It's official -- or so it seems. HP will be, after much speculation to the contrary, moving forward with a Windows 7-based tablet.
An HP rep told TechNewsWorld that the company has begun "customer evaluation" of a Windows 7 tablet, after the Internet began buzzing with rumors that a tablet appeared this week on HP's Web site.
"The only thing we're putting on the record right now is that we're in customer evaluation with the Windows-based Slate right now," HP spokesperson Marlene Somsak told TechNewsWorld.
The rep, however, wouldn't confirm if it would be the WIndows 7 Slate that was unveiled in January but reportedly later killed. "We'll make a decision based on that evaluation," Somsak told TechNewsWorld.
The Slate 500, which was revealed in January at the Consumer Electronics Show, was planned to be a touchscreen device that would run WIndows 7 premium, have two cameras and a stylus.
The product was briefly listed on HP's specs page, but has since been removed. A screenshot of the cached copy of the page [seen below] describing the product says: "No matter where you are or what kind of fun you’re in the mood for, the HP Slate 500 is all you need. Exclusive HP software gives you access to photos, videos and everything on the Internet with just a touch, while Windows® 7 Premium gives you the power to do what you want. The unique design and 22.6 cm (8.9") screen put the full Internet in your hands, while two cameras (video and still) let you capture life as it happens or participate in web conferencing. Adjust the screen orientation to fit your content and use the pen to write or draw as if on a piece of paper. Whatever you want to do, the HP Slate 500 helps you do it – and makes it more fun too."
HP is also working on a tablet based on webOS and perhaps yet another that would run Android. HP took ownership of webOS, when it acquired Palm earlier this year -- but after the unveiling of the Windows 7 Slate. HP applied for a trademark for the word "PalmPad" July 9, perhaps signaling the webOS tablet will bear that name.