The HP TouchPad, the first ever tablet running on the webOS operating system, now looks set to arrive to market before summer.
This is according to a report by Digitimes, which was reportedly told by HP’s upstream component partners that the computer giant is looking to speed up manufacturing for the tablet to receive the first shipment by the end of March for a possible launch in April.
Digitimes said: “The sources pointed out that HP internally is aiming to ship 45-48 million notebooks and tablet PCs combined in 2011.
“After deducting the volume of HP's notebook shipment forecast, HP's TouchPad series product shipments in 2011 are forecasted to be around 4-5 million units.”
The TouchPad, which will run on the tablet-optimised webOS version 3.0 and sports a 10.1-inch screen, plus Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon processor, was previously expected to become available no sooner than summer, which many industry watchers felt would be too late if the iPad 2 hits the market before then.
An April launch would give the slate a much better chance to compete in what is bound to become a very fiercely contested market.
Digitimes also notes that HP may have an uphill struggle in its hands for opting to go with the iPad’s 4:3 aspect ratio on the TouchPad rather than 16:10 that is set to become a standard in a spate of Android tablets announced at the Mobile World Congress.
We suspect HP made the bold but risky decision to go directly after the tablet market leader rather than the chasers. Only time will tell if it will be able to keep up or left in a trail of dust behind its more prominent rivals.
HP is due to hold a second special event on March 14th where we can expect to hear more about its release plans for the TouchPad.
Source: Digitimes via Engadget