In a major embarrassment to Microsoft, Hewlett Packard is set to scrap their Windows based Slate which was set to be launched as a direct competitor to the iPad. Instead the Company is now looking at a WebOS based device based on software acquired from Palm.
Last Week Hewlett Packard agreed to pay US $1.2Billion for Palm who have developed a Smartphone operating system to compete with the iPhone. During “due diligence” talks Hewlett Packard discovered that Palm had been looking at developing their own iPad competitor but due to a shortage of cash flow the Company had shelved the project.
In January Microsoft, whose chief executive, Steve Ballmer, personally unveiled the HP tablet at CES in January, he bragged about the performance that the Windows 7 based device would deliver.
Due for release later this year the HP Slate was according to insiders unable to perform as quickly as the new iPad and that developers had had problems matching the “touch screen” performance of the iPad.
HP decided to write off its Microsoft slate as a learning experience, one that may have been more expensive than valuable.
The tablet was expected to reach the market in midyear, but the source says HP just wasn’t happy with Windows 7 as a tablet operating system.
HP’s change of plan came when the Company discovered that Palm had a significantly faster operating system.
SmartHouse who was the only Australian media Company invited to attended the launch of the Palm Pre at the CES Show in Las Vegas, has been told that HP, is now looking at which chipset they will use with the new WebOS slate. Both Qualcomm and Intel have been consulted in recent days.
The WebOS, is currently used in the Palm Pre and Pixi handsets, and according to Palm executives has the potential to be a tablet operating system. Apple’s iPad runs a version of the iPhone operating system.
According to Business Insider, HP’s Todd Bradley said that HP would set out its plans for the Slate once the Palm deal has been closed.
According to Palm sources HP, realised that they had a problem with their own slate, when engineers got their hands on the new iPad from Apple. Shortly afterwards both marketing and engineering staff at HP started to doubt the viability of the device that had been shown off by Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer at the CES keynote.
The planned device had a 1.6HGz Intel Atom Menlow processor, 1GB of RAM, 32 or 64GB of Flash memory that could be expand via the SD card reader. It ran on Windows 7 Home Premium and HP’s own touch interface.
Also built in was 802.11b/g and Bluetooth, optional 3G, GPS, pen and digitiser support, a VGA webcam, a 3 megapixel camera, a USB port and a dock connector that doubles as an audio interface and HDMI prt.
The screen was an 8.9-inch WSVGA touch screen running at 1024×600 with touch panel, light sensor and accelerometer.
The 1080p HD graphics were managed by the Intel UMA.
Microsoft has also been forced to dump their own planned tablet, the Courier. The dual-screen tablet was never officially confirmed by Microsoft but there were enough leaks and tacit admissions to make its existence seem like a safe bet. Last month a job advert that appeared on a Microsoft website referred to “the forthcoming Courier digital journal”. The reference was removed shortly afterwards.