Hewlett-Packard will launch its WebOS-based tablet during the first quarter of 2011, according to a report in Engadget, citing “several trusted sources.”
Since HP purchased smartphone-maker Palm July 1, 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.
“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 July 14, 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 debut 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. On Aug. 8, 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.