updated 08:45 pm EDT, Tue July 20, 2010
HP Slate 500 confirmed by HP's own site
Rumors of HP killing the Windows 7 slate may have been snuffed this evening as mentions of the tablet have been caught on its own website. Both a cached catalog listing and an Energy Star rating refer to the 8.9-inch tablet and say it will still use Windows 7 Home Premium. They point to the existence of multiple models and are dated as recently as July 12 for the Energy Star rating, implying that HP is still interested.
Many of the early specs are still intact and confirm that the Slate is largely just a netbook in tablet form. The hardware as described would have a 1.6GHz Atom chip and 1GB of RAM; unique to the tablet design would be both front and back cameras as well as a touch surface that supports both pen input as well as multi-touch. Earlier leaks had pointed to a Broadcom Crystal HD accelerator that would drive 1080p video playback but relatively slow Intel video and a relatively short five-hour battery life.
Whether or not the references are signs of the Windows tablet surviving aren't certain. Since its acquisition of Palm, HP has talked down Windows tablets and made clear its interest in producing webOS equivalents. It also recently trademarked the PalmPad name. However, it has never made official remarks on the progress of the Slate and, with the new discovery, may simply be shipping it far later than expected.
The device was held up by Microsoft as a preemptive strike against the iPad at CES in January but has lately been symbolic of the company's problems getting a widely appealing Windows tablet to market. Conditions may have worsened just today as ASUS may be switching to Android for one version of the Eee Pad. Windows 7 has been criticized by HP and others for being too demanding on the low-power hardware needed for a tablet, while Windows Embedded Compact 7 is new and lacks both the app catalog and familiarity of platforms like Android, iOS or even webOS. [via PCWorld]