HP confirmed yesterday that it will release two tablet computers in coming months, one of which will run WebOS, the operating system currently found on the Palm line of smartphones. The other HP tablet device, aimed at enterprise users - and presumably bearing a much heftier price tag – would run Microsoft Windows 7. HP says the WebOS tablet will hit shelves next year, although the company did not specify an exact date for the Windows 7 tablet.
"You'll see us with a Microsoft product in the near future, and a WebOS-based product in early 2011," HP exec Todd Bradley said in a conference call yesterday, according to Information Week. This dual-platform strategy – two computers, one running Windows and one running WebOS – could make HP a force in the tablet market, which is widely expected to explode by the end of this year.
Already, HP competitor Dell has released the Streak, a tweener device that falls somewhere between smartphone and tablet. (Reviews have been tepid, to say the least.) Meanwhile, hardware manufacturer HTC is rumored to be under contract to make a line of tablet computers for Google. The Google tablet would reportedly run Chrome OS and hit stores on Black Friday.
The tablet game is currently dominated by the iPad, the wildly popular Apple computer. Apple has said that it sold 1 million iPad units within 28 days of launch – less than half the time it took to sell 1 million of the original iPhone handsets. In recent weeks, several blogs have begun reporting that Apple could release a pair of new iPads by the beginning of the 2011, including a 7-inch machine.
Apple has not commented on a new iPad line. But if the rumors are accurate, it would put pressure on other manufacturers to get their iPad-killers onto the market – post-haste.