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HP TouchPad successor based on Android planned

Hewlett Packard is apparently planning to re-enter the tablet market following its hastily-cancelled TouchPad, but this time using Google's Android operating system.

The HP TouchPad was a fairly capable tablet when it launched back in 2011, with a touch-centric user interface and speedy performance which won reviewers over, but HP ended up ditching webOS altogether and cancelling the TouchPad less than three months after its launch, using its own funds to allow retailers to offer substantial discounts on the last few units that would see the price drop to just £89.

Many of those who picked up a bargain-basement TouchPad would turn to third-party builds of Google's Android platform, tweaked for compatibility with the TouchPad's hardware, to extend the functionality of the device when it was clear that webOS as a platform was dead in the water. Now, it seems that HP is treading the same path: according to sources speaking to ReadWriteWeb, HP will adopt Google's popular mobile platform for a next-generation range of tablets.

Based on Nvidia's latest Tegra 4 mobile processor, a quad-core design that offers significant performance and a powerful graphics processor tweaked for gaming, the new tablet is expected to launch world-wide before the end of the year as the company, under new leadership, seeks to re-enter the market is so dramatically abandoned.

The site's source also points to the possibility of an HP-manufactured Android smartphone, an ironic twist given the company's purchase of smartphone specialist Palm and subsequent closure of that division. HP's chief executive Meg Whitman, however, has denied that a smartphone is planned for 2013 - but has not publicly commented on the possibility of a launch next year.

Should HP choose to customise Google's Android platform with a few of the nicer features of its cancelled webOS project, the burgeoning tablet market could get a seriously powerful competitor.

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