More WebOS rumors: What we know so far

A list of rumors about the upcoming WebOS tablet(s).

The leaked details on HP and Palm's WebOS tablet keep on coming, though HP has said we haven't seen everything yet.

Engadget has received a couple more tips since its initial report, which included product renderings and a possible September launch window for the WebOS tablet. Now, Engadget says that the first tablet could launch in March, and has received a consumer survey that hints at more features.

You know what this means. It's time to take inventory of everything we know (or think we know) about the WebOS tablet in handy list form! And then, when HP holds its WebOS event on February 9, we can revisit this list and see how many rumors were right, how many were on the right track, and how many were completely off the mark.

Here goes:

·       We know for sure that HP is releasing a tablet, and the company has confirmed that it will have more details on February 9.

·       HP may be planning two tablets. One, called "Topaz," may have a 10-inch screen, nearly identical in form to Apple's iPad. The other, called "Opal," may be a 7-inch model that's a bit shorter and wider than Samsung's Galaxy Tab (which is 7.1-by-5.7-by-0.5 inches).

·       Conflicting rumors: One of these tablets, probably the larger Topaz, could ship in March. Or, the smaller tablet could ship in September, with the larger model coming a few months earlier.

·       Specs are mostly missing at this point, but we could be looking at a 1.2 GHz processor in both tablets and a hefty dose of online storage assigned to every customer--so much that it dwarfs the device's native storage. Speculation: Could HP be cutting costs by skimping on the size of local flash drives?

·       A consumer survey hints that WebOS tablets will include Touchstone wireless charging docks with the ability to display times, photos, and GPS information, as introduced in WebOS 2.0. This is on my wish list, especially if third-party apps can access the feature.

·       Another potentially cool feature mentioned in the survey is the ability to transfer websites, documents, and songs between the tablet and a phone by bumping them together. I imagine this will only work between WebOS devices, but Engadget's report doesn't spell this out.

·       One last feature: "professional-grade sound" powered by HP's "Beats Audio" technology. In HP's laptops, this equates to better sound when using headphones, not speakers. But I'd kill for a tablet whose speakers could pick up the low end. Apple's iPad most certainly cannot.

After Tuesday's leak, HP released a note that read, "Think you saw the latest on Engadget? Think again." HP is supposed to show off some smartphones at the February 9 event, but hopefully there are more surprises on the tablet front as well.

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Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
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