HP WebOS Tablet Slips To Q1 2011 Launch

Michelle Maisto covers mobile devices, Android and Apple for eWEEK and is also a food writer.

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HP’s WebOS-based tablet competitor to the Apple iPad is expected to launch in the first quarter of next year according to reports

Hewlett-Packard is reportedly expected to launch its WebOS-based tablet during the first quarter of 2011, at least according to an Engadget article that cited “several trusted sources.”

Since HP purchased smartphone-maker Palm 1 July, and with it the highly lauded WebOS mobile platform, there’s been much talk of an iPad competitor running the open-source OS, in addition to HP tablets running Windows 7 and Google’s Android.

Few firm facts, however, have been revealed.

Smoke And Mirrors

“We’re told Personal Systems Group VP Todd Bradley mentioned the date during an all-hands employee meeting yesterday, and that the project is indeed known internally as ‘Hurricane,’” the tech site reported.

The Hurricane moniker leaked out in early May, when The Examiner reported that this would be the name of the HP tablet project in progress. On 14 July, however, HP registered to trademark the name “PalmPad” – which is more likely to be the official product name that consumers can expect.

At the time, The Examiner additionally reported that the WebOS tablet could début as quickly as the third quarter of 2010 – which, while it doesn’t appear to be the case, would have offered HP a welcome diversion from recent media coverage on its now-former CEO Mark Hurd.

Management Fallout

On 8 August, Hurd hastily resigned from his position, following sexual harassment allegations by a former HP consultant and findings by the HP board that he had violated company policy by falsifying expense reports.

Days after Hurd’s resignation, HP reportedly also lost the remaining member of the design team that created the Palm Pre, Peter Skillman.

Tech site Tech Crunch reported that Skillman had left, but not where he is headed next. (Other members of the team have since left for Twitter, Intel and Google.)

Little is know about HP’s WebOS tablet, though various sources agree that it’s likely to include a Webcam and support for Adobe Flash – two features that would give the “PalmPad” or “Hurricane” a boost over the Apple iPad, the current benchmark in tablet devices.