HP to try a $99 tablet again?

It's not exactly impossible for Hewlett-Packard to do a $99 tablet, as Digitimes reported. The HP Slate 7 is very close already.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
The HP Slate 7: It's already going for $139.99 so a future $99 tablet isn't unthinkable.
The HP Slate 7: It's already going for $139.99 so a future $99 tablet isn't unthinkable. Hewlett-Packard

Hewlett-Packard unintentionally pioneered the ultra-cheap tablet when it fire-sold the TouchPad for $99 back in the summer of 2011. HP may be ready to do it again.

HP will launch a $99 tablet in cooperation with Wal-Mart in time for the back-to-school shopping, Digitimes reported Wednesday, citing Asia-based suppliers.

Here's what the Taipei-based publication said.

The US$99 tablet is manufactured by China-based BYD and is the second tablet that HP has outsourced to the China-based maker. The device adopts a 7-inch touch panel and Intel's Medfield-based single-core processor.

If true, it's plausible that HP could hit that price point. BYD is considered a very-low-cost manufacturer and it already makes HP's Slate 7.

That tablet is now selling for a mere $139.99. So, with a modest redesign, HP could theoretically get a similar device down to $99.99 -- only $40 less than the Slate 7.

While HP said it does not comment on rumors, a spokeswoman did say this: "We look forward to expanding our tablet portfolio later this year with additional technologies, sizes, and operating systems to meet our customers' needs."

And remember, this wouldn't even be the first HP $99 tablet. After the company killed the TouchPad in the summer of 2011, an HP-sanctioned $99 fire sale ensued. Needless to say, the tablet sold out quickly.

Watch this: Does the HP Slate 7 undercut the Nexus 7 enough to justify your interest?