HP Plans ‘Awesome Tablet’ Using Palm’s WebOS, Rubinstein Says

Hewlett-Packard Co. plans to release an “awesome tablet” computer next year that uses the Palm operating system, an executive said today.

The company is working on a variety of smart phones and tablets, Jon Rubinstein head of HP’s Palm unit, said at the D: Dive Into Mobile conference in San Francisco.

“Leo is really jazzed about having WebOS,” said Rubinstein, referring to HP Chief Executive Officer Leo Apotheker, who took over Nov. 1.

HP, the world’s largest technology company by revenue, is using new versions of Palm’s Pre phone and WebOS to lessen its dependence on personal computers and revitalize the smart phone maker, which it bought for $1.2 billion in July. The WebOS software competes with operating systems from companies including Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Google Inc.

HP was the most logical buyer of Palm, Rubinstein said, because Palm was having trouble growing and HP didn’t have a great mobile strategy. HP is still deciding whether to keep using the Palm brand name, he said.

HP, based in Palo Alto, California, fell 66 cents or 1.5 percent to $42.19 today in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have dropped 18 percent this year.

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