Do you find yourself utterly unimpressed with Apple's iPad, yet intrigued by the prospect of handheld tablets? Perhaps HP's Slate is everything you hoped the iPad would ultimately be, but isn't. That appears to be the message HP is trying to send with its latest video and blog post showcasing their upcoming tablet.
"Think about the last time you chatted with friends over Skype on your notebook," HP writes. "Or uploaded a picture from your mobile phone to Facebook or Flickr. How about the last time you viewed images or video from an SD card or a USB device. We know that you expect to be able to capture and share digital content on your mobile devices. And the HP slate device excels there."
HP went on to say that they're putting a lot of thought into the Slate's design so that the end product delivers an optimal mobile experience, and from the short 30-second video, it appears they're well on track. Powered by Windows 7 and equipped with a built-in camera, HP's video shows the Slate recording video, taking a conference call in Skype, swallowing a 16GB memory card into its side, and even streaming content to a big screen TV. And Flash? It does that too.
Still no word on price or release date, but we're hoping for 'competitive' and 'soon.'
Could this really be the iPad killer HP is hoping for? Hit the jump and post your impressions.
Apple has delayed the shipment dates of three iPad accessories, including the Keyboard Dock and the 10W USB power adapter. Both of them will not ship along with the iPad on April 3 but about a month later in May. The third accessory to be affected is the iPad case, which will arrive sometime during April. The regular dock and the dock connector to VGA adapter are the only accessories that will be available on launch day. There has been no official clarification on the reasons behind the delay. One can only speculate that pre-orders may have outstripped the company's expectations. It is also likely that only the affected accessories are in short supply.
As if there was a dearth of excuses to further divide an already compartmentalized planet of ours, the iPad has driven another wedge between Apple loyalists and the rest of the world. The iPad is arguably yet another milestone in the art of hyping products, if not a groundbreaking product. But the hype just might be on the wane. According to a self-styled Apple analyst from Venezuela, pre-orders for the iPad declined drastically over the weekend.
Daniel Tello (aka, Deagol) has an uncanny knack of making accurate financial predictions when it comes to Apple. Earlier, Deagol and some other members of the Investor Village's AAPL Sanity board had estimated that the number of of pre-orders on Friday – the day Apple began accepting them – was around 120,000, with an initial rate of around 25,000 orders per hour. Now, Deagol's latest estimates show that the rate has slowed down to 1,000 per hour. He expects Apple to receive approximately half a million pre-orders for the iPad in the lead up to its launch on April 3.
"My best guess, although very tentative given the early stage and few data we have so far, would be that they hit the 1 million unit milestone by the second week after it ships," Deagol told Fortune. "But this is a very speculative guesstimate based on just a weekend of pre-orders." All said, Deagol's formula may or may not be right this time.
The HP Slate’s resemblance to Apple’s iPad looks to be no more than skin deep. Sure, the two devices do basically do the same thing, but Slate looks to offer a bit more potential, if the HP/Abode promotional videos are to believed, with Windows 7 and Flash support.
The tiff between Apple and Adobe raises some key concern about the quality of the Flash application. Sure, it drives a lot of content on the web, but at what cost to hardware? One, it appears, Apple doesn’t want to bear (and thus has hitched it’s wagon to HTML5). Adobe, understandably, doesn’t want to give up its content delivery hegemony on the Internet. Touting the amount of Flash content on the web, and demonstrating it can be used, and used without troublesome hardware consequences, is a good move to negate any bad public relations emerging from Apple’s very public stance.
Adobe may be stacking the deck in its presentation, however. According to Engadget, “Flash is said to be hardware-accelerated on the Slate, which suggests something other than a bone-stock Atom setup in there--we'd guess it's an Atom plus a Broadcom Crystal HD Accelerator”. How much of an impact this has is open to discussion, but it suggests that non-accelerated versions may move slower. Could Adobe’s approach later backfire, when users of other tablet devices don’t get this promised level of performance?
How well Apple’s Flash strategy plays out will be known shortly--if the iPad not just sells, but satisfies, then Apple made the right bet (for its customer base). We’ll have to wait and see later this year, when it is expected HP will release the Slate, whether Flash means all that much to consumers.
Most would agree that Apple priced its iPad lower than what anyone was expecting, but it still might have a tough time competing with rival tablet makers. That especially includes HP, which according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, is planning to "tweak prices and features" on its upcoming Slate and effectively undercut Apple.
Citing an un-named source, the WSJ says HP has discussed selling a version of the Slate similar to the iPad with 3G for less than Apple's $629 asking price. But HP isn't the only one keeping an eye on Apple.
"For us, the iPad launch is a benchmark," said Mike Abary, a vice president in Sony's Vaio PC division.
According to Abary, Sony is watching how the iPad does and is considering what new devices of its own to develop. So is Acer, who continues to look at the "tweener category" -- the space occupied between a smartphone and a laptop -- and is seriously mulling its own iPad equivalent.
Till now, Amazon has enjoyed a smooth ride in the e-book reader market. But it is now bracing itself for a series of tight corners and bumps. Its Kindle e-reader is bound to come under pressure from the iPad and a slew of other slates and e-readers. It is said to have acquired a New York-based company named Touchco.
The company it has acquired specializes in touchscreen technology, according to the New York Times. Its flagship technology is something called interpolating force-sensitive resistance, which it uses to produce transparent touch screens for around $10 per square foot – much cheaper than competing technologies. Amazon remains mum on the acquisition.
Apple is busy touting the iPad as an avant-garde device, the first of its kind. But it is clearly something that even the most impassioned Apple devotee will have difficulty digesting. It may not be revolutionary, but there is little gainsaying the fact that it will soon be spearheading a procession of tablets. Should the iPad be a resounding success, the procession then will be made up of potential iPad-killers.
One of the potential participants has already announced their interest. Nobuyuki Oneda, Sony's CFO, is “confident we have the skills to create a product” to match or outstrip the iPad. "Time-wise we are a little behind the iPad but it's a space we would like to be an active player in,” Oneda said at a Tokyo news conference. The iPad is also being considered a potent threat to the e-book reader market, where Sony is present with its own offerings. But Oneda dismissed the existence of any such threat. He did not say whether such a tablet is already in the works or not.
We know you're anxious to learn all about Apple's upcoming tablet, and you will, but not until tomorrow morning when Steve Jobs plans to announce "a major new product that we're really excited about." So even though it might be pretty poor timing on HP's part, there's a new video making the rounds on the Web in which Phil McKinney, CTO of HP's Personal Systems Group, answers a few questions about his company's upcoming HP Slate.
Most of the video deals with the Slate's background and history, and we learn that HP first began working the tablet concept five years ago "around the concept of an e-reader platform." Based in part on user feedback requesting rich media content, the initial concept evolved into the Slate, McKinney says.
"What we predict is that users are looking for that consolidated device, that one device that they can use really as their ultimate content consumption experience," McKinney explains. "And also we saw this gap in the marketplace north of kind of what a smartphone was and smaller than the netbook and notebook. They wanted something thin and light, but again, allowing them to have that rich media experience."
According to McKinney, the Slate will be every bit as good as the current e-book readers on the market, but also capable of a whole lot more. What he didn't say, however, is what kind of hardware you can expect, though he did describe 2010 as the optimal year for the Slate because of a "perfect storm of innovation" consisting of a convergence of "low cost, low power processors, Win 7 with an operating system that is touch aware, the ability to create these kind of platforms with new kinds of touch technologies and hit that price point."
Just when you thought that you had seen the last of the iPhone killers another one popped out from nowhere. But the threshold of banality has been reached and, thankfully, people's tolerance of prospective iPhone killers is now close to nil – the Nexus One being the only exception. The stage is now all set for a breathtaking tablet or two to take the limelight away from all other gadgets.
According to the venerable New York Times, Microsoft will try and conquer the vacant stage with a tablet of its own at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, effectively beating Apple to the tablet-announcing punch.
Motion Computing may not have went entirely back to the drawing board, but it did offer some groovy updates to its rugged C5 and F5 tablet PCs. Motion also said its making its redesigned PCs available for use on the Verizon Wireless mobile broadband network.
"Motion Computing is recognized for solutions that improve productivity for highly mobile users by creating devices that are designed to work the way the users do," said Anthony A. Lewis, vice president of open development at Verizon Wireless. "Now with anytime access to the Verizon Wireless network, Motion tablet users, from hospitals to construction sites, can be more productive when away from the office."
The redesigned specs of the two tablets now include 801.11a/g/n, an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, a 64GB solid state drive (SSD), and longer battery life. Motion has also made available an external battery charger. Full specs for the C5 and F5 can be found here and here, respectively.
Both tablets are available now with the C5 starting at around $2,200 and the F5 at $2,800.