"You'll see us with a Microsoft product out in the near future and a webOS-based product in early 2011," said Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP's personal systems group, at the company's third-quarter earnings call. This was in response to a question about whether or not tablets -- ie, the iPad -- were hurting its netbook sales. HP later confirmed that these products would be tablets.
HP has remained fairly quiet about the details of this tablet, beyond divulging that it would run Palm's webOS operating system. Interestingly, it has filed for trademark of the name 'Palmpad', which although oxymoronic for something several inches wide, proves HP is not abandoning the Palm brand it recently purchased.
Palm webOS first picqued our interest with the release of the Palm Pre smart phone. Despite pretty good reviews, the relatively bare shelves of its app store and dubious build quality of the handset put people off. Amid fairly poor sales and mounting debt, Palm agreed to be bought by technology giant HP in April this year.
Apple has had overwhelming success with its iPad, which runs a souped-up version of iOS -- a system originally developed for the iPhone. Though Microsoft has made developing a Windows 7 tablet "job one urgency", perhaps tablets with bespoke operating systems are the way to go -- that appears to be HP's thinking, at least.