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HP Opal and Topaz revealed as first webOS tablets

Pictures of the webOS-powered HP Topaz and Opal have been dug up ahead of their official launch next month -- but they could keep us waiting.

The first glimpse of HP's webOS tablets reveals the 9-inch Topaz and 7-inch Opal -- they've been dug up ahead of their official launch next month.

These are probably codenames rather than final titles, because if HP wants to compete in the tablet market it has to think up a really stupid name. We think birthstones are a rich source of potential names in a world of EP121 and TX-P42GT20: we'd definitely buy a Samsung Sardonyx or a Canon Carnelian.

Design renders of the HP devices have found their way to Engadget, although there isn't a whole lot to glean from the pictures, as all tablets look the blinkin' same. What we can tell is the leaked devices appear to have a front-facing camera and no buttons, which is also a possible direction for the next iPad. The tablets will connect and charge via microUSB.

HP avoided the gadget scrum at CES 2011 in favour of its own launch on 9 February. HP has re-written and re-issued the invitation to the event in San Francisco in light of the leak, telling hacks to "think again" if they think Engadget has revealed all there is to see at the launch.

HP is likely to have other webOS devices up its sleeve on the day, possibly including the previously reported Slate tablet, set to run Windows 7. Whether they'll be serious challengers to the current players remains to be seen: we already have the iPad and more Android tablets than we know what to do with, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, with version 3.0 Honeycomb set to debut this year on the Motorola Xoom.

It's a crowded market, and if a leaked marketing presentation is to be believed, the Opal won't arrive until September, and the Topaz not until next year. Has HP left it too late? Tell us in the comments if you can hold out all year for webOS.

Image credit: Engadget