Rumor Mill: HP debuting webOS tablet in March

Hewlett-Packard will release its forthcoming tablet based on Palm's webOS platform in March, according to an analyst report.

The report comes from BMO Capital Markets analyst Keith Bachman, who based it off discussions with technology companies in Asia. Bachman is not the only analyst who has pointed to a March release date; Stifel Nicolaus analyst Doug Reid last month also predicted a March launch.

An HP spokesman declined to comment. HP has said previously it will release a webOS tablet early next year, but has declined to provide any details about the product.

Bachman said in a call with investors on Monday that he is not that bullish about the webOS tablet, which he called a "niche market" for HP. "Everyone we met with [on the Asia trip] is planning to build tablets," he said, adding: "It will be a very crowded market in 2011."

That could be a slight understatement. Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), Motorola (NYSE:MOT), LG, Samsung and others all plan to release tablets next year. Research firm IDC has predicted that media tablet sales will reach 42 million in 2011, and Gartner thinks the market could reach 54 million units next year.

For more:
- see this Forbes article

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