Tuesday, August 3, 2010

HP Confirms Plans for Both Windows and webOS Tablets

HP Confirms Plans for Both Windows and webOS Tablets
Hewlett-Packard will offer a tablet computer with Windows 7 for business and a second tablet with Palm's webOS for a consumer tablet. HP gave no pricing or release dates beyond "fall" for the Windows slate. Despite the dismal showing for webOS in the smartphone market, an analyst said HP will need to figure out how to use it in a tablet.
Hewlett-Packard has confirmed it plans separate tablet computers running Microsoft's Windows and Palm's webOS. HP says it will use Windows for a business device and webOS for a consumer-oriented machine.
No release dates, product specs, or prices have been named, but HP spokesperson Marlene Somsak told us in an e-mail that a Slate-type computer is coming soon.

Slated For Fall

"We aren't saying anything beyond 'fall' for a Windows-based slate," she wrote. "And we have not set an official name or set pricing. We are aiming that product at the commercial market. webOS from Palm is the platform Relevant Products/Services for our consumer slate -- no timing, name or pricing revealed there."

Somsak declined further comment.

Speculation abounded last week about the technology giant's tablet plans when the HP Slate made a brief appearance on the company's web site, listed as the Slate 500-1002TU, with no release date or price. First unveiled by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, the Slate was assumed to be dead when HP purchased the failing Palm, creator of webOS.

The Slate 500-1002TU was described in product specs as a fun device for social media, photos and videos, which means it's not likely the upcoming HP Windows device geared toward enterprises. It had an 8.9-inch screen, video and still cameras, a gigabyte of memory, a 1.6-gigahertz processor, and support for input from an electronic pen "to write or draw as if on a piece of paper," HP said.

That device disappeared from the web site after it prompted numerous articles in the technology media.

A Two-Pronged Approach

Taking advantage of Microsoft's strong desire to be in the burgeoning tablet market -- Ballmer on July 12 said it is "one of the most important things we'll do in the smart-device category" -- while also promoting webOS for tablets makes sense, said Altimeter Group consultant Michael Gartenberg.

"It's all in the details, of course," Gartenberg said. "As HP has already shown some of their Windows 7-based tablet, I'm not surprised they want to leverage it with at least some audience, and the Windows-based nature makes sense for the business market."

"We've only seen webOS on phones," Gartenberg noted. "HP will need to figure out what the proper webOS experience is on a tablet, much as the iPad differs from the iPhone in a number of ways for an optimized tablet experience."

HP acquired Palm for $1.2 billion in a deal that was completed July 1.

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