HP to Unleash WebOS Tablet in Early February - Company

HP Does Not Believe in Cannibalization of Traditional PC Market by Tablets

by Anton Shilov
01/16/2011 | 08:08 PM

Hewlett-Packard, one  of the world's largest makers of personal computers, plans to unveil its first PCs in slate form-factor with webOS operating system in early February, 2011, the company said in an interview. On the same date, the firm will also reveal other innovative initiatives and devices.


"We are totally focused on the tablet market, totally focused on enabling that with webOS, which we bought over the summer from Palm. We believe that the tablet is one piece of that eco-system, one piece of the [always] connected experience that we are going to create. So, we have announced February 9th, [when] we have a broad public show, a public set of announcements, broadly about the future of webOS and the breath of products that it will effect and enable, " said Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP's personal systems group, in an interview with CNBC.

Even though HP is "focused" on tablet market, it failed to showcase its slate PC based on webOS at the consumer electronics show in early January. Delaying the public showcase of the rather anticipated device may be considered as a bad sign by many market observers. Still, one should note that Palm's tablet will run webOS 2.0, a completely new operating system, which may be a reason for the delayed demonstration of the product.

"WebOS was the strategic reason we acquired Palm over the summer. The webOS is the first truly Web-based operating system that is differentiated from anything that is on the market today. It is very feature-rich with products like Synergy that allow you to access multiple accounts simultaneously: your Google account, your Facebook account, your Twitter account, your CNBC Universal account. [web OS] is the only true multi-tasking [mobile] operating system: we can have twenty different applications working simultaneously. We think about how that enables everything from smartphone to tablets to PCs to other large-screen devices," said Mr. Bradley.

When originally announcing the completion of the Palm take over HP said that it planned to release smartphones, slate PCs and netbooks featuring webOS. Later on the company downplayed the importance of smartphones and indicated interest in putting webOS onto a variety of connected devices, including printers. At present it is known that the first webOS-based tablet is code-named Hurricane. For a while HP's Palm division has been working on the webOS 2.0, which will probably sport new functionality, improved interface as well as will better suit nice types of devices that HP may be planning.

The vice president of HP stressed that the company does not believe in cannibalization of the personal computer market by systems in tablet form-factor. Instead, he implied that as consumers are adoption "always connected" usage model, they need new types of devices for the new era of computing. But those devices will not replace traditional desktop and notebook PCs that are used for creation of content and various productivity applications, but will rather complement them to make consumption of various content easier.

"We are not moving away from the PC. Our focus is really connected devices. They are portable, mobile. Let's just say that the world is now mobile. Our focus is how do we create that connected experience that allows to safely and seamlessly access the content that is important to you. The differentiation between tablets and PCs [is that] tablets are phenomenal for content consumption and PCs are great for content creation," said Mr. Bradley.