An HP/Palm tablet. It's been 10 months since Consumer Electronics Show attendees were promised waves upon waves of tablet computers. And among them, getting a high-profile unveiling by none other than Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, was a Hewlett-Packard tablet, or "slate", computer based on Windows 7. And then last month, Hewlett Packard finally started offering the HP Slate 500 - - for $800. At $100 more then the most expensive iPad, that would not make it the promised iPad killer—though it does offer people who absolutely need to run Windows applications on a touchscreen tablet a way to do that. (If that includes you, please let me know.)
But now HP is apparently getting ready to remedy that by delivering another tablet computer based on Palm's webOS. HP acquired Palm earlier this year, along with its smart phone line and its webOS operating system. And webOS is a compact, Internet-friendly system that some have praised as being more powerful than Google's Android or Apple's iOS –the operating systems that run most other tablets.
Back in August, HP execs said that there were plans for a Windows tablet in 2010 and a webOS tablet in early 2011, and now rumors are emerging about exactly what the webOS tablet will be like. It's allegedly called the Palm Mansion, and if the rumors are to be believed, it will come with a 5-inch screen—less than half the size of an Apple iPad's display area. What it means to you: The Palm webOS is built for the Web, as its name implies, and it should get wide adoption by software providers (though not as big as Apple's iPad, at least initially). But a Palm-based tablet will be cheaper than the iPad, more portable and just as powerful in many ways—making it a good fit for those of us who want something a little more manageable than an iPad. Reality check: HP has been promising a webOS-based tablet, and its Windows tablet hasn't exactly taken the world by storm. So something is coming—the question is whether anyone will notice when it gets here, because Research In Motion's Blackberry PlayBook might arrive at the same time.
Which brings us to our second rumor: the PlayBook, RIM's entry into the iPad-killer contest, is rumored to be landing on store shelves by March of 2011. The PlayBook has already been seen in prototype. With a faster processor and more memory (that's running program memory, not to be confused with the flash memory storage) than the iPad, it's demoed faster than the iPad for web-surfing, at least. And unlike the iPad, it works with Adobe Flash, as this RIM video shows:
The PlayBook's pricing is also a little easier to deal with than the iPad—RIM's co-CEO Jim Balsillie told Bloomberg that the PlayBook will cost "less than $500". What that means to you: If you already own a Blackberry, or don't already own an iPad, the PlayBook might be for you, but you'll have to wait a while—and Apple will probably release a new iPad before then. Reality check: RIM's chances of mattering in the market depend on this rumor being accurate, but it would have been better if they arrived before Christmas.
And, about that new iPad. Having sold millions of iPads since their launch in April, Apple is getting ready to deliver the second iteration of its tablet. And the details of the iPad 2.0 – sometimes called the "World iPad" by rumor mongerers—are starting to leak out, or at least be speculated about. And now the delivery date for the next iPad is rumored to be by late March or early April of 2011—just a year after the first iPads shipped.
The rumored iPad 2 will have two cameras like the iPhone 4, will work on both CDMA and GSM wireless phone networks (so it will connect to both Verizon and AT&T, as well as most global wireless phone networks), and a new faster processor—probably at least on par with the processor chip in the PlayBook. It will also be more rugged, based on the same sort of "unibody" aluminum case that the MacBook Air has. What it means to you: Cheaper first-generation iPads, for one thing. Apparently, TJ Maxx is selling iPads for $399 in some places—a sure sign Apple is getting ready to change things up. But if you want the latest and greatest, ask for an IOU under the tree instead of a new iPad. Reality check: the timing may be a little bit off—maybe later than April. But the details are pretty solid, so I'd say this is as close to real as any Apple rumor. And speaking of Apple rumors…
A white iPhone 4 for Verizon. Photos are circulating around the web of an alleged Verizon iPhone 4 with a white case. Apple has yet to ship the white iPhone 4, which Apple CEO Steve Jobs promised at the launch of the phone, for AT&T, so when the photo emerged from "tipsters", the Apple fanboys went wild. As TFTS reported, "it seems the phone has an operating carrier (marked in green above), and it clearly reads Verizon." Also, the phone in the photo lacks a SIM chip tray, so it's obviously a CDMA phone, the type of phone that would be used by Verizon's network. Right?
What it means to you: Well, if it were real, it would mean that if you're a Verizon subscriber, you can finally get over your iPhone envy soon—and make all those AT&T iPhone users jealous with your white case. Reality check: Clearly, some people have never heard of fake phone cases and Photoshop. A teenager from Queens, NY has been selling white iPhone cases on his website, allegedly from an overseas Apple supplier. And the phone in the picture is unactivated. So this one smells a little fishy to me.