Like most companies on the PC and consumer electronics markets, Hewlett-Packard has been eager to get into the tablet game for quite some time and, though it met a few hurdles in its Windows 7 slate PC development, it seems to be making progress in not just this area, but also that of webOS-running slates, the first of which will supposedly debut in early 2011.
Though a number of special purpose tablet PCs have been in existence for years, media slates have only this year become popular, after Apple unveiled the iPad, to be exact.
Sure enough, the iPad became a sort of object of comparison for all other slate projects, and while outfits seem to be trying to get rid of the tendency to make such comparisons, it is quite difficult because of the similar target consumer base and overall functionality.
HP will try to offer a wider variety of tablets, which is why it is working on not just slates running a version of Windows or another, but also one powered by the webOS platform that it acquired when it bought Palm.
According to a report made by Engadget, HP Executive Vice President Todd Bradley informed employees that the company aims to release the first webOS-enabled tablet in the first three months of next year.
The slate in question is, currently, codenamed Hurricane and will likely become the flagship non-Windows tablet.
In the meantime, the PC supplier will use the Slate 500 and the eStation Zeen, loaded with Windows 7 and Android 2.1, respectively, to gauge market demand and experiment without any risk of incurring losses, should user interest prove unsatisfactory.
The HP Slate 500 will target business users, whereas the eStation Zeen will cater to the needs of consumers, and the two should start selling later this year, at prices that have, unfortunately, not been disclosed as of yet.