Rumor: HP webOS Tablet Later This Year

Over the last week reports have been popping up around the web that HP could have a webOS tablet ready to go sometime in the back half of 2010.

Reported by webOSRoundup.com, HP could be ready to bring out a tablet computer running webOS as early as Q3, 2010 or as late as the 2010 holiday shopping season. Adding fuel to this rumor is another rumor that HP has killed a project to release a tablet computer later this year running Microsoft’s Windows 7.

My personal opinion is that a commercial release of an HP tablet running webOS before November is an incredibly aggressive timeline. Even if HP’s hardware is ready to go, there is still the issue of actually acquiring Palm and the license(s) for webOS. Then there is the time required to recode the webOS Linux kernel to run on the new tablet, beta testing, manufacturing, software imaging, shipping, etc. Needless to say, there is a lot of work to be done. If HP wants it done, they can pull it off, but at what cost? The last thing that HP would want is to race to market with a new webOS tablet and to have it be a train wreck. That already happened with Palm’s Foleo. I would much rather see a product that can deliver on the promise of the Foleo that is done well and not rushed out against some imaginary schedule.

[Via webOSRoundup.com…]

HP Posts Slides, Transcript from Yesterday’s Investor Conference Call

HP has posted the slides and a transcript from yesterday afternoon’s bombshell announcement that the PC and printer maker intends to acquire Palm the troubled handset maker for $1.2 billion dollars later this year.

HP has stated that they plan to continue to develop and grow the webOS platform after Palm is integrated into the Personal Systems Group, lead by formed Palm CEO, Todd Bradley.

You can view the slides and read the transcript on Slideshare.net.

HP to Acquire Palm for $1.2B

Earlier today, Hewlett-Packard announced their intention to acquire troubled smartphone maker, Palm for $1.2 billion dollars, or $5.70 per common Palm share.

Palm announced the deal on their corporate blog by posting:

“In case you didn’t hear, we just announced a merger with a little shop down the street called HP. That little shop happens to be the world’s largest technology company, and certainly one of the most revered companies in all of tech-land. Can you say “webOS acceleration”? We’re pretty excited, and pleased we surprised the world again.”

In a separate posting, HP wrote:

“Palm’s innovative operating system provides an ideal platform to expand HP’s mobility strategy and create a unique HP experience spanning multiple mobile connected devices,” said Todd Bradley, executive vice president, Personal Systems Group, HP. “And, Palm possesses significant IP assets and has a highly skilled team. The smartphone market is large, profitable and rapidly growing, and companies that can provide an integrated device and experience command a higher share. Advances in mobility are offering significant opportunities, and HP intends to be a leader in this market.”

“We’re thrilled by HP’s vote of confidence in Palm’s technological leadership, which delivered Palm webOS and iconic products such as the Palm Pre. HP’s longstanding culture of innovation, scale and global operating resources make it the perfect partner to rapidly accelerate the growth of webOS,” said Jon Rubinstein, chairman and chief executive officer, Palm. ”We look forward to working with HP to continue to deliver industry-leading mobile experiences to our customers and business partners.”

You can read HP’s full press release on the HP news release website.

More Thoughts on the Mobile Companion

I just posted the latest 1SRC Editorial in which I continue the discussion of my quest for a replacement for the Palm Foleo. While we wait for the Foleo II to be developed, I’ve been thinking about the growing number of alternative devices that are on the market or near to release.

Here is the punch line for those who like to skip to the back of the book first.

“I think it is clear that if Palm had shipped the Foleo back in September I would have happily plugging away with it. I hope that Palm will go back and redesign the Foleo once Palm OS II/Nova ships early in 2009. That said, I still believe in the idea that the Foleo represents even if I can’t buy one.

Other vendors have capitalized on the splash that Palm made in May during the All Things D announcement. I’ve read and hear good things about the Asus Eee PC. The Everex CloudBook looks like it will be a full-featured machine. The Apple MacBook Air is full featured and has the sex appeal to sell the device on looks alone, but it is far too pricey for the average user to consider getting one as a second machine. Mac gear heads and professionals will no doubt be buying them. And that leaves the rumored HP Compaq 2133. If the photos that Engadget posted are in fact authentic, the 2133 will be a good-looking machine. We are a little light on the product specs at this point, but if the hardware is going to run Vista, it has to be more powerful than the other Linux/Windows options. (You aren’t running the Arrow interface on hardware done on the cheap.) Would the Compaq 2133 be a value at the Foleo’s retail price of $600? I’d like to see a new Foleo and the Compaq 2133 both shipping in the $400 price range. Now let’s see if Palm and HP can deliver.”

So there it is. If I end up getting one of these Foleo alternatives (No, I’m not letting go of the Foleo, damn it!), it will likely be the HP Compaq 2133. Depending on the final pricing, I might be able to get a few for the office and legitimize my use of something other than my company issued Dell Latitude D630.