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R.I.P. HP Slate & Microsoft Courier

by Travis Harvey | April 30, 2010April 30, 2010 2:16 am PST

Judging buy CES, previous Courier details, and Apple Tablet hype, this year was prepped for what many hoped would be a new form of mainstream touch computing that failed in years past.  Sure, we’d see a ton of knock offs that’d ultimately fail horribly as each company tries to ship their own tablet as quickly and cheaply as possible but there’d also be those worth considering from companies who know what they’re doing.  Unfortunately, two of the biggest potential players in the tablet race are headed back to the drawing board.

couriertouchYesterday, Microsoft’s VP of Corporate Communications had this to say about the Courier project Microsoft had been working on:

“At any given time, we’re looking at new ideas, investigating, testing, and incubated.  It’s in our DNA to develop new form factors and natural user interfaces to foster productivity and creativity.  The Courier project is an example of this type of effort.  It will be evaluated for use in future offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time.”

While this confirms there was actually some development going on behind closed doors, it also classifies what could have been an actual revolutionary tablet as vaporware.  Perhaps Microsoft’s working to bring some elements of the Courier to a new tablet, a new OS, or long-term storage.  In any case, we’re down one formidable tablet alternative.

Last night, TechCrunch reported that HP is also killing its tablet, the HP Slate.  What was supposed to ship mid 2010, TechCrunch hpslatetouchnow says won’t see the light of day.  Perhaps HP’s reasoning stemmed from the unfavorable early impressions or the fact that the company just announced its acquisition of Palm.  TechCrunch’s source explained that Windows 7 as a tablet operating system has left HP unsatisfied and looking for alternatives.  Beyond that, HP may end up adopting an Intel competitor for its future tablet internals based on their power hungry chipsets.  Hopefully we see a WebOS tablet rise from the HP Slate’s ashes?  One can only dream.

What do you think of Microsoft’s decision to declare the Courier dead?  Did HP make the right decision to reevaluate their tablet OS of choice?  Let us know what you think in the comments.