HP Channels Apple for WebOS Device Launch

After buying Palm in July, Hewlett-Packard (s hpq) is now finally poised to unveil what looks to be an array of devices using Palm’s webOS operating system. HP has invited the tech press to a Feb. 9 event in San Francisco to talk about webOS, which will hopefully answer a lot of questions about what HP plans to do with the innovative operating system and how the Palm acquisition will play out for HP.

The spare invitation, much like an Apple (s aapl) invite, just tells readers to Think Big, Think Small, Think Beyond. This suggests that it’s going to be multiple devices of different sizes in probably a few categories, which should be no surprise. HP has said it envisions webOS in smartphones, tablets and printers.

This should be the big coming out for HP’s webOS tablets, which earlier reports suggested would get debuted at CES. Clayton Morris of Fox News (s nws) reported there were three tablets in the works, all with specs similar to the iPad. Morris said the PalmPad would be available by March.

This could also be a good time to talk smartphones. The Palm Pre 2 hasn’t turned many heads and doesn’t really answer my earlier question about when we’ll see the next great smartphone from Palm. February might be the time to finally lay eyes on the rumored Palm Mansion, which earlier reports suggested was a 5-inch device that make it a big smartphone or small tablet like the Dell Streak.

With the tablet war expected to finally heat up this year, a PalmPad could be a respectable competitor. With HP’s enterprise sales channels, it could easily sell PalmPads to big businesses and take a chunk out of RIM’s PlayBook tablet sales. The pleasing interface of webOS could give consumers a very polished competitor to the iPad. It would also compete against a slew of Android tablets (s goog), many of which are waiting for the release of the Honeycomb update to launch. Aside from the gadget possibilities, I wonder what will happen to the Palm name going forward? There’s no mention of Palm on the invite, so is it getting pushed to the side already?

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