HP finally made an announcement of WebOS-based products derived from the Palm DNA, but the announcement was hardly earth-shaking. A small Pre-like cellphone/smartphone and a 9-inch tablet were announced, but no pricing or release dates or carrier deals were firm. Thus, the whole thing looks like a place-holder, initiated about six months after the time for place-holding was past.
HP needs to make something of WebOS and the Palm deal, and it needs (more than Microsoft) to be successful in the appliance business. HP didn’t offer anything that would be truly compelling.
The nine-inch tablet is HP’s biggest gamble and hope. It takes on the iPad more directly than most other tablets, which focus on the 7-inch form factor, but corporations tell me they like the smaller tablet, and HP has a much tighter relationship with the enterprise than with the hip consumer.
The website positioning is clearly targeting the consumer too, so HP is doubling down and chasing Apple in its core market with a comparable product. There are some interesting features: wireless keyboard and wireless integration with the HP phones, but whether they’ll sustain the product in a market that will be really hot by the time HP even gets a product in the field is another matter.