HP PalmPad to Tilt the Tablet Tables

PC giant HP has its own placeholder for the grand tablet games scheduled for 2011.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- With word of an upcoming PalmPad,

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

shined a little daylight on its Palm plans and its response to

Apple's

(AAPL) - Get Report

iPad.

Speaking at

Hewlett-Packard's analysts meeting

Tuesday, personal device chief Todd Bradley said a tablet device called PalmPad is in the works and will run on Palm's WebOS software. The PalmPad will be available early next year through retail stores, according to analysts.

Palm effectively vanished earlier this year when

HP acquired the struggling phone maker

for $1.2 billion.

Word of a PalmPad comes as more than a dozen tech sector players including giants like

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

gear up for a tablet sales boom. Apple's iPad has had the market to itself this year, but would-be rivals like

Samsung's

Galaxy

,

Research In Motion's

(RIMM)

PlayBook

and even

Cisco's

(CSCO) - Get Report

Cius

will enter the ring in a big way next year.

As the no. 1 computer maker, HP's entry into the tablet market won't go unnoticed. Clearly the Palm WebOS-powered PalmPad will be among a variety of tablet type devices produced by HP. The company has dabbled in

Google

(GOOG) - Get Report

Android tablets in its printer division and it will likely revive its Slate tablet effort using

Microsoft's

(MSFT) - Get Report

Windows 7 system.

Addressing concerns that Palm was being neglected under HP, Bradley said

200 people have been hired

since the Palm deal closed in July, according to

Bloomberg

. Bradley predicted that HP would hold 17% of the total tablet market in 2013.

Bradley expects big things to happen in the new tablet market. On Monday, in an interview with

TechCrunch

, he estimated that the total

tablet market would grow to about $40 billion

in a few years.

One major problem for HP investors: The rise of tablets comes at the sacrifice of PCs -- specifically netbooks and notebooks. These are two of HP's biggest growth segments.

The emerging tablet story is starting to sound a lot like the sequel to the netbook drama that

cannibalized the PC industry

just two years ago.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.>To contact this writer, click here: Scott Moritz, or email: scott.moritz@thestreet.com.To follow Scott on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/TheStreet_Tech.>To send a tip, email: tips@thestreet.com.