HP Slate Confirmed As Real, But Will Ship First To Enterprise

And with that, the mystery is solved. Well, at least we think the mystery is solved. This story goes a long way back, all the way to CES 2010. At that show, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer came out onto a stage with an HP-branded tablet PC, which was simply called the "HP Slate" at the time. But then, no one saw or heard from it again. As the months passed, the iPad soared in popularity and just about every other computer maker announced a slate or two, HP remained quiet.

And then HP purchased Palm. People immediately began to suspect that the HP Slate was being delayed in order to get WebOS (Palm's mobile operating system) onto the device, which would make it the first WebOS Slate in existence. Eventually, HP did decide to speak out about the product, and rumors began to fly that it would eventually ship with Windows 7, that it would be killed completely, or that it would once again resurface as a WebOS-equipped product.

Now, the truth has finally been revealed. During an interview with Fortune this week, HP Personal Systems Group VP Todd Bradley stated that the Slate we have all been wondering about will be "more customer-specific than broadly deployed" and that HP would begin shipping the Microsoft-equipped (which means Windows 7, we suspect) product to enterprise customers in the fall. So, there's good news and bad news here. The good news is that the HP Slate lives, but the bad news is that it may never actually be sold to mere consumers. It's strange to think that HP would announce the Slate at a consumer electronics show, only to convert it into an enterprise device once they have our attention. But who knows; maybe the Slate with Windows 7 became the enterprise slate once WebOS was picked up via Palm. So now, we wait for a WebOS tablet for the consumer, right? Here's hoping...