apparent leak claimed on Saturday. The Palm-based tablet would be codenamed the Hurricane and could be ready as soon as the summer. Its specs weren't mentioned by the Examiner's HP source, but it would very likely have to abandon the Intel Atom chip for an ARM processor.

Such a rapid development would be unlikely for a tablet being developed from scratch and instead suggests that HP may have simply repurposed an already in-development slate for webOS. Rumors had circulated during CES of Android tablets in the works, any of which could potentially be converted to webOS with little work. HP had hinted very strongly while discussing its buyout of Palm that it wanted webOS for tablets and, during a presentation, showed a render of its known slate design multiple times.

While rumors have circulated that the Windows 7 slate may still be alive, the sudden attention to webOS along with the original rumor of the Windows tablet's death could be major blows to Microsoft. It had heavily promoted the slate as an example of what Windows 7 could do in a touchscreen environment, but a premature death could signal that HP was unhappy with the poor battery life and performance along with rumored interface problems. It may instead be consciously following the iPad model and developing a tablet where it not only uses a lightweight, touch-friendly mobile OS but has direct control over both the hardware and software.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. iphonerulez

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2008

    +1

    I hope Microsoft wasn't counting too much

    on OEM Windows 7 licenses for the HP Slate. Microsoft still has some chance of getting Windows 7 on a tablet when some company starts selling an Intel Z600 tablet. There are still some people desperate to get Windows 7 on a tablet no matter what compromises have to be made. Though I doubt if there will be that many buyers to make a success out of it.

  1. qazwart

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2001

    +10

    Palm already has HP Slates

    Although the two companies aren't merged yet, Palm already has HP Slates and they're busy milling away.

    WebOS, like the base Mac OS X for the iPhone, was never designed to be strictly a Phone OS. And, it was designed to be processor neutral too. Getting it to work on the HP Slate shouldn't be very difficult.

    The issue is applications. In order to make the HP Slate a viable competitor to the iPad, it needs a lot of basic apps: ToDo list, Notepad, Mail, Browser, Photo, Music, Video, etc. All of these must be written from scratch.

    The problem is that Palm already has a weak set of apps. When the iPad came out, it already had about 3000 iPad specific apps the first day the iPad came out. I don't think WebOS has 3000 apps as of now. Not only that, but Apple gave many companies -- especially magazine and book publishers -- incentives to produce apps. Plus, Apple produced about a dozen native apps including the iWork suite of apps. Apple also had a larger three month period between the announcement of the iPad and the production of the iPad. They were able to give developers a SDK for the iPad.

    The hope for HP and Palm is that many users will be happy enough with the basic set of apps that they'll buy an HP Slate with WebOS anyway, and the sales will drive people to develop for WebOS.

    HP will have a few tricks up its sleeve. The Slate will not require a desktop system to work, tt will be able to connect to a printer and other third party devices, and it will have a way of backing it up to a hard drive or a service like Mozy.

  1. Feathers

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Oct 1999

    +7

    Tweaking?

    I never thought I would see the day when HP would tweak the nose of both Microsoft and Intel. This has got to be good news whatever the outcome, even if their WebOS tablet fails miserably. It suggests that there may be changing attitudes at HP. This is yet another blow to the failing fortunes of Microsoft. :-)

  1. JeffHarris

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999

    +5

    Palm DNA

    Palm was a solid, forward-thinking company until it became aquisition bait, then hot potato, tossed from company to company, completely losing focus, never recovering.

    I was a Palm user for years and at the end, only because of a dearth of replacement devices. Then the iPod touch came out. Now I love my iPad!!!

    There were (are?) lots of Palm OS applications, many that were quite good, so I'm wondering how easy, or impossible, it would be to port at least some of them to webOS? This might be able to give this tablet thing some kind of boost.

  1. MacnnChester

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007

    0

    The HP Ecosystem

    I like qwart's comments about Hp and some of the latitude it has over even Apple when it comes to a few "tricks." If Hp separates its table os from computers entirely and can print via wifi to its own printers and back up via wifi to its own home servers or Mozy then it can have a pretty compelling product. Palm apps and history are still great attributes and even their disasterous tango with MS gave it some institutional experience with the larger ecosystem ... and what not to do there.

    Maybe Hp can make a Courier and force Apple to do the same. Highly portable dual screens is where its at!

  1. FreeRange

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2009

    -4

    Ridiculous

    They haven't even gotten the phone near acceptable for the market, and now they're going to divert attention to a tablet? They don't have a chance.... jumping from a sinking ship into a quagmire.

  1. canonsucks

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2010

    +2

    Quagmire

    Giggity!

  1. spyintheskyuk

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2009

    +2

    A bunch of old chestnuts

    Some delusional comments above as usual. Clearly considering the fate of Courier portable dual screens are definitely NOT where it is at. It has one advantage in that it is easier to put in a pocket, in every other respect as soon as you have to actually use it, it has little but disadvantages and debilitating compromises, not to mention extra costs for less performance. Only when, as can ironically be seen in an Apple video of the 90s, a folding screen can be perfected will such a folding device be the optimum design for a media or indeed dynamic computer orientated mobile device. That dear friends is some way off.

    As for Palm it hasn't been a solid forward looking company for donkey's years which is why it replaced all its dead in the water board with Apple castaways in a last gasp effort to survive and who despite some good (if hopelessly optimistic) work have blatantly failed to turn that company into anything but takeover bait. Now HP are making a desperate but totally understandable effort to remain relevant to the future of mobile computing/media without having to hump around the weight of the rusty anchor called Microsoft holding it back.

  1. Darchmare

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2009

    0

    Funny...

    When I think of John Rubenstein - or the Apple alumni who followed him - I hardly think of the term 'castaway'.

    Palm has talent now. What they haven't had is inertia. WebOS was, ultimately, too little too late and not marketed well enough. HP is their last best hope, and anyone other than a complete Apple fanboy should be cheering for them to invigorate the market.

    Apple builds high quality portable devices - but they do their best work with a healthy dose of competition. Wishing for the failure of anyone who might compete is foolish. A healthy ecosystem is one where Apple can't rest on its laurels.

  1. cmoney

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2000

    +1

    Re: Old chestnuts

    Right...because Courier was canceled solely because of the dual screens and not because it was based on a non-existant, non-proven UI which existed only in video mockup form with no basis in shipping products whatsoever. It was purely a concept that got out of the labs.

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