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.