HP PalmPad Tablet May Be iPad Competitor

Hewlett-Packard has filed to trademark the name PalmPad, likely for its planned tablet PC running Palm's WebOS. More than Windows 7 or Android, WebOS is said to be HP's best chance against the Apple iPad.

Hewlett-Packard has sought to trademark the name PalmPad, according to a July 20 report by PCWorld.

Listed as the Hewlett-Packard Development Company, HP filed the trademark request July 14, likely in preparation for a tablet device running Palm's WebOS mobile platform-a device previously rumored to be named the HP Hurricane.

HP acquired WebOS in its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm, completed July 1. From the start, HP has made clear its interest in WebOS and its intention of expanding the operating system beyond the Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus. In a statement on the acquisition's completion, the company said it will now be able to "participate more aggressively in the highly profitable, $100 billion smartphone and connected mobile devices market." Former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein, who now reports to HP Executive Vice President Todd Bradley, added that, with HP behind it, WebOS will be able to "reach its full potential."

Analysts have suggested that the open-source WebOS could give HP a boost in competing against Apple's iPad in the tablet space. In addition to WebOS, however, reportedly HP still plans to launch the Slate, a tablet running Windows 7. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer offered attendees of January's Consumer Electronics Show a glimpse of the Slate, but since then the device and its specs have largely been the stuff of rumors.

HP is also expected to be at work on a tablet running Android, Google's mobile operating system. However, on July 15, The Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital, citing sources in the know, reported that HP was putting those Android plans on hold, likely to better focus its energies on its WebOS tablet.

"Our forecast of 11 million media tablet shipments in 2010 is based both on the broader availability of the iPad and on the delayed introduction of competing products," ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr said in a statement. "Assuming that competing tablets from other vendors do arrive in the second half of the year as expected, we believe that the iPad will account for a significant portion-but not all-of the projected 11 million units. To capitalize on the usual fourth-quarter sales boom, other tablets need to reach retailers' shelves by early September."

The HP Hurricane was rumored to arrive during the third quarter of 2010-whether an HP PalmPad could arrive during the same time period is anyone's guess, as HP is for now keeping details to itself.

An HP spokesperson told eWEEK, "At this time we're not sharing information on future products, operating systems or road maps beyond what we've already released. We'll be providing more info on this at a later time."