updated 10:00 pm EDT, Thu August 19, 2010
HP firms up webOS tablet deadline
HP during the conference call discussing its latest fiscal results confirmed that its webOS tablet had been moved to next year. When asked about the company's weakness in notebooks due to the iPad, Personal Systems Group VP Todd Bradley answered back that the device, unofficially known as the PalmPad, would arrive in "early 2011." He also confirmed that the enterprise-only Windows 7 Slate would arrive in the "near future."
Most details surrounding the tablet have been kept vague, although it may support both finger and stylus touch. Before it was acquired by HP, Palm was regularly holding major product launches at CES in January and could have a repeat at next year's show if the tablet is sufficiently important.
The company has undergone a distinct reversal in its approach to tablets in just the past several months. Having committed only to slow-selling Windows convertible tablet notebooks before, HP was the centerpiece of CES when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer showed the Slate at his keynote. At the time, the tablet was considered a preemptive strike against Apple and proof that Windows 7 would be superior, but the unveiling of the iPad just weeks later almost immediately undermined HP's plans. Leaked specs showed it would have worse battery life and a higher price even though it would have more expansion.
HP's acquisition of Palm was made with tablets in mind from the start and, through existing scale, could make it one of the largest competitors to Apple.