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HP CTO explains why they didn’t release a slate earlier



Warner grabbed some choice quotes earlier from Fortune’s look at tablets. But one that really grabbed me was from HP chief technology officer Phil McKinney responding to questions about their reaction to iPad and why they didn’t release a slate before Apple.

“If we had come out a few years back with a slate, the price would have been between $1,200 and $1,500. It would have been a very niche-y product.”

See, IF HP had released their own slate a few years back, it would have been too expensive and too niche. That’s why they have not already released a slate tablet. IF they did, McKinney would be citing experience and not be speaking entirely in hypothetical terms. And besides, IF HP had released a slate that runs Windows and Flash, surely everyone would know about it and not waste time trying to analyze the novel on-screen keyboard and cursor ripple effects from the new slate’s demo video.

McKinney added:

“We don’t time our announcements relative to any of our competitors. We have had this road map for five years, and we are sticking with it.”

That’s right. Innovation takes time, people. You can’t rush it. Or build towards it with incremental improvements on a revered design discontinued five years ago that has been described as “innovative and unique in a market comprised largely of products that were all essentially timid me-too offerings.” It must start from nothing, or at least that’s the impression everyone from McKinney to Bill Gates seems to be emphasizing with this new era of tablets. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to wash my brain. Seems to be sludged up with memories of things that must not have happened.



  1. Dan

    03/11/2010 at 11:42 am

    LOL…HP seems to want to forget their history? Was the TC1100 that bad?

    ‘Gee wiz mister’, and Lenovo decided that it needed to go on YouTube to set the record straight on exactly who had a tablet and when, eh?

    I suppose with IBM taking the credit for a tablet in the early 1990’s and Apple taking the credit for ‘really’ inventing it here in 2010, there was no real room for anythign HP has ever done…

    I’ll have to send a text to my son to see if the TC1100 I loaned him for college is still there or if it disappeared into thin air.


  2. Paul Harrigan

    03/11/2010 at 11:43 am

    Yes, and if they did, no one would be commenting on the innovative way the slate plugs into a keyboard and folds like a notebook.

    Oh yeah, that must have been a dream too!

  3. Paul Harrigan

    03/11/2010 at 11:44 am

    Of course, this may be a dream too, since HP shows this prototype but never announces a ship date!

  4. Mike

    03/11/2010 at 1:26 pm

    Well.. the really interesting part will be to see if the new slate design really does erase tc1100 memory.
    By that I mean, they did some very innovative stuff with the old slate in terms of protective coverage, keyboard accessories, etc…
    I hope they have not lost that meme between then and now.
    I hope the people actually working on this new one are aware of the history of the companies products and gleaning the good design inspirations which might be found there.

  5. HP Slate

    03/11/2010 at 2:31 pm

    I believe it. I seems like every other day another tablet PC is being announced.

    • ChrisRS

      03/11/2010 at 5:17 pm

      NOT “TABLET PC”. These are Tablets.

  6. Walter Shwe

    03/11/2010 at 5:48 pm

    While HP takes their sweet time with the Slate Apple will grab mind and market share. No one expected HP to release something 5 years ago, but a few months ago would have been great. MS Office won’t work any better on the Slate than on a Tablet PC.

  7. GoodThings2Life

    03/11/2010 at 6:10 pm

    Wow. The CTO must be new to the company, really desperate to forget the TC1100, or just simply an idiot. I just can’t believe he’d make such a comment.

  8. Fred

    03/11/2010 at 11:28 pm

    Hey CTO Just get the thing to the shelfs and stop making your self more important. Do not expose your self to embarrassment. If you release a peace of trash after much talking people will remember you more but not for been brilliant. Apple just announces a product and gets it on shelf in a couple of months. If you really have a product and not a prototype, then why there is not availability date yet??

  9. double_o_don

    03/11/2010 at 11:45 pm

    Consider the scenario where HP admits, or even emphasizes the TC1100.
    Then HP would have to try to explain why “no one” has heard of it.
    Then HP gets compared (negatively) to Apple on terms of creating change, capturing the public’s imagination…. etc…
    Better to avoid that slippery slope.

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