updated 12:15 pm EST, Fri January 28, 2011
HP CEO hints February 9 webOS devices ship soon
HP's new CEO Leo Apotheker said in an interview late Thursday that at least some of the webOS hardware due at the February 9 event will ship quickly. He promised the BBC that these would be real, near-term introductions and that the hardware would be ready 'just a few weeks later.' The company was backing away from the mistakes of premature announcements that it made with devices like the Slate 500, which was unveiled in early January 2010 but didn't ship until October and had lost nearly all attention to the iPad.
"HP will stop making announcements for stuff it doesn't have," Apotheker said.
He also revealed the surprise that a second, possibly even larger introduction would come on March 14. Although not saying what it would involve, it would be a "secret answer" to competitors and a "vision of what HP is capable of in the future."
Any devices that were unveiled would come under the HP badge and wouldn't follow the typical Palm naming scheme that created devices like the Pre, Pixi and Treo.
The executive made it clear that Apple was a target for the strategy, which is widely known to involve at least one of the Opal and Topaz tablets as well as multiple new smartphones. He hoped that people would eventually say "'this is as cool as HP', not 'as cool as Apple'" and saw the Palm Pre 2 and other existing devices as a start.
Some of the recovery would come partly from HP strong points that could include its ability to fit devices into business, not just the home. Apotheker however partly saw HP as an already good company and that Apple's very large $316 billion market cap, three times the size of HP's, was evidence HP had squandered its public image rather than evidence of a need to change HP itself.