For Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad webOS tablet, which heads to market on Friday, doesn't mean the PC maker is dumping its support for Windows-based products. Well, actually, at a very specific cost: HP spent $1.2 billion last year to acquire Palm, which helped develop the TouchPad's slick software, WebOS.
The company avoided using Android at all costs. Indeed, a new article on Fast Company hints strongly that HP might have tablets that will have Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system inside.
The article quotes Phil McKinney, the president and CTO of HP's personal systems group, as saying flatly, "We don't do Android." But when asked about a possible Windows 8 based tablet McKinney dodges the question, saying, "I'm limited to what I can talk about with Windows 8. We're working very closely with [Microsoft], and I'm going to leave it at that or I'm going to start getting myself into trouble." He then adds that there is a Windows 7 based tablet from HP, the Slate 500, that is selling well. But when pressed again if that means there will be a Windows 8 tablet the article states that McKinney "literally offers no answer but wears a big grin and after a few moments lets out a loud laugh."
Any chance of a Windows 8 tablet, though? "We currently have a product shipping today called the Slate 500, and to be quite honest that product has been doing quite well," he says. "So that's a Windows 7 version, and then we'll have the TouchPad coming out [with WebOS]."
So is it safe to assume there'll also be a Windows 8 tablet? A long pause. McKinney literally offers no answer but wears a big grin and after a few moments lets out a loud laugh. The subject is changed, but his coy expression tells me a Windows 8-based HP tablet will likely come to market in addition to the WebOS-based TouchPad.
The article also quotes another HP VP, Richard Kerris, who states, "Because of our relationship with Microsoft, anything is possible. If we've a huge customer base that says we need a Windows 8 tablet, by all means, we'd listen." Any way you look at it it seems like there is something brewing at HP that might form some kind of Windows 8 based tablet product in the future.