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HP webOS Tablets Revealed

David Gilbert by

HP webOS Tablets Revealed

Last August we brought you news that HP were planning a webOS-based tablet for release in early 2011 and it seems now as if HP is planning on keeping its promise.

Yesterday Engadget were sent images of one of two new webOS tablets, called the Topaz. The 9in Topaz will be joined by the 7in Opal and will no doubt be officially unveiled at the HP event on 9 February. The leaded render shows a device devoid of any buttons on the front and with a glossy black back. Other than that we can extrapolate very little from these images though we have to say the design does look impressive.

Engadget originally reported that these devices wouldn’t be making an appearance on our shelves until September which would mean HP would be facing a stiff battle to impose themselves on what will, by then, be a very crowded marketplace. However reports today in DigiTimes suggest that we could be seeing units ship a lot sooner than that. It reports that HP has ordered Taiwan-based manufacturer Inventec begin production with shipping due for March this year for one of these units. While these sources are far from reliable, it would seem to make more sense for HP to bring out at least one tablet early in 2011 if it is to gain a foothold in the market.

HP has hit back at the revelations by sending out a revised invitation to its event on 9 Febraury saying: “Think you saw the latest on Engadget? Think again.” This would lead us to think that along with the Topaz and Opal devices, HP has something a little extra up its sleeve. This too would fit in with the tagline to its original invite which went: “Think big, think small, think beyond.” Intriguing.

While Apple still dominates the tablet market with the iPad (mostly due to a lack of anything resembling a viable alternative), 2011 will see the release of the PlayBook, Motorola Xoom and of course the iPad 2 – all of which HP will have to compete with if the webOS tablets are to be a success.

Source: Engadget and DigiTimes

Go to comments


January 19, 2011, 4:10 pm

Now this is looking far more interesting than all the half-baked me-too Android tablets of late.

Remains to be seen whether HP have taken in the bigger picture - e.g. the entire ecosystem of devs, apps, entertainment and of course a compelling App Store needed to give Apple a run for their money.

This is the real cost of entry into this market - not just making a shiny tablet with a neat & polished OS. Will definitely want to play with one of these for a while and look forward to some in-depth first impressions and review goodness on this-here site ;-)


January 19, 2011, 5:49 pm

Its definatly going to be all about the apps now it seems, as nice as WebOS on a large screen would be my personal feeling is that unless HP really encourage developers to work on the platform this may struggle against the iPad

Heres hoping strong developer support is what they are referring to in their "engadget" revision


January 19, 2011, 6:07 pm

"I've got a Topaz" "what's that?" "Kind of like an iPad".

Says it all really. If HP don't throw a huge marketing budget at this, it will fail. Which is a shame as my opinion is that WebOS can beat the Apple operating system in usability but the problem is market presence. Tablets have been around for ages but Apple made them fashionable by limiting them so you don't actually ever get to try and do the things that tablets do badly.

My girlfriend was looking at a new phone and couldn't decide between an iPhone 4 or a blackberry. She hadn't heard of Android and vaguely knew of HTC. If you don't inform the wider public (beyond the geek brigade) that your product exists then it'll fade into obscurity.

HP need to get telly adverts with skantily clad women made and ready to go out before stock is available.

Oh and if they could please have a phone mass produced and ready to go on sale the day of the announcement, that'd be spiffing as mine is heading towards being put down for it's own good.


January 19, 2011, 10:29 pm

Sad thing is that Palm could have / should have done more in the past.

The LifeDrive thing was a failure because Palm had no concept that users want to consume stuff. They just kept on churning out hardware without addressing the wider ecosystem that really ties users in.

Apple have got it. Fueling people's desire to consume content on a device that makes the experience a pleasure - and where content is mostly very cheap and easy to get at - that's what makes their devices so 'sticky' and their success so cumulative.

The rest of the market is still struggling with this fairly simple concept.

Whilst I am happy that Apple got this right - I wish other companies would too, as Apple haven't got their iPad formula right for me yet and real alternatives are yet to materialise.

@Philehidiot - scantily clad women always help - with everything ;-)


January 20, 2011, 1:40 am

WebOS should be called DOA (Dead On Arrival). Unfortunately, the release of these tablets will be another wasted venture / missed opportunity by HP. They make great printers, though.

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