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HP: new webOS phones coming in early 2011

Speaking at the Canalys Channels Forum 2010 conference in Barcelona, Hewlett-Packard senior vice president Eric Cador indicated the company plans to introduce new mobile phones based on Palm’s webOS mobile platform in early 2011. “You will see us coming early next year with new phones,” Cador told the conference, according to Reuters.

Hewlett-Packard acquired Palm earlier this year in a deal valued at $1.2 billion. At the time, HP’s interest seemed primarily in Palm’s webOS; since the acquisition, HP has indicated it will be integrated webOS into its network-capable printing solutions, and that the company also plans to make tablet devices based on webOS. No pricing or availability dates for any new webOS devices have yet been announced, but Cador’s statement is the clearest indication yet of when HP plans to bring webOS phones to market under its own brand.

HP completed its acquisition of Palm back in July. Both HP and former Palm executives have indicated that Palm had followup phones to the Palm pre and Palm pixi in development, and that HP planned to continue creating smartphones as well as integrating the intellectual property from webOS into other products, including “slate PCs” and netbooks.

An early 2011 launch of webOS devices would still make HP among the last major computer makers to get into the smartphone arena. Of course, Apple opened the floodgates with its iPhone back in 2007; since then, companies like Dell, Acer, and Lenovo have launched smartphones, and Asus has partnered with Garmin on GPS-centric smartphones.