HP Reported to Have Axed Its Windows 7-Based "Slate" Tablet

HP SlateHP's Slate has received the most buzz of any so-called iPad competitor (keeping in mind the irony and/or painful realization that we're playing into Steve Jobs's hands, since the Slate was announced well before the iPad), but it had essentially a different philosophy. The iPad is a scaled-up smartphone; it runs a mobile operating system, complete with mobile apps (iPhone OS), as well as a mobile (albeit high-speed) processor (Apple A4, rumored to appear in the next iPhone). The HP Slate, on the other hand, is a scaled-down laptop; it runs a full-bore operating system (Windows 7), complete with PC software, as well as a full-sized (albeit low-power) processor (Intel Atom, the standard netbook processor).

But that was also the source of the Slate's mystique—everything the iPad couldn't do, the Slate could. Flash video (including Hulu)? No problem. USB-in? HDMI-out? Slate had it, iPad didn't. That came with trade-offs; the Slate's battery life was projected at half the iPad's, and nobody has much confidence that Windows 7 would be as good a mobile, touch-based operating system as iPhone OS. Every previous tablet has been a scaled-down computer, and none have achieved mainstream success.

So maybe it's not that surprising that, as Techcrunch is reporting, HP may have killed off the project. Apple is proving that a scaled-up mobile OS is the path to a successful tablet, and what do you know, HP just happened to purchase a well-regarded touch-based mobile OS in Palm's WebOS. This is exactly what we'd hoped would happen—a WebOS tablet would have a lot of advantages over the iPad (notably the best mobile multitasking out there).

This is all unconfirmed—I fired off an email to HP, but they haven't gotten back to me yet. In the meantime, let's hope HP really is axing the Slate in favor of a WebOS tablet. Maybe some collective thought power will convince the company to go for it.

Dan Nosowitz, the author of this post, can be followed on Twitter, corresponded with via email, and stalked in San Francisco (no link for that one—you'll have to do the legwork yourself).

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  • Gregory Ferenstein

    Think they killed it because apple dominates the market, or because the market is not worth entering?


  • Clint Johnson

    HP is dropping the "Slate"? Just so long as they don't stop designing new Tablet PCs (whatever name they want to give them). It is nice to have a device in this form factor that is actually a productive tool for creatives rather than a delivery platform for the masses. Apple has found that the money is in selling tens of millions of inexpensive devices for consuming content- devices for creating content just doesn't give them the same return on investment so I expect them to fall even further behind my five year old Motion Computing TabletPC running Windows XP.

  • Chris Reich

    This story is interesting to me because I would love an I-Pad type device that would run applications. When I travel, I take a lot of work with me. The laptop and attending supplies weigh a ton. I'm not an I-Phone person---don't need the apps and don't want email 24/7.

    Guess I'll stay with laptops.

    Chris Reich

  • Ken Steen

    Maybe if humans had 3 hands...

    The problem is, as the article suggested, the iPad is essentially a big iPhone; except that you can't put it in your pocket.

    So how do you use this thing? You hold it one hand and poke at it with the other. Or you put it on a table and use the faux keyboard interface.

    Not a very satisfactory or useful way to interacting with what is essentially a dumbed down computer or an oversized phone (take your pick).

    I'll give credit to jobs for being a hell of a CEO and salesman, but as a man who is safely outside his fabled "reality distortion field," I can't see how the current tablet will be anything that will be useful (as opposed to cool) for most people.