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Photos Of webOS Tablet Emerge

Ahead of its probable February 9 debut, images and specs of a webOS-based tablet from HP have hit the 'net.

Ahead of its probable February 9 debut, images and specs of a webOS-based tablet from HP have hit the 'net.Photos of an HP-branded tablet have been spied, and at first blush the device looks amazingly similar to Apple's iPad. Imagine the iPad, but with a black casing instead of silver and you pretty much have the HP tablet, which is code-named "Topaz." In fact, its reported dimensions (241 x 190 x 13mm) almost perfectly match those of the iPad (242.8 x 189.7 x 13.4mm). It will have a 9-inch display with, get this, an iPad-matching 1024 x 768 resolution.

Think HP is only working on one tablet? Think again. The "Opal" will follow the Topaz to market later this year, and guns for devices sized more closely to the Samsung Galaxy Tab or the RIM PlayBook. The 7-inch webOS tablet from HP will have dimensions close to 180 x 144 x 13mm. No word on resolution of this smaller device's screen.

What types of features can we expect from these devices aside from a larger version of webOS? A leaked marketing slide indicates the devices might have premium audio capabilities. This is backed up by a source cited by Engadget, who claims that they will have professional grade audio. One can only image what that means. None of the tablet devices I've played with have been endowed with home theater-quality speakers. If they're talking about Dolby Digital, SRS Wow Surround, or similar software, that's a different story altogether. Perhaps this also refers to the presence of an HDMI port.

Other possible features include a specialized Touchstone inductive charger for the tablet that could serve as a media station / dock / charger all in one. Palm's Pre and Pixi line of smartphones have wireless inductive charging capabilities, which lets them charge when placed on the Touchstone charger (no cable between phone and charger required). It makes sense that HP would carry this feature forward to a tablet device.

HP has scheduled a press conference for Wednesday, February 9, in San Francisco. The company is preparing to debut something at that event related to webOS. Personally, I am expecting to see a tablet, a smartphone, and a new version of webOS.

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