Hewlett-Packard will ship a tablet-style computer based on the company's WebOS operating system in the first part of next year. The computer maker also plans to release a tablet that runs Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system, according to a company executive.
"You'll see us with a Microsoft product in the near future, and a WebOS-based product in early 2011, said Todd Bradley, the head of HP's Personal Systems Group, in a conference call Thursday in which HP disclosed fiscal third quarter earnings.
HP acquired WebOS through its $1.2 billion acquisition of mobile device manufacturer Palm earlier this year.
The move raised questions about HP's commitment to longtime partner Microsoft. Now, it appears HP will target the consumer market with WebOS-based mobile products, while continuing to offer Windows-powered devices to enterprises.
In releasing a tablet, HP is hoping to replicate Apple's success with the iPad in the nascent market for devices that bridge the gap between PCs and smartphones. Apple sold more than three million iPads in the first 80 days the product was on the market. Dell also recently entered the arena with the debut of the Google Android-based Streak.
For its third quarter, HP reported profits of $1.8 billion, or 75 cents per share, compared to profits of $1.7 billion in the same period a year ago. Revenue increased 11% year-over-year, to $30.7 billion.
"The broad-based strength of HP's third-quarter performance further demonstrates the power of our strategy and the discipline of our execution," said Cathie Lesjak, HP's acting CEO, in a statement. Lesjak is guiding the company while its board seeks a full time replacement for former CEO Mark Hurd.
Hurd resigned earlier this month after disclosing an inappropriate relationship with a marketing contractor that worked for the company.