Rumor: 7 inch HP TouchPad coming in August?

HP is already planning to launch its much talked about TouchPad tablet device on July 1. That product will have a 9.7 inch touch screen. However, according to a story at the Taiwan Economic news web site, the company is also planning to release a smaller 7 inch touch screen version of the TouchPad with a possible launch date of August for the product.

The story claims that HP has contracted with Taiwan-based company Inventec Corp to make its tablet devices. Using an unnamed source, the story claims that HP will order between 400,000 to 450,000 units of the tablets from Inventec with a goal of 3 million tablet PCs released this year. So far, HP has yet to announce that it is developing a seven inch tablet WebOS based product. This year Samsung did the reverse by releasing a 7 inch screen version of the Galaxy Tab tablet followed more recently by the launch of the 10.1 inch version of the Galaxy Tab.

While HP first announced the WebOS-based TouchPad a while ago, the 9.7 inch screen version is now only a few days away from release. It started taking pre-orders for the TouchPad a few days ago with the 16 GB version priced at $499 and the 32 GB version priced at $599. Earlier this week HP announced an exclusive monthly electronic "magazine" for the TouchPad called the Pivot. It will also serve as a way to  help promote and find apps for the HP TouchPad's WebOS platform.

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I think HP has the ability to become a serious competitor. They'll offer a unique tablet experience just like Apple and RIM are currently offering. Not much unique about one Android tab over another.