Update: TechCrunch now reports that the Windows version of HP's slate tablet is indeed dead. Michael Arrington writes: "Hewlett-Packard has killed off its much ballyhooed Windows 7 tablet computer, says a source who's been briefed on the matter."
Second update: An HP PR rep has contacted us via e-mail, saying, "We don't comment on rumors or speculation."
With the news that HP is acquiring Palm, one hot upcoming device that may get suddenly shifted onto the back burner is the company's iPad-style tablet. The device is referred to in marketing materials as the "slate," but still lacks a formal name.
We first saw the slate at CES 2010, in the hands of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. After that, we saw a high-profile promotional video in early April, a mere 48 hours after the iPad's debut. That promo video, though not exactly real-world footage, touted all those extras, from Flash to a Webcam, that are missing from the iPad. HP also set up a mailing list page where one could sign up to receive updates on the slate.
A few weeks later, HP hooks up with Palm, and the status of the slate is one of the first things people want to know about. According to the Silicon Alley Insider:
An analyst asked what HP would be doing with its iPad rival. HP's Todd Bradley responded, "We haven't made roadmap announcements," but that HP will explain its Slate plans in more detail when the Palm deal closes.
That's not a particularly revealing quote, but it certainly seems like a Palm-powered tablet with WebOS instead of Windows makes a lot of sense (to us and others), at least theoretically. Especially, as the choice of a low-power Z-series Intel Atom processor in the current HP tablet (according to internal company documents) made us wary of the tablet's chances as a full-featured iPad killer.
Is the Windows 7 HP slate tablet dead in the water, to be eventually replaced by a WebOS version? Sound off with your predictions below.