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Mystery HP tablet pops up in ad for second time in three weeks

The device has a different rear design than anything the company has launched so far, but that doesn't mean it exists and will eventually launch.

Is this HP's next tablet?
Is this HP's next tablet? HP

Is Hewlett-Packard quietly showing off a new tablet it plans to launch in the coming months?

For the second time in three weeks, a tablet has cropped up in a company ad that doesn't appear to be any of the slates it has already launched. This time around, the tablet is shown in a "Make It Matter" section of the company's site. A doctor at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Stanford is holding the mystery device. We can only see the back of it in the picture.

The tablet appears to have the same design as a slate that quietly made an appearance in a commercial HP uploaded to YouTube last month. Once again, all users could see was the back of the tablet.

The appearance of the tablet, of course, has sparked controversy over what it might be. It's possible that it's a non-working mockup that HP is only using to illustrate its presence in the tablet market. It might also be the next tablet the company plans to launch.

Last week, a source familiar with the company's plans told CNET that HP is working on a Windows 8 tablet running Intel's Clover Trail system-on-a-chip. That device is expected to launch on October 26, along with several other slates running Microsoft's upcoming operating system.

That HP is thinking about launching new tablets isn't much of a surprise. The company currently sells the HP Slate 2, which retails from $699 to $969, depending on the version customers are after. The Slate 2 is targeted at the enterprise.

CNET has contacted HP for comment on the tablet. We will update this story when we have more information.

(Via Engadget)