Shoulda, woulda, coulda, but alas, HP ultimately didn't. Such is the tale of the behind-the-scenes gaffes that almost saw webOS launch on a path to success, and instead, ended in the platform's corporate disavowal. The story may be all too fresh in our memory, but did you also know we were this close to a fire sale for a lesser-sized tablet? According to a report on gdgt, HP's QA team had in its possession a production-ready model of the "Opal" tablet, and were in the process of debugging the unit. The aborted 7-inch little brother to the TouchPad had reared its head at the FCC only two weeks ago, en route to a future AT&T home in both 16GB and 32GB versions as the TouchPad Go. Though the passing days bring further bits of this muddled HP puzzle into perspective, it appears likely this mini webOS tab may never know the appreciative touch of consumer hands. And with the recent news of an overseas-only bow for the Pre 3, all that remains to be seen is what'll happen to our recently adopted TouchPads.

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Opal: the 7-inch HP tablet that almost was