There was plenty of buzz surrounding yesterday's webOS announcements by Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ).

The belle of the ball was TouchPad, HP's first stab at a tablet using a refreshed version of the webOS platform it inherited when it acquired Palm last year.

The initial reviews have generally been kind, though one has to wonder if there's really a market there for what is essentially a supersized Palm Pre with a few operating system enhancements. However, we don't know how much these things will cost. Heck, we don't even know when the TouchPad will hit the market.

"Planned availability this summer," teases the tablet's product page.

Not being able to nail down a specific date doesn't bother me. The open-ended nature of "planned" hints at possible delays, but that only irks me a bit. The real deal breaker here is that it may be too late for HP, even if it's cranking these out by June.

The dance floor's going to be pretty crowded by then. Motorola Mobility's (NYSE: MMI) Xoom is hitting the market this month. It's the first tablet running the tablet-optimized Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system. Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) new iPad should hit the market no later than early April. Research In Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM) PlayBook doesn't have a firm release date, but it would be a shock if it's not out for a springtime release.

In short, by the time that TouchPad debuts it's going to be battling entrenched giants. The flavor wheel of Apple's iOS, Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android, and RIM will be enough. Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) also unveiled a 10-inch tablet running Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows 7 this week.

Do we need a webOS tablet? Do we want a webOS tablet?

All of this has to be driving developers nuts. Cranking out cheap or free ad-supported apps for one platform is hard enough. Eventually, they will just develop for the most popular platforms to maximize their reach. Less popular tablet operating systems will be marginalized. Why should a webOS tablet hold up any better than a webOS smartphone?

At least when Palm was at its peak with its Pre and Pixi devices, the multitasking nature of webOS turned heads. The new webOS is still cool, but not the differentiator that it was two years ago.

I would love to see HP be rewarded for bailing out Palm last year, but this whole process took too long. Technology moves too fast to sit on innovative platforms for too long.

Planned availability this summer? Planned obsolescence this fall!

Which 2011 tablet introduction are you looking forward to the most? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Google and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool has written puts on Apple. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz pecked away this article on an HP computer, but he does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.