HP details tablet plans, confirms Windows 7 and WebOS versions

A third tablet, the "Zeen" will reportedly run Android

Hewlett Packard Co. definitely plans to be in the tablet business, but questions remain about whether it will create different hardware for each of three expected tablet operating systems -- Android , Windows 7 and WebOS.

HP on Thursday officially said in a statement that it's "very excited about the slate [tablet] category" and "plans to use the WebOS from its Palm acquisition as well as Windows 7 from Microsoft for this category."

There was no mention, however, of an HP slate running Android, as widely reported, although a spokesman indicated more information would be avilable "at the appropriate time."

WebOS will run in HP smartphones , slates, netbooks and printers, with Windows 7 running in a slate targeted for select enterprise markets, the company said.

HP did not discuss timing in its statement.

The fact that HP didn't mention Android is interesting, given the number of reports -- especially on Engadget -- saying Federal Communications Commission documents show that HP will produce an Android-based Zeen tablet that's geared toward e-reading.

Zeen is a play on the last syllable of the word "magazine." Reportedly, the device would connect directly to an HP printer, making it a portable way to quickly produce any magazine on printer paper from the Web.

Engadget has also reported that the Windows 7 tablet will appear in the fall, with the WebOS tablet expected in the first quarter of 2011 . Those dates are not official.

Assuming all three OSes are used by HP, it isn't clear how they will be branded, or even whether they will have three different hardware builds. "I'm skeptical HP will do all three OSes as different products," said Carl Howe, an analyst at Yankee Group. He said it is more likely HP will manufacture a common tablet hardware platform tailored for different operating systems and the apps used by each.

Of those three, however, Howe said the Android version would be the winner because of the ability to adapt apps already on the Android Market built for smartphones. He said Windows 7 is "hamstrung" with a non-tablet app legacy and that the WebOS developer community is small.

Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, said HP has been showing analysts a version of the Windows 7 tablet, but it has been criticized for sluggish performance.

Gold urged HP to put its efforts, instead, into a WebOS or Android tablet. There will be many Android-based tablets from other manufacturers released before the end of the year, he added.

If HP builds an Android tablet, Gold said it might be branded under the Compaq name that HP controls, and marketed for use by the consumer and education markets.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .

Read more about mobile oses in Computerworld's Mobile OSes Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileMicrosoftsoftwareapplicationstelecommunicationPalmMobile operating systemsMobile and WirelessMobile Apps and ServicesMobile OSes

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Skywatcher Dobsonian 8″ Collapsible Telescope

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Whodunnit™ Duo-Scope MFL-007 Microscope Kit

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?