HP Palm tablet pics unearthed

3D renders of a tablet device supposedly created by the new partnership between HP and Palm have tipped up on the Internet.

Engadget says the computer-generated artist's impressions came from 'a trusted tipster' and represent one of two forthcoming devices currently being developed at HP HQ.

Due to be unveiled at an HP media event on February 9th, the seven-inch and nine-inch tablets, which are said to be powered by a mysterious 1.2GHz processor, are currently codenamed Topaz and Opal, although that may change in the run-up to the launch.

It's difficult to make any educated guesses at technical specifications beyond the fact that the front bezel contains what appears to be a camera and seems to be bereft of an iPad-style home button, a convention which tablet pioneer Apple is rumoured to be keen to lose.

Engadget is also speculating that a clever three-speaker audio system will ensure you get decent 'stereo' sound whether you are using the device in portrait or landscape modes, and it's such a smart idea that we're willing to go along with it.

Production will probably start in June which points at a September launch which, if we are reading the runes correctly, will put it a couple of months behind the much-predicted iPad 2 as well as more than 100 other wannabes rolled out at this year's CES.

In short, HP and Palm's offering will have to be either spectacularly cheap or incredibly powerful to make much of an impact in what is set to become a confusingly crowded market.

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