updated 02:25 pm EST, Tue January 18, 2011
HP Opal and Topaz webOS tablets shown
HP's webOS tablets were finally uncovered for the first time in a leak that has given some of their first concrete details. In addition to the nine-inch Topaz, a seven-inch counterpart known as the Opal is due to arrive with a heavy focus on e-reading. Both of the Palm-designed slates were identified by Engadget as having front facing cameras, micro USB for docking and what may be a unique "premium audio" focus with three speakers.
The webOS sample screen in the shot doesn't give major clues but does suggest that the Palm team will have at least spun some mild optimizations for the larger screen sizes. Apart from more viewing area, the bottom launcher now has a search button that would presumably bring up the touchscreen keyboard for Just Type searches.
Cellular networking would play a strong role and has given a clue as to the ship dates. Along with a Wi-Fi only version, the Opal would come in models with HSPA for AT&T's 3G network and LTE for Verizon 4G would be available in September. An AT&T 4G version would arrive in July 2012. Topaz's release schedule wasn't mentioned and may have it ship sooner.
HP has a February 9 event scheduled where the Topaz might make its first appearance along with other webOS smartphones. Whichever devices ship first, they will be Palm's first to show a significant influence from HP after the acquisition and will be HP's first real attempts to compete directly with Apple, Motorola, RIM and others shipping new or updated tablets this year.