HP WebOS 'Opal,' 'Topaz' Tablet Details Emerge: Report

Details have emerged about the WebOS tablets HP is rumored to be introducing Feb. 9. Professional-quality sound and inductive charging are among them.

Curious about the WebOS-running devices that Hewlett-Packard is expected to introduce at its Feb. 9 event? According to sources trusted by Engadget, a few smartphones can be expected, along with two tablets - the "Topaz" and the more petite "Opal." In a Jan. 19 report, the tech site offered new, and completely unconfirmed, details about the features the tablets might include.

One tipster sent Engadget a survey performed by GfK Custom Research that's filled with HP-branded terms. "In other words," explains the site, "the features described already exist in the tablet(s) and the survey is attempting to gauge interest, presumably in an attempt to fine tune the promotional materials and marketing approach."

What to expect, then? Like the Palm Pre's Touchstone charger, the tablets are said to be able to charge through induction. The survey reportedly asks respondents how interested they are in a "wireless charging dock" that lets the tablet act as an alarm clock, digital photo frame and GPS unit.

"Tap-to-Share," a feature that lets users share a link, document or song between a phone and tablet by tapping the two together, is also expected. So is a "huge amount" of cloud storage-10GB, per the tipster-across all of the HP WebOS devices. This would enable a user to seamlessly access the same content from a variety of WebOS devices.

Engadget writes, "The ultimate goal, we're told, is to make the -laptop the new desktop' and for consumers to leave them sitting at home while they take tablets on the go."

The tablets are also expected to feature HP's Beats audio collaboration, for a professional-quality audio experience. And with all of that cloud storage, an entire music collection could be accessible via a WiFi or 3G connection.

"True multitasking," as HP executive vice president Todd Bradley said in a Jan. 7 interview on CNBC, making it possible to run up to 20 applications at once, is also likely. And so is Flash support-though, with it included in WebOS 2.0, that comes as little surprise. More of a surprise is "Phone-to-Tablet communication," which lets a user answer an incoming call on either the phone or a tablet.

Other "leaked" details include the tablets' measurements. The larger Topaz, which will reportedly ship three months before the Opal, is said to measure 241 x 190 x 13 mm-a hair off the iPad's 242.8 x 189.7 x 13.4 mm. While the Opal, by contrast, will reportedly measure 180 x 144 x 13 mm.

As for the smartphones, Engadget's source dismisses them as "nothing too amazing"-an assessment that Jon Rubinstein, former Palm CEO and the man behind WebOS, will certainly take issue with. At an industry event in December, Rubinstein hinted that an HP WebOS tablet was coming, and that despite limited enthusiasm for the Palm Pre 2 smartphone-the first handset to launch under HP's ownership of Palm-no one should think it was "game over" for HP's Palm brand. "This is just the beginning," Rubinstein insisted.