There’s a rumor bouncing around the web today that the upcoming HP “PalmPad” will be a webOS tablet that works with both touch and a Wacom pen. As a long-time tablet enthusiast I would love to see such a slate come to market but I’m afraid that just won’t happen.
Someone recently discovered that HP has trademarked the name PalmPad, and the logical assumption is that the company’s forthcoming slate running webOS is the reason for the trademark. The very idea of a webOS slate is quite exciting, and the company has hinted one is forthcoming.
However, putting a dual digitizer in such a tablet — and that is what would be required to allow both pen input and touch operation — is not very likely for a number of reasons. The cost of such a dual input system would be quite high (active digitizers with pens can add a hundred bucks), and the PalmPad is going to have to hit the market at a reasonable price to have a shot at success. Also, webOS wasn’t written to work with a pen, especially for using handwriting on the screen for data input. This is a big development effort, and there is no way that Palm has gotten this ready for the market; there’s no indication Palm’s even been working on it. Pen input is thus not an option for a tablet appearing later this year.
I am such a geek, and if I let myself dream about a wonderful package for some great technology, a slate with a dual digitizer would be a perfect fit for the Windows 7-based HP Slate. That tablet was first shown in January of this year, and then later said to have been cancelled by HP. I’d love to see the HP Slate with pen input; but then I’d love to see the PalmPad with webOS, too. I guess I’m just a hopeless romantic when it comes to tablets. Or how about a dual-booting slate with both of these tablets merged into one? Pinch me to make sure I’m awake.
Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): How Microsoft Can Win Back the Tablet Market