HP casts a wide net to compete with Apple’s tablets

July 22, 2010, 10:30 PM UTC

HP stays true to its plans to build a tablet with Microsoft despite just having bought Palm

By Shelley DuBois, reporter

Adam Lashinsky, Todd Bradley and Jon Rubinstein at Brainstorm Tech. (Photo: Matt Slaby, Fortune)

Hewlett Packard has been hinting that it was going to come out with a fancy new tablet for some time. Bloggers have been questioning whether the company’s new partnership with Palm would finally generate the product that talks with Android and Microsoft didn’t.

Turns out HP and Microsoft are still making a slate together. The two companies plan on releasing  a tablet this fall, Todd Bradley, executive vice president of the personal systems group division of HP (HPQ) announced at the 2010 Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference.

“I think you’ll see us with a family of slate products, clearly a Microsoft product in the enterprise and a webOS product broadly-deployed,” says Bradley.

The market will be big enough to tolerate several tablet products, he says. “Slates are going to be an enormous category, this is just in its infancy.”

What Palm brings to the table is its webOS, that operates in the cloud. Tablets built with Palm’s operating system will be designed for a broad audience. HP and Palm will be able to continually update software on their future tablet through the cloud, and developers will be able to build apps easily using Palm’s drag-and-drop software.

Palm’s operating system will also run the gamut of HP products, including smart phones and printers.

That’s part of Palm’s whole, fresh mentality. “I think it’s important to have control over the entire user experience and really deliver great consumer products,” says Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein. “If you really want to deliver a great experience, in this case, the HP experience, you want your own OS.”

He adds, “and yes, there will be Flash.”