Yesterday, we talked about HP’s plans for slates and other devices running the newly acquired Palm webOS platform. What we didn’t know is that, allegedly, HP has gone ahead and canned the Windows 7-powered slate Steve Ballmer demonstrated at CES in January. So says TechCrunch, quoting a "source who’s been briefed on the matter."
TechCrunch says HP may have gone so far as to rule out the use of Intel hardware altogether for its slate devices—simply because "it’s too power hungry." (Naturally, the lack of an Intel processor pretty much rules out any full-featured edition of Windows.)
Now that HP has webOS in its grasp, redesigning the slate’s internals around some sort of ARM microprocessor core seems like a given. According to Wikipedia, Palm’s Pre—the flagship webOS device—has a system-on-a-chip with an ARM Cortex A8 microprocessor core and PowerVR SGX integrated graphics. Coincidentally, the Apple A4 chip that powers the iPad also happens to have a Cortex A8 and PowerVR SGX GPU. Apple claims up to 10 hours of battery life for the device, which might not be all that difficult for HP to match using a similar form factor and similar internals.
Considering HP remains the world’s top PC vendor, dropping Windows 7 from its slate device could hurt Microsoft’s chances in that market—especially since some other companies, including Asus, are cooking up tablets based on Google’s Android platform. With Windows marginalized, hardware makers might have less of an incentive to opt for Intel’s Atom chips instead of ARM-derived SoCs, as well.