HP is officially the king of sending mixed signals. Despite meek sales and mixed impressions about Windows 7 tablets, the company has decided to refresh its year-old business offering, the Slate 500. Now called the Slate 2, it sheds the 1.87GHz Atom Z540 for the 1.5GHz Z670, which has a .5W higher thermal design power but carries an on-die graphics core and memory controller, so there should be power savings.
The Verge says it's supposed to withstand about six hours of usage, substantially better than the two hours claimed by its predecessor. The revamped slate also gets a snappier 64GB mSATA drive, a TPM chip for security, a new Bluetooth keyboard dock and a flat black cover. There doesn't appear to be many other hardware changes. Software-wise, the Slate 2 has received a Swype keyboard -- possibly a first for a Windows tablet.
To accompany those minor tweaks, HP has also cut the price by $100 to $699. We're not sure what that'll accomplish, but in conjunction with the power savings, perhaps it's the nudge corporate customers need to open their wallets this holiday season. HP supposedly has plans for Windows 8-based slates when the time comes and we assumed the company would lay low until it was ready to unveil its next major effort.
The PC maker has endured plenty of negative press in the last year following a string of confusing decisions. The company bought Palm for $1.2 billion last April with plans to utilize the ailing handset-maker's innovative mobile operating system for webOS-based smartphones, tablets, printers and more. Some of those projects came to fruition -- namely the 9.7-inch TouchPad -- but webOS' future is currently unknown.
In mid-August, the company announced it would cease existing webOS developments and begin liquidating its TouchPad tablets, saying it would continue exploring options to "optimize the value of webOS software." Alongside that news, the company revealed it would purchase software firm Autonomy Corp. for a massive $10.2 billion and that it was contemplating the possibility of selling its consumer PC business.
A month later, HP's board ousted former CEO Leo Apotheker and handed the reins to former eBay chief Meg Whitman, who has attempted to bring stability and focus to the company. Since Whitman's arrival, HP has denied that it would completely axe its webOS division -- though the TouchPad is still being flushed. She has also retracted plans to spin off HP's Personal Systems Group and vowed to minimize future acquisitions.