HP Obliquely Teases webOS Devices In Leaked Video


Hewlett Packard has big aspirations in smartphones and tablets, and the company is dangling a teaser video of what's on tap for its Feb. 9 webOS event.

However, the 8-second webOS video offers only slightly more information than could be discerned by examining the devices in a photographic darkroom while wearing 1,000 blindfolds. It consists of close-up shots of device curves and buttons, and what appears to be a docking connector for a tablet, but the whole thing is sufficiently vague as to inspire intense curiosity in viewers, which of course is exactly the goal.

"Ready to peek into the beyond?" HP Palm employee blogger Jon Zilber asked hopefully in a Wednesday blog post drawing attention to the video. "Like what you’re seeing? (Or what you think you’re seeing?)"

"Now, I’m not really supposed to be sharing this video just yet, so do me a favor -- don’t tell anybody about this video by tweeting “I am SO ready to #thinkbeyond http://youtu.be/uhzS_5jUHBc on February 9," Zilber said in the blog post.

Several blog visitors voiced their frustration with the lack of visible detail in the video, but at least one appeared to have been overcome with anticipation after viewing it. "Tell me where I need to go wait in line to be the first one with this device and I will get my camping gear ready. The anticipation is killing me figuratively," wrote poster "suburban_war."

HP CEO Leo Apotheker recently expressed his desire for HP to be considered just as synonymous with cool as Apple, and guerilla marketing tactics of the type on display in the webOS video could be one way HP is looking to achieve this.

HP last April released a teaser video for its Slate tablet -- which was subsequently removed -- but that video included far more detailed information than this week's teaser.

Leaked specs that surfaced last month indicate that HP will unveil two webOS tablets next week: a 9-inch model code-named "Topaz" and a 7-inch model code-named "Opal." Both will reportedly have the same 1024 x 768 screen resolution as the iPad and will include a front-facing camera, micro USB port and three speakers and are equipped with a button-free user interface.

Other rumored features of HP's webOS tablets include cloud-based storage and the ability to transmit files between a webOS tablet and smartphone simply by tapping the two devices together. HP may begin shipping the 9-inch "Topaz" tablet in March, with shipments of the 7-inch "Opal" coming in the June timeframe, Engadget reported last month.

Apotheker is reportedly a big fan of webOS and told the BBC last week that HP, in an event scheduled for March 14, will unveil its "vision of what HP is capable of in the future...the starting point."