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As expected, Hewlett-Packard has announced that it will start manufacturing tablets again, but instead of webOS these tablets will run Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 OS.

HP famously launched the webOS TouchPad tablet in July 2011 and then axed its whole Palm-based tablet and smartphone operation six weeks later. Consumers gobbled up the marked-down $99 TouchPads, but the company seemed like it was done with consumer tablets, at least for a spell. Now it will invest in tablets with the Windows 8 OS, which will likely appeal to consumers and businesses more than webOS did.

A few weeks back, an HP tablet running Windows 8 called the “Slate 8″ leaked on the web. That tablet reportedly is thinner than the newest iPad at 9.2mm thin and it will weigh .68 kilograms, feature a 10.1-inch display, and have battery life between 8 and 10 hours.

Windows 8 is due out later this year and is part of Microsoft’s strategy to find a middle ground between tablets and PCs — much in the same way Apple has done with its OS X and iOS. A near-complete Windows 8 build will be released in early June, but as of now the company has not announced an official launch date for the OS. We’ve heard later in this year’s third quarter is the most likely launch time because the OS would be able to take advantage of holiday sales.

Take a look at the document that was leaked a few weeks ago to get an idea of what HP’s first tablet will probably look like:


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