Rumor: HP cooking up a Tegra 4-powered tablet

You know the saying: if at first you don't succeed... euthanize all your webOS devices, waffle on the software's fate for a few months, spin it into an open-source project with little chance of success, and then switch to Android.

Okay, maybe that one's not in the idiom dictionary—but HP might still abide by it. ReadWrite reports that the PC maker will use Android to power a "series of upcoming mobile devices," including a tablet featuring Nvidia's Tegra 4 processor. The tablet has reportedly been in the works since Thanksgiving and could be one of the first out with the Tegra 4 inside.

This story looks fairly solid, by the way. ReadWrite says it was tipped off by two sources who "spoke on the condition that they not be named because they are not authorized to discuss unreleased products." That sounds like the information comes from within HP itself.

In any case, the prospect of a Tegra 4-powered tablet is an enticing one. Announced at CES last month, the Tegra 4 features four main ARM Cortex-A15 cores, one extra power-saving core (just like the Tegra 3), and 72 graphics ALUs—six times as many as the Tegra 3. Nvidia's CES demo showed a Tegra 4 tablet trouncing Google's Nexus 10 tablet, whose Samsung Exynos 5250 chip has dual Cortex-A15 cores, in a web browsing test (although the performance difference there was contributed by Nvidia's customized version of the Webkit browser engine, not by hardware differences alone.)

If ReadWrite's sources are right, this news might also mean HP isn't willing to bet on Windows RT for consumer tablets. The firm does offer an Atom-powered Windows 8 convertible, the $850 Envy x2, and it has announced a business-oriented ElitePad tablet. However, to my knowledge, there are no HP tablets out running Windows RT or straddling the key $500 price point.

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