Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), the No. 1 computer maker, announced its first tablet a year after withdrawing the TouchPad after it bombed with consumers.
Avaulable for "the holidays," the Palo Alto, Calif., company announced Thursday, the HP Envy x2 will be a 3.1-pound model with a detachable screen that becomes a tablet when separated from the keyboard "via a seamless magnetic switch."
HP also announced two more lightweight devices. All three will be based on the new Windows 8 OS from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), the world's biggest software company.
Microsoft, as well, plans to start selling the Surface, a tablet that also has a detachable keyboard intended to be laid over the surface. The Redmond, Wash., company hasn't announced a shipment date.
HP previously sold the TouchPad, a product based on the Palm OS, but withdrew it after poor sales after two months last year. New CEO Margaret (Meg) Whitman told investors last week the company intended to ship a tablet for business as well as "a tablet combined with a laptop for the consumer space."
To be sure, Windows 8 software will encompass touch technology for the first time, allowing users the same interface as with the iPad product line from Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), the world's most valuable company.
The Envy x2, as well as the two other laptops, will be designed around the new Ultrabook chips from Intel Corp. (Nasfdaq: INTC) the No. 1 chipmaker.
The other models are HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook, a 4.77-pound model with a 15.6-inch display with Intel's ThnderboltTM technology for faster transfer of music and videos, and the HP Envy TouchSmart Utrabook 4, also 4.77 pounds, with a 14-inch display.
The world's biggest PC company published a suggested price of $1,399.99 for the HP SpectreXT Touch Smart model and said it will publish prices for the two other models later.
Shares of HP fell 6 cents to $16.88. They set a 52-week low of $16.81 on Tuesday.