HP webOS slate pictured, may not arrive until September


— 6:00 AM on January 20, 2011

So that's what HP's webOS slates will look like. Maybe. At the very least, the (allegedly) leaked renders published by Engadget yesterday afternoon look awfully plausible. I think the best way to describe the device pictured would be as the love child of an iPad and a Palm Pre, sans a front button or a slide-out keyboard.

Engadget says the tablet in the pictures is dubbed the Topaz. It has a nine-inch display, a front-facing camera, a micro-USB port, and a glossy back. HP is also said to be planning the Opal, a seven-inch derivative designed more for e-book reading than for trying to woo consumers away from the iPad.

The same site reported earlier this month that HP is planning an "exciting webOS announcement" for February 9, so we may hear more about these slates from a more official source soon. There may be a bit of a lag between said announcement and actual products materializing, though. A leaked slide also posted by Engadget quotes a September 2011 North American launch time frame for the Opal tablet, which will apparently be out in both Wi-Fi and 3G versions.

September would be quite a wait, considering the rumor mill is already abuzz with news of the second-generation iPad. We're almost sure to see Android 3.0-powered slates arrive before September, as well. I suppose the wait might be worth it if the Opal delivers an uncanny level of polish and solid backing from the developer community. Only time will tell if HP can pull that off, though.

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