updated 08:30 pm EDT, Sat May 8, 2010
HP may have webOS tablet very quickly
HP's plans to axe the Windows 7 slate for a webOS alternative may be coming much quicker than expected, an apparent leak claimed on Saturday. The Palm-based tablet would be codenamed the Hurricane and could be ready as soon as the summer. Its specs weren't mentioned by the Examiner's HP source, but it would very likely have to abandon the Intel Atom chip for an ARM processor.
Such a rapid development would be unlikely for a tablet being developed from scratch and instead suggests that HP may have simply repurposed an already in-development slate for webOS. Rumors had circulated during CES of Android tablets in the works, any of which could potentially be converted to webOS with little work. HP had hinted very strongly while discussing its buyout of Palm that it wanted webOS for tablets and, during a presentation, showed a render of its known slate design multiple times.
While rumors have circulated that the Windows 7 slate may still be alive, the sudden attention to webOS along with the original rumor of the Windows tablet's death could be major blows to Microsoft. It had heavily promoted the slate as an example of what Windows 7 could do in a touchscreen environment, but a premature death could signal that HP was unhappy with the poor battery life and performance along with rumored interface problems. It may instead be consciously following the iPad model and developing a tablet where it not only uses a lightweight, touch-friendly mobile OS but has direct control over both the hardware and software.