The rumors of the death of Hewlett-Packard's slate computer may be greatly exaggerated, at least if a few HP Web pages are any judge.
Touting the HP Slate 500, the page describes the device as powered by Windows 7 Premium and sporting an 8.9-inch screen with Internet access and two cameras (still and video). Like the iPad, you can adjust the screen either horizontally or vertically. But unlike the iPad, you can also use a pen to write or draw on the display. The page says that headphones are included in the box but is mum on any other details.
HP's Slate device was demoed by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at January's CES, along with tablets from other vendors. But any buzz about those devices was soon overshadowed by the debut of the iPad in early April.
A scant few days after the iPad hit the stores, details on HP's Slate were leaked. The specs at the time match some of those on the HP's Slate 500 page--an 8.9-inch display, Webcam, and still camera. Other details revealed a 1,024x600 capacitive multitouch display, a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 processor, and a five-hour battery. The Slate was designed to come in two flavors at that point--a $549 model with 32GB of flash storage and 1GB of non-upgradeable RAM, and a $599 edition with 64GB of storage.
Not long after that, HP announced its acquisition of Palm, leading to speculation that its Window 7-based slate was dead and being replaced by a Palm-OS-based tablet. But those rumors were soon challenged by others who said the slate was not dead but merely delayed.
Some reports also said HP could decide to release two tablet devices--one Windows driven and the other running a Palm OS. News that HP was just granted a trademark for the term "PalmPad" may indicate the company is in fact gearing up to launch a Palm-based tablet.
The fate of the slate, though certainly not dead if HP's Web pages are up to date and accurate, remains unconfirmed by the company. In an e-mail to CNET about the future of its Slate, an HP spokesperson said simply, "We're in customer evaluations now and will make a determination soon on the next steps."