Talking about newer stuff shortly after announcing new stuff, isn’t this becoming a trend this year? Not two months ago, Intel began talking about 2012 Ivy Bridge processors barely after the first Sandy Bridge equipped computers started shipping. Now before the 10 inch (well, 9.7 inch to be precise) TouchPad is even out on the street, HP is already planning to woo and tempt folks who think 10 inches is a bit awkward to be portable, with a smaller 7 inch TouchPad variant.
Taiwan Economic News company CENS reported over the weekend that Inventec, a big Taiwanese manufacturer of computers, will be supplying HP with 400,000 to 450,000 TouchPad tablets per month (guess that gives an indicator on how those HP TouchPad pre-orders are going and what kind of sales HP expects)… and here’s the interesting bit: “and will be supplying them with 7 inch tablet PCs after a launch in August”.
We’re pretty sure they don’t really mean “tablet PCs” in the literal sense of the word… but more of a 7 inch WebOS-running ‘small sibling’ to the soon-to-be-launched 9.7 inch TouchPad tablet. And when that materializes, HP will be all set up to compete with the Apple iPad 2 with the 9.7 inch TouchPad, while the 7 inch TouchPad’s main nemesis will be the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook, as well as the numerous Android-running tablets from folks like Samsung and Motorola.
An intelligent guess says along with the 7 inch TouchPad (which I propose should be called the “HP CouchPad” instead of something awkward like the HP TouchPad 7… too many “seven” named products out there! … or worse, HP TouchPad Mini), HP will likely launch the ‘connected version’ of the 9.7 inch TouchPad with either 3G or 4G on AT&T.
And since we have all this buzz about touchscreens and tablets, there’s also a small chance a Windows-running, Intel Sandy Bridge infused TouchSmart tm2 will slip out in August along with its WebOS brethren. Given the 2010 HP TouchSmart tm2 has officially disappeared from HP’s website (2nd paragraph here), we can’t help but get our hopes up.