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We didn’t see HP/Palm’s webOS tablets at CES earlier this month as we’d hoped to, but we’re still eager to see what the company has planned. Now Engadget has gotten its hands on some early renderings of the devices, as well as some enticing details — including the fact that HP is readying 9-inch and 7-inch models, dubbed Topaz and Opal respectively.

Judging from the renders, it looks like the tablets feature no buttons and will be entirely gesture-based (something we’re hearing might be true of the iPad 2 as well). We also spot a front-facing camera for video conferencing (but no rear camera), and three speakers along the sides of the tablet’s thin edges. Sources tell Engadget that the devices are running 1.2 gigahertz processors, but no other specifications are known at the moment.

HP is reportedly aiming to release WiFi, AT&T 3G, and Verizon LTE versions of the Opal in September, with an AT&T LTE 4G version coming in July 2012. Not surprisingly, the Opal is being positioned as an ereading-friendly device due to its more portable 7-inch size.

Judging from what we saw at CES, 2011 is going to be a year full of compelling tablets. HP will be squaring off with Motorola’s Xoom, the iPad 2, and RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook. There’s certainly a lot of potential for HP to wow us with Palm’s webOS software on tablets, but hopefully we’ll see the devices sooner than September. Otherwise, Palm may end up repeating its history with the Palm Pre by delivering a compelling product long after consumers actually want it.


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