Palm is planning for a big 2011 and is expected to deliver several new handsets and a tablet. According to analyst Keith Bachman of BMO Capital Markets, this webOS tablet will debut in March 2011, a date that fits in nicely with Palm’s projected early 2011 launch. Bachman’s prediction is based on information obtained from Asian tech companies. The combined info suggests HP is gearing up for a March launch. Bachman is bullish on the tablet market, claiming most Asian manufacturing companies are planning to manufacture tablets in large quantities. According to BMO, over 40 million tablets may land in the hands of consumers in 2011, more than half of which may be Apple iPads.
HP and Palm will entering this crowded market, potentially competing with the likes of the iPad 2 and the Galaxy Tab 2. The iPad 2 is expected to get a front and rear-facing camera, possibly a retina display, and a thinner form factor. Android tablets, like the Galaxy Tab, are expected to get a big boost with the arrival of the Tegra 2 processor and Android 3.0 Honeycomb. It will be interesting to see if HP can take Palm to the next level and compete against these rival platforms.
In the past, Palm has not fared so well in the mobile arena. Despite having an excellent mobile platform in webOS, the Pre and Pixi handsets have been hindered by subpar hardware. Hopefully, HP can use its manufacturing experience to move away from these mid-range offerings and produce a tablet with high-end hardware. Something that will literally knock our socks off would be nice.