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It will take more than superiority on paper to beat the iPad

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that with the iPad selling so well over its opening weekend that we will have loads of competing tablet computers coming to market very soon. One of the tablet machines that we heard about back at CES in January was the HP Slate.

The first glimpse we caught of the Slate is when Microsoft's Steve Ballmer showed the device off during his CES keynote speech. Some are already calling the Slate an iPad killer and whether or not that turns out to be true remains to be seen. 
InformationWeek reports that some of the key features that users are bemoaning the lack of on the iPad are front and center on the Slate. Things like support for Flash, a camera, SD card slot, and USB connectivity are all featured on the Slate.

InformationWeek also reports that HP released a video of the Slate in action this week that was a scant 30 seconds, but offered enough details to stoke some geek lust in many. The video of the device emphasizes the Windows 7 operating system, which makes the HP Slate much more extendable and open than the iPad. HP is still mum on when we might expect the Slate to hit the market, though it is widely expected to land this fall.

Engadget has a slick chart that shows the difference between the key features of the HP tablet and the iPad. On paper at least it appears that the Slate has the muscle to defeat the iPad. The HP Slate will reportedly cost $549, run a 1.63 GHz Atom Z530 processor, and have five hours of battery life. That is about half the run time that the iPad promises. The Slate also has a smaller 8.9-inch screen compared to the iPad's 9.7-inch screen and a 1024 x 768 screen resolution. 

The base iPad 16GB model is also about $50 cheaper than the entry-level HP Slate. The main ingredient that the HP Slate lacks is the might of the Apple marketing machine and the hoards of fanatically loyal users that Apple boasts.

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RE: The Big Difference...
By lightfoot on 4/6/2010 3:00:33 PM , Rating: 4
Actually I agree with your post almost entirely. But it only further proves that the iPad is an accessory, not a computer. Even with 64 GB of memory on the high end unit, many people will need a separate device to manage their media collection (especially if they are viewing HD video on the iPad.)

Although it is a wonderful concept of having all your media on the iPad and being able to sync it with iTunes over a wireless connection it simply isn't realistic. This device is a media consumption device that compliments the computer; it does not (and can not) replace the functionality of a computer.

This device (the iPad) must be managed with a computer and thus be tethered to a computer. That is why, in my opinion, this is a computer accessory. This does not mean that it is a bad device, in fact it is probably the best and coolest computer accessory ever devised. It just means that it is far too limited to replace what is typically done with either a desktop or a notebook computer.

I make no presumptions about which device is better, the HP or the iPad. I just felt it necessary to point out that they are two very different product categories.

Note: The term "computer" as I have used it can refer to any Personal Computer running Windows, OSX or Linux. I have intentionally avoided the use of the term PC due to the confusion caused by the Mac vs PC advertisements. Although the iPad is technically a computer, it does not have the functionality typically attributed to a Personal Computer.

RE: The Big Difference...
By clovell on 4/6/2010 3:06:47 PM , Rating: 2
So very true on all counts - well said.

RE: The Big Difference...
By clovell on 4/6/2010 4:29:03 PM , Rating: 2
I'd also offer that the Slate will get no traction if it markets itself only as a computer.

This market segment will not buy a computer that does not perform the duties of an accessory.

RE: The Big Difference...
By clovell on 4/6/2010 5:03:05 PM , Rating: 2
Also - to be fair, you cited storage as a limiting factor for the iPad. That point cuts against the Slate, too. I think you'd be doing a long stretch to say something is a 'computer' or 'not a computer' here. There's a spectrum that's being created. And while the iPad sits closer to 'not a computer' than the Slate, the Slate is still a distance from being a 'computer'.

RE: The Big Difference...
By MadMan007 on 4/6/2010 5:07:48 PM , Rating: 3
Huh? The Slate is basically a touchscreen netbook without a keyboard. How do you figure that does not solidly qualify it as a computer?

RE: The Big Difference...
By lightfoot on 4/6/2010 11:31:12 PM , Rating: 2
you cited storage as a limiting factor for the iPad. That point cuts against the Slate, too.

Not so. Why? Because the Slate has a USB port that an external hard drive can be connected to. The simple addition of a single USB port allows the HP Tablet to be the hub device, not just the peripheral. Windows 7 is already supported by countless USB devices. Printers, hard drives, optical drives, printers, keyboards, mice, cameras, iPods, and even (ironically) the iPad.

RE: The Big Difference...
By safcman84 on 4/7/2010 7:41:35 AM , Rating: 2
Can you imagine the adverts?

Use the HP slate to manage your computer accessories- - these can include the iPad, iPhone and iTouch.

RE: The Big Difference...
By clovell on 4/7/2010 10:54:58 AM , Rating: 2
Sure it has the capability, but then factor in the additional cost of those peripherals. The point still cuts - just maybe not so deep.

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