First there was suspense over the status of HP’s Slate 500 Windows 7 tablet, with many fearing that the device might never see the light of day owing to the PC vendor’s acquisition of Palm, now that it is actually available for order from HP’s website there is confusion on when the company will begin shipping the device. While there are reports of pre-orderers being notified about a delay of 10-15 business days in shipment of their orders, the order status page seems to indicate a much smaller delay. The slate was originally expected to arrive on November 12.
“Due to high demand on the portable system you have selected we will not be able to fulfill the order from on hand stock, therefore we have routed your order to manufacturing for your product to be built. The average lead time to get these portables ready to ship may vary from 10 to 15 business days,” reads an email the company sent to one of the pre-orderers.
This has fueled a lot of speculation, with different blogs positing different theories to explain the delay. GottaBeMobile is blaming the delay on an unexpected bug that requires a full reboot, whereas SlashGear feels HP “may have hedged their bets with Slate 500 stock and planned to manufacture on-demand rather than face a mountain of unsold units.”
When Hewlett-Packard bought Palm earlier this year, it looked like the final nail in the coffin of the Windows 7 tablet it had trotted out in January. The company was now on the horns of a dilemma, torn between WebOS and Windows 7. The world’s leading PC maker eventually chose to accommodate the Windows 7-based Slate 500 in its WebOS-dominated tablet plans, albeit only as a business-oriented product.
The back-from-the-dead Slate 500 is now available for preorder. The 8.9-inch device features a 1.86GHz Intel Atom Z540 processor, a 64GB SSD, 2GB of RAM, a 3MP camera on the back, one front-facing VGA camera, and a Broadcom graphics accelerator. The Slate 500 sports a $799 price tag.
HP has always maintained that it bought Palm for its intellectual property and not because it wanted to be in the smartphone business. Talking of IP, WebOS is arguably Palm's most valuable asset. The PC maker sees WebOS being used extensively across its portfolio of small form factor devices. A tablet running WebOS is also in the pipeline.
The company has already stated that there will be no conflict between its Windows and WebOS tablets as the former will be confined to the enterprise market. On the other hand, the WebOS-based tablet will vie with tablets like the iPad for a piece of the consumer tablet market.
HP's Windows 7-based Slate is dead and buried, right? That's what we thought too, but if the project is truly dead, HP didn't bury it very deep. Some astute grave diggers over at IDG News dug up what we used to know as the HP Slate and now dubbed "Slate 500."
Perhaps HP just hasn't gotten around to updating its website yet, but if you go here and scroll down, you'll see several HP Slate 500 models about halfway down the page (we counted eight different SKUs). And that isn't the only place the Slate 500 appears. Apparently the thing's been Energy Star certified (see here).
Falling in line with earlier speculation about the hardware, the Windows 7-based Slate 500 is listed as an 8.9-inch tablet sporting an Intel processor clocked at 1.6GHz, 1GB of system memory, and both a front-facing and rear-mounted camera.
We'll update this as we find out more, but if this was a Myth Busters episode, we'd have to label the chances of the Slate 500 and recently announced PalmPad co-existing as "plausible."