Microsoft cancels its revolutionary twin-screen tablet project while HP hedges on the future of its Windows-powered Slate following yesterday’s purchase of Palm and the WebOS.
Oh, the sad irony. The same day as Apple completes its US launch of the iPad with first shipments of the 3G model landing in customer’s hands, Microsoft and HP have both wheeled back their plans for competing tablets.
In the wake of yesterday’s announcement by HP that it would purchase Palm
and roll its WebOS into several devices including tablets
, HP has cooled its plans for a mid-year launch of its Windows-powered Slate
When asked during the post-Palm media conference call to comment on the role of its iPad contender, HP exec Todd Bradley replied with a wary “We haven’t made roadmap announcements” and said that HP would explain its Slate plans in more detail once the Palm deal is closed.
That’s notable for two reasons, First, the timetable: HP expects the deal to be done by the end of July. Even if HP was to proceed with the Slate as originally envisioned, as a Windows 7-based device, waiting until August to reveal its plans for the device indicates a release date closer to year’s end.
More important, if the Slate is to run Windows then why wait for the Palm deal to be done before moving ahead with the Slate?
The Slate: still HP outside, but Windows or WebOS inside..?
HP’s Slate project was developed last year, announced in January’s Consumer Electronics Show and previewed in recent months by HP through a series of teaser videos. But that all happened long before Palm put out the ‘for sale’ sign.
Now that HP has paid US$1.2 billion to effectively buy its own mobile operating system in the form of Palm’s WebOS, Bradley’s hedging appears to indicate that the WebOS rather than Windows is the way ahead for the Slate.
The Slate is still tipped for a year-end debut but the issue now is if it Windows 7 or a modified WebOS will lurk under the covers.
Complicating matters is that the Slate’s leaked specs indicate it would run Intel’s Atom x86 netbook processor, but WebOS was designed for the ARM platform commonly used in smartphones.
But at least HP has some plans for a tablet, whereas Microsoft has axed its internal Courier project entirely.Gizmodo
reports that work has ceased on the twin-screen ‘boooklet’ slate, which supported both multituch and pen input.
Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw told Gizmodo that the Courier project “will be evaluated for use in future offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time.”
Courier was planned around a bespoke OS based on Windows CE, but it’s been suggested that Windows Phone 7 could be a more appropriate platform for non-PC devices such as consumer-oriented slates.