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8/11/2011
10:39 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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HP Prepping 7-Inch 'TouchPad Go' Tablet

Documents uncovered on the FCC website reveal an unannounced, miniature version of HP's webOS-based TouchPad.

Some excitement made its way through the blogosphere on Wednesday when bloggers thought they had spied the 4G version of the HP TouchPad on the Federal Communications Commission website. They didn't. Later in the day, This Is My Next pointed out some key findings in the documents that tell a much bigger story.

The device approved by the FCC is an unannounced tablet from HP called the TouchPad Go. According to some analysis of the device drawings in the FCC documents, it is a device that has a seven-inch display. In other words, the HP TouchPad Go is looking like a seven-inch version of HP's webOS-based TouchPad, a mini tablet.

The documents reveal that there will be four variations of this smaller webOS tablet. There will be the standard 16-GB and 32-GB models, plus Wi-Fi only and HSPA+ versions (compatible with AT&T's 3G network).

Will a seven-inch device (i.e., a more portable one) spur interest in webOS tablets? It is hard to say without knowing more about this particular product. We don't know most of the specs, such as the processor type/speed, camera capabilities, screen resolution, and so on.

The most famous seven-inch tablet on the market right now is the RIM PlayBook, which hasn't exactly been a raging success (I know, this is an apples-to-oranges comparison). Many complimented the PlayBook for its small size, comfortable weight, and pocket-friendly design. The 10-inch HP TouchPad's hardware has earned its fair share of lumps, with many reviewers calling it too bulky and heavy. Could the smaller (and hopefully lighter) TouchPad Go be a case of less is more? Possibly.

This government approval doesn't necessarily mean this device will be available in a couple of weeks. Heck, HP hasn't even made an official introduction of this product. We also have no idea what sort of price points will be involved with this smaller webOS tablet. In fact, HP is still trying to get some mindshare for the original TouchPad.

Speaking of which, HP dropped the price of the TouchPad by $100 last week to $399 and $499 for the 16-GB and 32-GB models, respectively. The price drops were initially supposed to be a temporary discount, but HP has decided to extend the discounts indefinitely. In other words, HP has permanently cut the TouchPad's price by $100 a mere five weeks after launch. Obviously, this move is meant to coax the public into buying its tablet.

With the 10-inch model priced at $399, what room does HP have for pricing the seven-inch TouchPad Go? Logic dictates that a device with a smaller screen would cost less, right? Or does the added portability add a price premium (as it does for laptops)? Hard to say.

With any luck, HP will make the TouchPad Go official sooner rather than later.

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