Looks like the rumor floodgate has finally opened for HP/Palm's long-awaited WebOS tablet Ч or tablets, as the case may be. The latest word is that the new slates may ship as early as March with Flash support and tons of cloud-based storage.
We've been hearing about the tablets, powered by Palm's WebOS platform, for months now, and execs at HP (which gobbled up Palm last April) have announced that there will be a WebOS press event in San Francisco next month.
But we'd heard precious few details about the tablets, rumored or otherwise, until Tuesday, when an Engadget tipster provided purported promo images as well as the scoop that two WebOS slates Ч a 9-incher code-named "Topaz" and the 7-inch "Opal" Ч might not ship until September.
But Taipei-based tech site DigiTimes claims that the expected WebOS tablets might ship a lot sooner: March. It's not clear whether a March ship date necessarily equals a March launch, though -- and it's worth noting that DigiTimes has a hit-and-miss record when it comes to predictions. (Hey, don't we all.)
Engadget, meanwhile, managed to beat more WebOS tablet rumors out of the bushes after its initial post Tuesday.
The latest: Flash support for both tablets (not a huge surprise, given that the current version of WebOS boasts Flash video playback), "premium" sound courtesy of HP's proprietary "Beats" audio technology, and an inductive-charging "Touchpad" accessory, similar to what we've seen for the Palm Pre and Pixi.
Another tidbit from the Engadget post: the possibility that the tablets will get "tens of gigabytes" of cloud storage, good for (say) streaming your entire music collection. Interesting, but there's no word on how much internal storage Topaz and Opal might ship with.
And speaking of names, Pocketnow has learned that HP is seeking to get a trademark for HP Touchpad, which could go nicely with the Palmpad name that HP was looking to claim last year.
Again, though, keep in mind that none of this has been confirmed by HP, which on Tuesday re-sent invites to its Feb. 9 WebOS event, complete with the teasing line: "Think you saw the latest on Engadget? Think again."