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More HP Slate on Video — Looks Good

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The iPad (s aapl) 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 (s adbe) in the browser and having Windows (s msft) onboard. It looks pretty compelling, but HP has big shoes to fill since the introduction of the iPad.

HP (s hpq) 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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20 Responses to “More HP Slate on Video — Looks Good”

  1. Dennisvjames

    If they screw this up…

    I have not been all that impressed with their pcs over the last couple of years so my confidence that the motion part of this will work properly is pretty low.

    Now if Lenovo brought out something like this I would believe them.

  2. spinedoc

    Very excited about this device. I guess I officially qualify for geek status as I don’t mind the Windows 7 “underpinnings” in the least, in fact preferring to have advanced features and programs available to me. I think having the underpinnings show on something like Windows Mobile was an achilles heel because the screen was so small, but on a larger screen like the slate it won;t be quite so much of an issue.

    The issue, and it will always be the issue, is dumbing down the interface. This is pretty much what it boils down to, and is the reason for the iphone and ipads success. The ipad is much too dumbed down. If it was the best ebook reader it would have no backlight, no glare, and be readable in daylight, but it doesn’t. If it was a gaming device it would have hardware buttons, but it doesn’t. At the heart of it, it really is just an iphone with a huge screen, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but and compulsion to carry the ipad AND my iphone is weak at best. Everytime I get lulled into considering the ipad, I keep thinking about the slate, which is a TRUE replacement to my laptop. With the ipad I still have to carry my laptop around with me and my phone, thats 3 devices.

    Now for the slate to succeed, besides the interface, they have to get 2 things right. 1) the battery life is crucial, the 10 hours on the ipad is simply amazing and should be the minimum for a device of this type. Win7 versus iphone OS means a huge power disparity, but that’s HP’s problem to figure out. Without this all day battery life consumers are going to keep walking. 2) Screen: the glass screen on the ipad is pretty amazing technology, and I will never ever go back to a plasticky screen.

    • “the battery life is crucial, the 10 hours on the ipad is simply amazing and should be the minimum for a device of this type. Win7 versus iphone OS means a huge power disparity, but that’s HP’s problem to figure out. Without this all day battery life consumers are going to keep walking.”

      Early word is a five hour run-time. But I’m not yet convinced that’s a problem because it’s not the kind of device people will use all day. For most, it’s a supplemental screen for use here and there during the day. Sure, some of us might try to make it a primary computing device, but that’s not the intent. Obviously, I’d like to see as much runtime as possible with a big honkin’ battery, but if the slate can do five hours, it might be good enough for what it’s intended for.

      • spinedoc

        5 hours is very nice. Let’s hope 5 hours is 5 hours, as I’ve purchased many a laptop and have never seen a single one of them get the “reported” battery life under normal useage. Kudos to Apple for underreporting their battery life on the ipad.

        Come on HP, don’t pull a Microsoft and wait too long to release this!!

  3. Actually Flash and Windows are the most disappointing things about the HP Slate. As another poster suggested, even Android would be a preferable OS option at this point.

  4. 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)

  5. Pam T.

    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.”

  6. 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.

  7. Scotty

    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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • Yuri Andropov

        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…

  8. 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.


    “…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 :)

  10. 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.