HP webOS slate pictured, may not arrive until September

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.

Comments closed
    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    If you were a developer, what draws you to this platform that PalmOS didn’t?

    If you are a user, what applications draw you into this that the three other platforms (one of which is quite mature already) doesn’t. Hell, Microsoft has hundreds of thousands of legacy apps that *could* work and they still don’t get any respect.

    HP has historically been a terrible software developer, especially when it comes to UI, and especially software in the x86 realm. Look at HP’s website, it hasn’t changed significantly for a decade and I find numerous functionality issues with it all the time. Look at their driver bloat, I kid you not some modern driver packages are 300 megs!!!

    In short, what guarantee does HP have that they’ll be here ten years down the line with a mature supported environment for all ecosystems involved? Apple? I know they’ll have a migration path from an iPod to an iPhone to an iPad to whatever is next. (I predict [i<]iEye[/i<].) I simply don't see how this platform scales, no matter how "cool" Palm was back in the day. I'm predicting death after 6 months introduction, or never introduced at all.

      • blastdoor
      • 9 years ago

      Truth I think it is that you are speaking

    • crose
    • 9 years ago

    I like the look of those tablets.. but we haven’t seen iPad 2 yet. And clearly Apple has the upper hand when it comes to apps.

    • blastdoor
    • 9 years ago

    Trying to have their own unique OS platform for tablets (and phones?) is not a bad strategy. I’m just skeptical that they will be able to pull it off.

      • dpaus
      • 9 years ago

      If it was only going to be for tablets, I’d agree. But if they go ahead and put it on all their portable devices (laptops, netbooks, tablets, smartphones, ot to mention printers, etc), as seems to be the plan, I’d say they’ll be a strong contender (see my comment yesterday about “60 million WebOS devices/year”)

        • blastdoor
        • 9 years ago

        I agree that’s an even better strategy… but I’m still skeptical that they can pull it off. I guess I just don’t believe they’re truly as committed to it as they would need to be in order for it to work. Nothing against HP — I think it’s just the way most corporations work. It’s hard to make big long term investments in strategies that represent bold departures from the status quo because you’ve always got vultures circling, waiting for any signs of failure/weakness, to swoop in and kill your idea. I’m sure there must be people in HP who argued against this strategy and prefer either a Windows-centirc or Android-centric strategy. At the first sign that the webOS approach isn’t working, those people will start saying “I told you so”, and the board will get nervous, and they’ll start to hedge their support for WebOS. Heck, their support already is hedged to a great degree — it’s not like HP will *only* sell WebOS netbooks. How seriously would people take the Mac and iOS if Apple also sold Windows PCs?

        I guess my point is that supporting an entire platform is a very different thing than being an OEM, and I’m not convinced HP is up to it. Yet that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good strategy… it’s just a good strategy that I don’t think they can execute.

        • puppetworx
        • 9 years ago

        That’s a good point.

        Still the question remains who will develop for this platform? The same goes for the Playbook. I imagine consumers will go where the best apps are. Android and iOS have incredibly mature app-stores so it’s hard to see how competitors can get a foot in. I’d be impressed if they can do it, it seems very late however.

      • Farting Bob
      • 9 years ago

      Its pretty risky now, we have well devloped OS’s for all these portable devices (on the laptop/netbook side we have normal windows and linux, the phone/slates have android and iOS), another OS with another program shop (remember before the app store when programs used to be free and downloadable from any site?). Itll get squeezed out by android IMO, its likely to offer many useful things that its competitors dont.

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