HP's upcoming WebOS tablet appears in leaked images

The pictures show a slim, sleek, pearly black tablet, a sleek evolution of Palm's original design of the Pre smartphone.

Leaked photos of HP and Palm's WebOS tablet have appeared online, courtesy of Engadget . The device - slim, sleek and running WebOS - is the companies' response to the iPad and is just a fraction what we will see at an HP event, HP says. But can an HP WebOS tablet win against the iPad, in a fight where its smaller counterpart, the Palm Pre, lost against the iPhone?

HP and Palm have very modest sales targets for their tablet, in comparison to 14.8 million iPad sales last year. The leaked images show that HP hopes to move up to one million of the pictured tablet worldwide. But HP's WebOS tablet could be a surprising success.

The pictures show a slim, pearly black tablet, code-named Topaz, with a 9-inch screen, in a sleek evolution of Palm's original design of the Pre smartphone. Topaz would have a front-facing camera and a microUSB port on the bottom, with three speakers (for stereo in both portrait and landscape modes) and a 1.2GHz processor, according to the report. There would also be a smaller, 7-inch version, code-named Opal, and both tablets would come in WiFi and WiFi+3G (AT&T and Verizon) versions sometime in September.

The tablets are expected to be unveiled by HP on February 9. But if Engadget's sources are accurate, the HP tablet would only arrive some eight months after it was announced, a very long time in technology.

Before it was bought by HP, Palm did a similar arrangement with the Pre, which it announced early in the year, but by the summer, when the Pre shipped, Apple already got everyone into a new iPhone model. The same could happen with the HP-Palm tablet as well, as Apple is expected to announce an improved iPad 2 by April, and ship the products almost immediately, like it did with the original iPad.

There is still a little bit of time though for HP and Palm to tweak these details until the expected announcement of the tablets.

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Daniel Ionescu

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