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HP Slate: On? Off? Delayed?

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HP still isn’t commenting officially on rumors that began last week about the end of the HP Slate. There’s lots of speculation out there that all sort of make sense. You know that HP can probably manage to put out a Windows based slate and an Android based slate, and a WebOS based slate, etc…

But word did filter through today of an internal memo that is passing around the halls of HP that puts a halt to development for the moment. Passed on to us (and others) from Sascha at Netbooknews.com, (who was one of the first to say the rumors of the HP Slate were not true), the gist of this communication says that internally development on the Slate is being halted for now, so that more focus can be given to providing a better user experience.

Given the HP acquisition of Palm and the stated “double down on WebOS” that makes logical sense. Until we hear officially from HP, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Warner Crocker is a professional theatre director, producer and playwright and also a Tablet PC enthusiast. He is also a Microsoft MVP for Tablet PCs. Send email to Warner. You can follow him on Twitter or Google+

13 Comments

  1. acerbic

    05/05/2010 at 5:10 pm

    The whole debacle is mostly proof of the sad, sad state of tech journalism: there’s a lot of interest but not one actual reporter who could get some answers from somebody at HP, only bloggers repeating or making up rumors.

  2. GFL

    05/05/2010 at 8:52 pm

    Does anyone REALLY care? Although hard core reviews haven’t been done yet, I’m confident that I know enough about this device to write it off. Although it’s easy to be biased after spending so much time with this other beautiful 9.7″ multi touch tablet (starts with an “i”)…I was always trying to be fair and open about what the Slate could offer me that I couldn’t get on the one from Cupertino. Before it even landed in anyones hands and got ugly initial reviews though, it was still simply running a bloated OS that was not designed from the ground up as a touch OS. I mean really…how much changed? Fatter, slower, less access to unique content…just all around a huge disappointment…and clearly a knee jerk reaction to rumors of an upcoming “magical” tablet…a rush to market. Then pull the plug on the only hope of an innovative. beautiful, unique touch UI, called Courier… Honestly, if I were HP, I’d pull the plug on the Slate.

    It’s got to be killing Ballmer that he can’t use an iPad. I wonder if he had someone buy one for him and he secretly uses it at home…

    • acerbic

      05/05/2010 at 11:06 pm

      It looks very much like the Apple cult members care the most, like a frigging gadget, a product, that seems to compete with their worshipped idol frightens and angers them so…

  3. batpox

    05/06/2010 at 6:32 am

    Here’s the conundrum (everyone take out your slide-rules): There just isn’t the combination of batteries, display devices and chips that will make a full-blown OS run smoothly in an iPad form factor. It’s no accident that Apple didn’t use OSX; it just wouldn’t work. The iPad is an upsized iPod that sips power at 2-3 W. A ‘real’ OS (Windows 7 or OSX) is going to pull at least twice that, and not be as responsive because it’s going to be on a downsized (ARM, Intel Atom, etc) chip.

    You could make an upsized Zune run WinCE on a ARM chip, but why would you?

    Windows 7 multi-touch works great on a tablet, but the weight is going to be more like 3 pounds at best. That being said, for real work I’d prefer this over the iPad anyway.

    And for e-reading I’d rather have the 10 oz Kindle over the 1.5 pound iPad. 1.5 pounds is too heavy for holding and reading.

    iPad is brilliant packaging and engineering for those who want to browse on WiFi and get email, and do lightweight work.

    • batpox

      05/07/2010 at 2:39 pm

      Hmmm. Hold the phone. With the just announced Atom Z6xx and some smart power management you might get this thing to be responsive with an embedded/stripped-down Windows 7 and be about 2 pounds.

      It wouldn’t have the 10 hours of the iPad (more like 5), but it would be a slate with a real OS on it. Perhaps an inductive charging base would help disguise the fewer hours.

      • Brett Gilbertson

        05/10/2010 at 1:25 am

        Good call batpox. My 2 cents:

        If the HP Slate had pen *as well as* touch, then you could certainly live without the claimed 10 hour battery life (as usual, 10 hours is a long stretch in real use).

        The benefits to note takers like professionals and executives would also beat down any dissatisfaction with Windows as a touch OS.

        The key things that have held tablets back are exposure and price. iPad has solved those 2 things at the expense of key features and sold a million.

        It’s not the OS, it’s the marketing. It always has been.

        • batpox

          05/10/2010 at 6:32 am

          Agreed, I wouldn’t want a tablet without the pen. I think anyone who has used OneNote or ArtRage on a tablet would not want to sacrifice the styluse for the multi-touch (but having both is nice).

  4. Virtuous

    05/06/2010 at 4:25 pm

    The HP Slate would have been a joke. The Slate would have been slow running Windows 7 with only 1 GB of RAM and a 4200 rpm hard drive.

  5. acerbic

    05/06/2010 at 5:31 pm

    It is very moving how wise and concerned all iFad fanbois are, so ready to give HP advice on what not to produce because nobody wants it.

    I don’t consider myself so smart that I could tell a big, grownup company like HP that nobody wants something they are planning to sell. I can only tell them what I want. I don’t want a webOS tablet but I’m not the least bit bothered if somebody else does, go ahead and make and sell them. I don’t mind if iFad cultists have theirs, heck, buy two or three of them if you like, but what the $#^%! is with you that you want to deny others their choice??? Are you commanded to proselytize your faith “I am the iFad your Tablet, thou shall have no other tablets before me”?

    BTW, HP Slate is specced to have an SSD, not a 4200 rpm hard drive.

  6. Mike

    05/07/2010 at 3:52 pm

    I too think win 7 on one of these slates would not do too great in the market. It would not perform well I think and get less than good battery life to boot.

    That being said, what is it that you guys think makes a “fully blown OS”?
    My question from seeing something like what the ipad runs or some of the other ‘dedicated’ OS on small devices is – What is it that the bloated OS on my desktop is doing that these are not?
    An OS really only needs to do a handful of things. Things which have been cleverly worked out over the last few decades. Things which have a lot of nuance as to how they are done for best effect. But still – just a handful of things.

    Finally – how do you both halt development and work to make some experience better simultaneously?
    What does that even mean?

    It is like saying I’m gonna stop working on restoring my old car so I can focus on getting its engine to run better.
    What!??!?!??!??!?!?!?!??!?!?!?

    • acerbic

      05/07/2010 at 4:01 pm

      “What is it that the bloated OS on my desktop is doing that these are not?”

      Print without jumping through ridiculous hoops, organize your files and move and copy them as you please, to name just a few…

      • Brett Gilbertson

        05/10/2010 at 3:04 am

        Good call acerbic… That OS on my Tablet PC also lets me do anything I want on 3G (not some cut price alternative), it multi-tasks, is my complete office wherever I am, it lets me watch and listen to any media that I have (without forcing me back to some half baked DRM conduit called iTunes) and best of all it recognizes my handwriting and lets me take notes.

        All not possible on the iPad which I also own and love in its own place… As much as it is a very cool slate, I could easily work without it, which I cannot say about my Tablet PC.

  7. Virtuous

    05/09/2010 at 7:14 pm

    Microsoft has a bad habit of showing off products that never make it to market. On the other hand Apple doesn’t talk about products until they’re almost ready to ship.

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