No one has seen much of the HP Slate until now. The ten seconds Steve Ballmer fumbled with it at CES 2010 don't really count as a debut, but someone at Conecti.ca has finally spent some real time with the device. Conecti.ca managed a quick hands-on and review. The verdict is a decidedly ambivalent one. Certainly not the response HP would have liked for their supposed iPad killer.
The HP Slate is a keyboardless touchscreen tablet with an 8.9-inch screen that rocks an Atom CPU. In every way that matters, it's a netbook without a keyboard. This is often cited as a strength, but the reviewers point out that it's also the Slate's biggest weakness. While it runs Flash and any Windows app you care to use, the touch interface on Windows 7 makes the device hard to use. HP has made a special finger-friendly graphical front-end, but much of the device's functionality is lost in it. The device also has a dock with HDMI, USB ports, and a kickstand.
It's unlikely this first salvo will sink the unicorn pad, and we're not sure it needs to be sunk. There's still a lot to learn about the new tablet market. Would you consider purchasing the HP Slate? If not, what would you need to see in a tablet to convince you?