HP Exec Promises a Wide Range of webOS Devices

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Rahul Sood, the head of HP’s gaming business, has become the company’s chief evangelist for the webOS. He says HP “is committed to delivering webOS on a wide range of devices” over the next twelve months.

The most recent webOS-based smartphones debuted early this year, and were just updated versions of models that came out last year. Ever since HP acquired Palm and the webOS this summer, many have been asking when new hardware will be released.

Palm webOSSood tried to answer these questions in a recent blog post, which said:

“You will certainly see products released over the next 12 months, some sooner than others, and some which are very exciting to me. The stuff that excites me the most are the new form factors. Now, when I said “over the next 12 months,” I really mean over the next 12 months. Not at the end of 12 months, not tomorrow…but over the next 12 months we will see the makings of a new portfolio and the beginning of something great again.”

This HP executive also reiterated what other at this company have said: HP/Palm is working on both smartphones and “other web-connected devices”, a phrase which is generally interpreted to be mean tablet computers running the webOS. HP vice president Todd Bradley has referred to tablet computers running this operating system several times, and even said one will be on the market in the first quarter of 2011.

Not surprisingly, Sood is upbeat about the upcoming hardware: “I’m confident that even the defectors of the webOS community will be back once they see the breadth of product coming out of HP in the future.”

What the Rumors Say
The webOS evangelist was deliberately somewhat vague about this timetable, so those looking for more concrete numbers will have to turn to unconfirmed reports. Information leaking out of Verizon Wireless indicates that the next webOS smartphone will debut in October.

AN intense round of speculation was set off when HP trademarked the term “PalmPad”, with most people guessing that this is going to be the name of a webOS-powered tablet to rival Apple’s iPad.

Is HP Too Late?
With the growth of the Apple iPhone and iPad as well as Android OS-based devices, some have said that it’s too late for HP to be getting into the mobile device business. Sood’s response to this was, “There is no predefined window of opportunity in the technology business; lack of innovation is the only thing that closes the window.”

He also touched on the difficulties of merging Palm into HP:

“There are challenges when you bring together two companies with distinct cultures. Palm was once a much smaller company with less access to resources than HP. HP, on the other hand is large: that’s the understatement of the year. We know the good that “large” can bring, and we also know the challenges that come with it.”

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