Hewlett-Packard will release a tablet PC based on Palm's webOS operating system in "early 2011," the head of HP's PC division said Thursday. HP's tablet plans have been under close watch since it announced plans to buy Palm in April for $1.2 billion. There was speculation at the time that HP would ditch its plans for a Windows 7 tablet and use Palm's webOS instead.
Since then the company has said it will sell tablets based on both operating systems, but it hadn't confirmed when the webOS device will go on sale. "You'll see us with a Microsoft product out in the near future, and a webOS-based product in early 2011," Todd Bradley, the head of HP's Personal Systems Group, said during HP's quarterly earnings call Thursday. He didn't provide any other details.
Last month, HP said the Windows tablet will be aimed squarely at enterprise users, while the webOS tablet will be a consumer-oriented device. The devices will have to compete against Apple's hot-selling iPad, Cisco's recently announced Cius tablet for businesses, and tablets planned by several other vendors.
Online documents uncovered by IDG News Service last month suggest HP's Windows 7 tablet will be called the HP Slate 500. The company has also sought a trademark for the name PalmPad.
Tablets are only one of the uses HP has planned for Palm's lightweight webOS. It will also use it for smartphones, netbooks and web-connected printers.