Rumors are circulating that the Android-based tablet from Hewlett-Packard has been postponed. Put in context with the purchase of Palm and the commitment to deliver a WebOS tablet, "postponed" is probably just a fuzzy way of saying it will never enter production.
Like virtually every other tech company out there, HP started off the year intent on following in Apple's footsteps and joining the tablet revolution. It seems that HP started with an approach of exploring a variety of platform options, and has whittled it down over time -- not so coincidentally settling on WebOS after investing in the Palm intellectual property.
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John Paczkowski states in an All Things Digital blog post that "Sources in position to know tell me that HP's Android slate has been delayed and won't ship before the end of the year as planned." Using terms like delayed, shelved, tabled, or postponed leaves the door open for HP to dust off the Android tablet plans if it encounters obstacles with WebOS as a tablet platform -- but odds are good that HP would prefer to stick with WebOS and pull the plug on Android.
When I suggested that the announcement of an Android-based tablet from LG meant that LG had abandoned the Windows 7-based UX10 concept it recently displayed at Computex, some readers felt compelled to let me know I am wrong and that LG plans to launch both the Android tablet, and the Windows 7 tablet.
However, a source from within LG e-mailed me to say, "The Windows 7 tablet was always sort of a concept exercise and should never have gone public at Microsoft's stand at Computex. As you can imagine, Microsoft was very eager to show off this device even though it has never been green-lighted for production at LG." The source went on to add "Can't say much more, but take it from me -- your article is dead-on."
I am going to go out on a similar limb here and predict that the HP Android tablet is not "shelved" but canceled. HP owns the WebOS platform now, which is very capable, and in some ways arguably superior to both Android and iOS. It would be silly for HP to waste research and development effort designing a second tablet that would compete with its own platform.
There have been on-again, off-again rumors that the Windows 7-based Slate has been killed as well, but it does seem that HP is still planning to pursue the Slate -- or something like it. The commitment to Windows 7 may be a function of loyalty to the long-standing partnership HP has with Microsoft.
However, like LG, it seems HP has come to the realization that the tablet revolution is about more than squeezing a netbook into a touchscreen, flat-panel form factor, and that perhaps Windows 7 is not the proper OS to get the job done.