HP believes the nascent tablet market can support multiple devices, and for now plans to release tablets running Windows 7 and Palm's WebOS, VP Todd Bradley has confirmed.
Turns out the rumor mill did rather good work of parsing together
Hewlett-Packard's tablet plans. Still, Todd Bradley, executive vice
president of HP's personal system group, and Jon Rubinstein, the former
CEO of Palm, now reporting to Bradley, offered confirmation of the
company's intentions at the 2010 Fortune
Brainstorm Tech conference July 22.
"I think you'll see us with a family of slate products, clearly a
Microsoft product in the enterprise, and a WebOS product broadly
deployed," Bradley said on stage at the conference, seated beside
Explaining that the market will be big enough to sustain multiple
products, Bradley added, "Slates are going to be an enormous category.
This is just in its infancy."
In a July 20 report, ABI Research nearly tripled its tablet shipment
forecast for 2010 to 11 million units. The research firm expects
fourth-quarter sales to boom, following a number of competing devices
making their way to retail shelves in September. It likewise views the
segment as still young and likely not to break into the "mass market"
Bradley notably left out mention of a tablet running Google's Android OS, which HP was reported to have temporarily shelved
as it focuses on getting its first WebOS product to market. The
PC-maker acquired the well-regarded OS during its $1.2 billion purchase
of Palm, earlier this year.
Since the purchase, HP has been open about its plans to release
WebOS on a variety of devices, beyond simply the smartphones it
currently runs on, and Rubinstein has commented that with HP's backing,
WebOS - which he's generally credited for creating - will be able to
reach its full potential.
The open-source OS is said to be particularly easy to develop for,
and a growing app store and easy-to-update operating system are likely
to benefit HP.
"I think it's important to have control over the entire user
experience and really deliver great consumer products," Rubinstein
said, according to reporting from Fortune. "If you really want to
deliver a great experience, in this case, the HP experience, you want
your own OS."
HP introduced the Slate, a tablet reported to run Microsoft's Windows 7 Home Premium
at the start of the year, but few details are known about the pending
WebOS device. A likely guess regarding its name, however, is the
PalmPad - as HP filed a July 14 request, trademarking the term
, which clearly plays to the Apple iPad.
(Nevermind that many noses were scrunched, when the name of Apple's
tablet was first revealed - a precedent has clearly been set. Lenovo
also has plans for a tablet - the Lenovo LePad.)
One detail Rubinstein did reveal about the WebOS-running HP tablet,
however - again, with a nod to the iPad - is that the tablet will
definitely include Flash.