20 Comments

Summary:

The iPad is not the only slate that has been capturing attention lately, the HP Slate the company introduced at the CES in January has quite a few getting excited. It looks compelling, but HP has big shoes to fill since the introduction of the iPad.

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The iPad is not the only slate that has been capturing attention lately, the HP Slate the company introduced at the CES in January has quite a few getting excited. Another video of the HP Slate has appeared that shows off the nice form and makes a case for filling the gaps left by the iPad. Those gaps are mainly Abobe Flash in the browser and having Windows onboard. It looks pretty compelling, but HP has big shoes to fill since the introduction of the iPad.

HP will release the Slate later this year, and it is a touch-enabled tablet running Windows 7. The video demonstrates the user interface shell that HP is using to hide Windows 7 from the user, but we’ll have to see how successful this is. Microsoft tried the same approach with the Origami Experience, a touch shell for Windows that failed in the marketplace.

What users of the Project Origami UMPCs discovered was the same shortcomings that Windows Mobile owners dealt with for years — once you get past the touch interface and have to deal with the OS underpinnings, things fall apart quickly. The user ends up getting completely frustrated, as he or she leaves the comfort zone of the touch world and enters the big, bad non-touch OS. The HP Slate looks really nice and I can’t wait to see one, but it had better nail the interface.

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  1. I’m one of those who is really excited about the HP Slate, and a recent article on Engadget showed what was “supposedly leaked info” which says that it might have digitizer support.

    http://www.engadget.com/2010/04/05/hp-slate-to-cost-549-have-1-6ghz-atom-z530-5-hour-battery/

    If it does end up having some sort of pen based input, I might get it, and call it my tablet xD .

  2. Kevin C. Tofel Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    I’m definitely looking forward to the product when it lands, but I’m just not “wowed” yet. It seems very evolutionary and expected as compared to the 3 UMPCs I’ve owned. That doesn’t mean it will be a bad device, but I’m having a hard time getting jazzed for some reason. Maybe if I didn’t have the prior UMPC experiences, I’d feel differently.

    Would like to see a higher res screen for sure and I’m curious to see the user interface — how pervasive is it is what I want to see.

  3. “…the user interface shell that HP is using to hide Windows 7 …” -shudder- Every “shell” I have ever seen ultimately does exactly what you describe…it fails to provide a complete experience for the user. Regardless, I’ll remain hopeful and wait for the reviews :)

  4. Give me this device running Android on a Tegra 2 CPU and I’d be more interested – Basically the ICD Ultra/Gemini or Notion Ink Adam.

    Hopefully the iPad hasn’t sucked all the air out the room before these devices make it to the market.

  5. Let’s see, 20% larger battery but has half the run time? They need to work on that for sure. I’ve been demoing the iPad heavily but so far I’ve yet to have it go flat and that has been amazing. Every time I’d get a new Windows slate/UMPC I’d have to be tactical in planning the locations of recharges during demo days. I’m also curious to see if HP can get the gorgeous IPS panel the iPad has. You really can read ebooks with the sun coming in the bus’ window! The Kindle DX, Nook and Sony Reader are all now officially retired.

    1. Read your last line and chuckled — sold my Kindle2 just last night.

    2. Re: the display. I see it is 1024×600 and that’s no good for me. That 600 is too small for web work. It’s the biggest complaint I have with most netbooks. The 768 on the iPad makes a big difference.

      1. I think the other half of the equation — and maybe even more important than screen size — is how the browser uses those pixels. If the iPad was only 1024 x 600, it would still offer a solid experience because the mobile browser intelligently zooms and/or fits the full screen. If not, the iPhone would be a terrible web surfing device — and it’s not. I’d be curious to see a ported mobile browser on a 1024 x 600 netbook — betting it would be more useful than the desktop version provided the touch controls worked well.

      2. Rumor has it that HP might just offer the Broadcom hardware video accelerator alongside the HD screen option to go with it. Pair that with a N470 and you have a pretty kick-ass slate, even more so if it supports handwriting recognition out-of-the-box with Windows 7.

        I’ve said for years that 1024×600 was inadequate for serious productivity – folks who say they’re friends with the F11 key are just ignoring the obvious. You need at least 1280×800 to run any decent Windows software, get full menus/pop-ups to work, and of course enjoy 720p video. It’s the one reason why I’ve stuck by my 2133 netbook for so long, and have only this year looked at a Win7/N470 upgrade.

      3. @Lucious
        According to Engadget’s leaked specs, this thing isn’t going to sport a Poulsbo Z series CPU and quite probably a GMA500 graphics chipset. Hardware-wise this isn’t that different from the Viliv slates and convertables that have been on the market for a while. I have a Viliv S5 and I’ve wanted a size upgrade to a larger device for a while, but I am really not sure this is the device…

  6. Uncle Bernie Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    This is strictly for losers who love widows products.

  7. I’d have to agree with Kevin Tofel. It’s amazing, but needs some more “wow”.

  8. Mickey Segal Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    If you could use either a pen or multitouch it would be fine to have regular Windows because that would allow you to dock the slate and use it as a real computer at your desk.

    I’d prefer a refreshed and lighter Motion LS800 to an iPad. The only feature of the iPad that sounds really attractive to me is 10 hours of battery life. The extra vertical pixels are less attractive to me than a smaller width, that make the HP slate easier to carry in a jacket pocket.

    I’m still hoping that the rumors are true that Apple will release a real Macintosh-like slate in this form factor, but I’d still prefer a slightly smaller form factor to make it more mobile.

  9. And amazingly, what I don’t like about the iPad is the mobile browser! Drives me crazy to see sites rendered differently than I usually see them.

    But I agree with James about the 1024×600 display. It’s OK for my netbook (and yes, I’m friends with the F11 key). Samsung implemented some workarounds in the display for the issue, but for a few pixels more…

    While the iPad has simplicity on its side, I admit I want a “real” computer in my hands, instead of making do with an “app for that.”

  10. But Windows 7 Home Premium and above is anything but a big bad non touch OS! There are plenty of enhancements in the system to allow the user to work with the non touch optimized applications that the user would want to use on a Windows 7 PC.

    I just hope that HP remembers to perform the tweaks that make Win7 a better touch only experience. ie. Enlarge the scroll bars, enlarge the control boxes, enable the touch pointer (not everyone seems to like that but it’s indispensable for me), enable single finger panning (since it’s a multitouch screen)

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