According to Engadget, Personal Systems Group VP Todd Bradley announced to employees that the new project, dubbed "Hurricane," will be debuted in the first quarter of 2011.
Since HP bought Palm earlier this year, many have wondered what kind of projects would emerge from the merger. Hurd had previously said that smartphones wouldn't be on the agenda (although that could change with new leadership), and HP has already laid plans for a slew of tablets. A webOS tablet targeted towards consumers has been in the pipeline for some time now, and it shouldn't conflict with plans for the business-minded HP Slate.
Up until now, the timelines (especially regarding the webOS model) have been blurry, but this sounds like the perfect time to go public with a new product - either to maximize the amount of press coverage or turn it towards something more positive. Or both.