HP webOS iPad killer: PalmPad tablet release date January?

HP Slate 500 (HP)
By Richi Jennings. December 22, 2010.

Rumor has it that HP is set to announce its webOS tablet at CES next month. But the iPad competitor -- known as PalmPad -- is described in a release date rumor given to an unusual media mouthpiece. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers wish Fox News would stick to the GOP political talking points.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention an inspirational holiday story: The Kindness of Strangers...


Clayton Morris breathlessly claims an exclusive:

HP will introduce three models of the PalmPad at CES. ... [They] will run a new iteration of the WebOS operating system ... collectively a spin-off of the never-released HP Slate. ...  It has hardware specs nearly identical to Apple’s iPad ... [but with] a mini HDMI port ... for video output. And ... front- and rear-facing cameras.


The PalmPad is slightly thinner than the iPad. ... At 1.25 lbs, the PalmPad also sports a USB 3.0 port. ... We know CES will be chock full of tablets, but I’m particularly interested in this one. ... WebOS, with its card style layout, lends itself to a tablet experience better than any other mobile operating system.

Ryan Faas predicts "HP may shake things up":

Despite making the marketing mistake of saying that HP's acquisition of Palm was for intellectual property, the company has invested in webOS – both in the development of webOS 2.x and the Palm Pre 2 as well as in printers supported easy remote access. ... webOS is actually a pretty good mobile OS that should scale more easily from smartphone to tablet than Android.


HP webOS tablets [are] a potential dark horse in the race that could offer surprising features, particularly since the company is allegedly making tablets with an iPad-like form factor (while most new tablets are opting for a smaller footprint around the 7-inch mark of the Galaxy Tab).

But Lee Mathews points out that it "looks exactly like the Slate":

I’m taking this “exclusive” with a grain of salt. After all, the post even refers to HP’s “never-released Slate” — which was actually released a couple of months ago.


It also seems a bit odd that they’re planning to unveil the devices at CES 2011. Both HP and Palm have stated that their presence at the event will be diminished this year, and that’s not really what you’d expect if they really intended to launch something as highly-anticipated as a series of webOS tablets.

  Erica Ogg, too, finds it odd:

We realized that the PalmPad diagram ... is the same as HP's Slate 500 diagram ... except for all the labels missing in the PalmPad diagram save for the dock, whose label has been changed from "Optional HP Slate 500 dock" to "Optional palmPad dock."


[Either] Fox's source misrepresented the diagram and details--it's very odd that they would say the HP Slate was never released when the HP Slate 500 was introduced exactly two months ago. Or they mean a different HP Slate. Or perhaps HP recycles general diagrams for internal purposes.

James Kendrick talks CPUs:

Does this mean HP is releasing the PalmPad using the same hardware as the HP Slate? That’s not likely, as a webOS device would be better served without Intel inside.

Joanna Stern agrees:

To wait this long to simply slap webOS into the HP Slate's shell seems almost foolish. What's more, repurposing the Slate means HP either ported webOS to Intel and threw battery life out the window, or completely swapped out the Slate's Intel-based internals for an ARM chipset without changing the exterior design at all.


Both options seem like completely inefficient and muddled ways to get a tablet onto the market.

Meanwhile, Ben Parr says it would be bad PR:

CES is less than a month away. Typically schedules for press conferences and briefings are done well in advance. ... [HP] would almost certainly hold a press conference. The technology media would flock to it like insects to a bug zapper.


Unless Palm is going to make a super surprise unveiling or is just forgoing the press conference altogether, CES seems unlikely.


And Finally...

Inspirational holiday story: The Kindness of Strangers

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com.

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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