Goodbye, Slate, hello, Hurricane! HP is expected to release a webOS-running tablet called the Hurricane, as soon as the third quarter of this year. While a challenge to the iPad, the Hurricane could be more of a threat to Microsoft.
Hewlett-Packard could be releasing a tablet running the Palm's webOS operating system as soon as the third quarter of 2010, according to a report from The Examiner, which attributes the information to "an insider at HP."
The tablet, according to the report, would be called the HP "Hurricane."
The news follows recent rumors that HP has canceled its planned HP Slate, a tablet that would run the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system. Whether or not the Hurricane would be a Slate with its innards replaced is unclear - though what is known is that HP had every intention of putting webOS to work for it.
HP acquired the highly-praised webOS platform in its recent purchase of smartphone-maker Palm, and stated outright an expectation to deploy it on various devices.
"The combination of HP's global scale and financial strength with Palm's unparalleled webOS platform will enhance HP's ability to participate more aggressively in the fast-growing, highly profitable smartphone and connected mobile device markets," HP said in an April 28 statement on the acquisition.
That HP should release a tablet was expected too, with analysts such as Chris Schreck, with IMS Research, writing in a May 3 report, "[WebOS] uses standard development languages already common among PC developers. If HP can create a compelling tablet offering that people are willing to buy, the barriers to entry might be fairly minimal."
Still, a third-quarter tablet launch is a faster turn-around time than many expected.
"Third quarter is pretty fast," analyst Roger Kay, with Endpoint Technologies, told eWEEK. "That schedule seems to imply that the project was already underway when the deal was announced. HP was very circumspect two weeks ago at an analyst day held in Cupertino.
While, thanks to the Palm technology, an HP webOS tablet could best Apple's iPad in the multitasking department, it is HP's longtime partner Microsoft that's expected to most intensely feel the effects of such a device.
"Microsoft itself is finding the tablet PC market more complicated than expected," Technology Business Research Analyst John Spooner wrote in an April 30 research note. "In the end, we believe a webOS tablet will be better received than a Windows tablet, which may lead to adoption of webOS tablet PCs in the enterprise."
No details about pricing, or potential carrier partners, for the Hurricane have emerged.