Wait, wait…First Microsoft kills the courier, now one of their closest partners shutters a similar device? According to TechCrunch, HP has decided to put an end to the Slate. We’re still waiting for confirmation, but that’s probably a good thing. Initial reactions to the device were lukewarm, and with the iPad already established as the device to beat HP needed to take a good, hard look at things before rushing a less-than-impressive product to market.

That said, there’s every possibility that HP has a solid back-up plan now that they’ve acquired Palm.

Let’s see…They’ve got a hardware foundation that needs a little bit of a price reduction to be competitive. They’ve got a mobile operating system (WebOS) which won’t cost them anything to install on said hardware. By stripping away Windows 7 and replacing the Intel guts with an ARM configuration, HP could easily remix the Slate into a larger version of the Palm Pre…Kind of like what Apple did with the iPad.

If they can beat the iPad on price and offer a slick software experience courtesy WebOS, HP could very well have a hit on their hands.

Obviously, it’s going to be an uphill climb. It’s not like the new Palm handsets and WebOS have been terribly successful thus far, after all. Still, HP now has the ingredients — let’s see if they can find the right mix.

Update: We just heard back from a source at HP who simply says that the company “does not comment on rumors or speculation,” but Sascha at NetbookNews.de got a stronger reaction from his source — who says that the cancellation of the HP Slate is “very improbable, if not even impossible.”

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Lee Mathews

Computer tech, blogger, husband, father, and avid MSI U100 user.

6 replies on “HP kills the Slate — is this the clincher for a WebOS tablet?”

  1. I still hope the original Slate with Win7 comes out. Does WebOS handle Adobe Flash??? Flash will be what makes the Slate the true iPad killer. But if WebOS does handle Flash, with dumping Win7 and Intel for an ARM cpu, and having a good wifi chip and option for 3G, and priced well below $500 will spell the iPad’s doom. The only apples I buy are the Granny Smiths at the super market. 🙂

  2. I have always stated, that some techies or gadget geeks may buy slate computers or find them interesting however I don’t see the average consumer who is scared to press the F1 key in fear that the computer may blow up, go out and purchase a slick pretty fragile looking computing device. So I’m not surprised to see these devices being cancelled especially after everyone hyped up the iPad which may have sold out but most will be using it for a “Ebook” reader.

  3. This has yet to be confirmed by HP. Techcrunch lists a “source” and HP has said nothing on the subject as of yet.

  4. I have yet to see someone actually use WebOS and not LIKE it. Then their technology oriented friend, or the clueless twit behind the counter, will tell them to get an Android because it has more apps (at the Verizon booth)… Or they’re on T-Mobile and don’t really have any choices… Or they’re on AT&T and if you’re ON AT&T, and don’t mind the service, why WOULDN’T you get a iPhone, really? And then there’s Sprint, where the original Pre is aging kind of poorly… But almost all of the user reaction I’ve heard has been in response to the hardware. WebOS really is special. My wife owns a Pre, and compared to the iTouch we were just recently loaned, or my buddy’s Android Droid Eris, the OS rocks. The problem Palm had was the hardware, and an exclusivity agreement with Sprint that cost them all their thunder when the phones first came out, and by the time they hit other networks the 3GS was the least of Palm’s worries, as very compelling phones from Motorola and especially HTC using Android were coming out. There was a reason the Pre rocked Laptop.com’s March Cellphone Madness polls though, and that’s because the OS really is special, and now that it has a backer which can both extend it and hopefully marry it to some more compelling hardware, I hope to see it really soar.

  5. I’m looking forward to more of these types of news stories! The great tablet invasion is taking on water even before it makes a splash.

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