Tablet Moves: Lenovo Confirms Android LePad; HP Pursues PalmPad Trademark
If you don’t mind a bit of speculation so early in the game, I’m anticipating that the holiday season for 2010 is going to be chock full of tablet offerings. To get started, Lenovo is committing itself to a fully blown Google Android tablet, dubbed the LePad (the name apparently is inspired by Lenovo’s LePhone success in China). And HP’s webOS tablet rumors are becoming ever more real as they officially file a trademark for PalmPad. Here’s where the tablet market is heading next.
It took some digging, but the official story on the LePad seems to have originated from PC World. Apparently, Lenovo’s Liu Jun, senior VP and president of Lenovo’s Consumer Business Group, has confirmed the LePad exists. There are no press releases on these details.
The real speculation: I think Lenovo is attempting to ramp up excitement after a tepid response on Lenovo Skylight OS, which was slated to ship with the Lenovo Skylight and the Hybrid U1 but is now defunct. This product shift could be a smart Lenovo move, since the Android-based LePhone has become so popular in China. Plus, using Android as a base for Lenovo’s future tablet computer endeavors helps lighten the load on Lenovo software R&D.
Here Comes HP
Meanwhile, R&D seems to be amped up 110% over at HP, as they try to scramble from the wreckage of their now scrapped Windows 7 tablet. The webOS tablet rumors really kicked into high gear when HP’s press release about completing the Palm acquisition hinted at new slates and netbook devices. But now it seems nearly confirmed as HP has filed a trademark application for PalmPad. Seems HP is going to keep the Palm name around, and that might be a good idea since it certainly has a snazzier ring than, um, iPaq.
Here’s the question that I’m asking: With webOS, Android and iOS4 all having existing market traction, what will become of Windows Phone 7? Developers are already wondering about writing software for both Android and Apple’s iOS 4 for iPhone and iPad. Even Cisco’s forthcoming Cius tablet will run Android. Now, HP is pushing webOS.
In Microsoft’s defense, CEO Steve Ballmer says plenty of Windows Phone 7 devices and Windows 7 tablets will surface in late 2010. Ballmer made the statement at last week’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2010 (WPC) in Washington, D.C.
We’ll be watching each of the players closely