“The HP Slate will hit the market before the end of the fiscal year ending in October, and consumers could see a wide range of software and application support at launch,” Wong said.

WebOS, Palm’s touch-screen operating system that is usually seen in smartphones will make an appearance on a tablet after HP announced its intentions to purchase Palm for $1.2 billion.  The plan by HP is to get a tablet ready by the fall which is coincidentally the beginning of the holiday shopping for many consumers.

HP has already stated that they plan to put WebOS on tablets, smartphones and printers but there was much speculation on whether the OS would be loaded on HP’s netbooks as well.  According to Wong, “since Netbooks are more similar in functions with traditional computers, the company will not offer such WebOS-based devices.”

This just gives Apple a half-year head start with iPad.  In addition, there will be a market of people who are looking for a tablet with a different approach than Apple’s.  HP is aiming to be the second mainstream electronic maker in this young market.  Other potential competitors include Dell and Google.

Currently, HP loads Windows 7, Windows XP and Linux on its netbooks.