Details of HP’s webOS Tablet Strategy Emerge

We’ve been expecting HP to show off at least one webOS-based tablet at a February 9 event. Now it looks like Engadget has gotten some leaked renders and marketing materials that show off some of the company’s tablet strategy.

When HP acquired Palm last year, it was clear that the company saw plans for webOS beyond just the smartphone. The company affirmed its plans to enter the tablet space in July.

Now Engadget is publishing information from a “trusted tipster” that sheds some light on HP’s plans.

The tipster reveals that HP is planning not one, but two tablets: a 9-inch model codenamed Topaz and a 7-inch model called Opal.

The rendered images Engadget obtained show off the Topaz, and the unit looks like a cross between an iPad and a Palm Pre. From the renders, it looks like the device will not have any physical buttons (capacitive perhaps) and will include a front-facing camera.

The render also shows off what looks like webOS on the device itself. Perhaps more than any other mobile OS, we expect webOS to have the easiest transition to larger-sized devices, so this makes sense.

While specifics like price and specifications weren’t revealed, Engadget did get a hold of what looks like an internal slide with a tentative release date slated for this September. This slide was for the Opal, so perhaps HP will be releasing the Topaz tablet more quickly.

Our only concern for HP is that announcing a device more than six months in advance, especially given the competition from — well, everyone — could wind up putting the company at a disadvantage.

Although webOS is better designed to scale to multiple device sizes than many of its competitors are, the lack of brand recognition in the smartphone market — when compared to iOS, Android and even BlackBerry — may limit some of the initial customer base.

We still think the potential for a webOS tablet is immense and we look forward to seeing what HP unveils next month.

Image courtesy of Engadget

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