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Analyst: Smaller iPads coming early next year

Apple is reportedly scheduling a smaller 5- to 7-inch version of the iPad that is expected to launch as soon as the first quarter of 2011, according to Digitimes Research senior analyst Mingchi Kuo.

Kuo, citing talks with upstream component sources, said Apple’s smaller-size iPad will be priced below US$400 and will target the highly-portable mobile device market and consumers that focus mainly on reading and do not have a high demand for text input.

As for the question of whether Hewlett-Packard’s (HP’s) HP Slate has a chance of impacting iPad sales, Kuo believes that the HP Slate is unlikely to provide a competitive portable experience to the iPad since it uses an Intel processor which consumes more power.

In additional news, the HP slate is scheduled to launch in the middle of 2010 and is manufactured by Inventec, according to sources from notebook players.