HP/Palm finally making a direct iPhone competitor?

Our editor-in-chief, Dieter Bohn, writing for sibling site PreCentral.net lands an exclusive first look at an HP/Palm webOS slab device, potentially code-named Stingray.

While we are quite confident that the image is legit, unfortunately we don't have a lot of confidence in any further information. Is the device coming or is it simply a prototype that has been canned? Our tipster described it as "an EVO with webOS" and suggests it simply has yet to be announced.

If real and if HP goes ahead and releases it, it will be their first phone without a keyboard, leaving webOS itself as their key differentiators. With more an more emerging about the tablet-specific webOS 3.0 (similar to how iOS 3.2 was iPad specific), it'll be interesting to see what ultimately launches on the phone.

Now where's that HP iPod touch competitor so webOS fans don't need another cell contract just to enjoy it on a handheld?