HP has been talking about making all sorts of tablets for delivery later this year, but one by one they seem to be fading away. The newest apparent victim is Android. Sources within the company say that plans for an Android tablet in the fourth quarter have been scrapped. Instead, HP may be directing more effort towards a rumored webOS slate.
HP acquired Palm a few months back, and said they would be “doubling down” on webOS. If there's a place to really make an impact with the Palm technology, it may be tablets. In a few month's time, Android tablets may be a dime a dozen. Making webOS into a viable tablet platform could have long term benefits.
With the lack of definitive news regarding the HP Slate running Windows 7, it looks like HP is trying to narrow their focus. If they're going to keep the iPad from owning the market, that might be a good idea. What OS do you want to see on a tablet? Android, Windows 7, or webOS?
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?
More details may have leaked out regarding the upcoming HP Slate. Spanish site Clipset appears to have gotten pricing information from HP itself pointing to a €400 price. That converts to $546, but direct conversions rarely hold up. In fact, it is possible the HP Slate may come in under the price of the entry level iPad.
The HP Slate is expected to be and Atom-based device running Windows 7. As such, there will be Flash support, a memory card reader, a web cam, and USB connectivity. It is basically has all the things people wanted the iPad to have; we’ll have to see how successful that combination really is. The official launch should happen sometime in June, with retail availability by late summer in Europe. Hopefully that means an earlier launch in the US.