HP Windows-Based Slate Tablet Alive and Well: Report
An HP vice president has reportedly confirmed that HP still plans to release its Windows 7-based Slate tablet in late October. While the timing of an HP tablet with webOS is uncertain, the exec confirmed that HP is planning for webOS tablets and smartphones, though not netbooks.
The Hewlett-Packard Slate, a tablet device running Microsoft's
Windows 7 OS, will go on sale toward the end of HP's fiscal year in
October, DigiTimes reported May 21, citing Monty Wong, vice president of personal computing systems at HP Taiwan.
Following HP's April 28 announcement that it was acquiring smartphone maker Palm, rumors began to swirl that the company's planned tablet, the HP Slate, had been canceled and that a webOS-running tablet would replace it.
On May 10, citing "an insider at HP," The Examiner reported that HP could be releasing a tablet running webOS as early as the third quarter.
While Wong offered no word on the timing of a webOS tablet, he reportedly did confirm that HP plans to, at some point, roll out such as a device, as well as webOS-based smartphones. However, he said HP doesn't find the OS to be a suitable fit for netbooks, which it believes to be more like traditional computers.
Wong added that HP will announce more details about its plans for webOS once its acquisition of Palm is completed toward the end of July, and that, alongside the HP Slate's October launch, consumers could see a variety of supportive software and applications.
With Apple's iPad rejuvenating the tablet form factor and enjoying strong sales, many believed HP could have a better chance at a hit with a webOS-based tablet, rather than one with longtime partner Microsoft. IMS Research analyst Anna Hunt wrote in a May 3 research note that HP's use of Windows 7 "would translate to a higher cost to the consumer and could mean more strain on the processor.
Analyst Chris Schreck, also with IMS, additionally pointed out that the easy-to-develop-for webOS might also better attract application developers. "[WebOS] uses standard development languages already common among PC developers," Schreck wrote. "If HP can create a compelling tablet offering that people are willing to buy, the barriers to entry might be fairly minimal."
Analyst with Ken Hyers, with Technology Business Research, has likewise noted that HP's acquisition of Palm gives it new leverage with which to compete against Apple.
"[The] tablet computing space has not yet been well defined by any single manufacturer or OS, giving HP, with its extensive PC manufacturing expertise, a chance to become a key player in the new market segment," Hyers wrote in an April 29 report.
There is, however, a certain safety in offering a Microsoft-based product, Hyers later told eWEEK on a call. "No enterprise IT manager has ever been fired for buying Microsoft products," Hyers added.