Well, well, seems Apple wasn’t the only company showing off their flashy slate this weekend. HP managed to sneak a couple of videos into their YouTube channel as well. The first is a demo of Adobe Flash and AIR on the slate running Windows 7. The second, uh, reminds me of something else I’ve seen recently.
So let me get the grumbling out of the way: I am never going to like cursor control and scrollbars on a touchscreen interface. Throughout the whole Flash demo, all I could see were slightly askew cursors, loathsome scrollbars, and other desktop-specific UI elements. Popping the Windows 7 TIP manually was a clear sign that text boxes in Flash still won’t be automatically recognized as text boxes.
That said, like what we’ve seen for the iPad, these video demos should impress folks who don’t know tablets. Sadly, this could lead inexperienced users to discover for themselves the pitfalls of running desktop-designed apps on a tablet. It looks like HP will be offering a custom app launcher for easy access to apps and perhaps a custom version of Firefox which hopefully is pre-loaded with add-ons like Grab & Drag to make it decent for tablet web browsing.
However, it doesn’t look like this slate completely avoids the issues we Tablet PC users have seen for years. I suspect the excitement for a slate that runs Flash will fizzle as users discover that their favorite Flash apps work great when they have a mouse (or active digitizer) for cursor control but not so well without it. The silver lining is this may force HP and others to finally get serious about tablet-specific app development. Perhaps an updated version of Ink Crossword.