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HP Slate
First Courier, now HP's Slate as well?

Is everyone just giving in to Apple now? Yesterday, we reported that Microsoft is abandoning its internal Courier dual-screen tablet concept. The Courier was to use dual 7" screens and rely on both pen and touch input.

Now HP is killing off its Windows 7-based Slate before it even hits the market according to TechCrunch. If you recall, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a big deal about HP's Slate at this year's CES in Las Vegas. Ballmer actually brought a prototype device out on stage with him during his keynote address to the tech community.

TechCrunch's sources reveal that HP is simply unimpressed with Windows 7 as a platform for a touch-based tablet device. HP is also said to be nixing the idea of using Intel's Atom processors for any future Slate devices due to demanding power requirements.

The latter point is quite poignant as it is one of the negatives that HP pointed out in company slides comparing the Slate to Apple's successful iPad. Apple's iPad is good for 10 to 12 hours of real world use thanks to its lightweight iPhone OS and power sipping A4 processor. HP, on the other hand, lists the Slate's battery life at 5+ hours when running on a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor (Z530). The relatively poor battery life of the Slate comes despite the fact that it packs a 30 Wh battery while the iPad features only a 25 Wh battery.

With Windows 7 and Intel now apparently out of the picture, that leaves Android/webOS and ARM processors for future Slate devices. HP said on Wednesday that it would be "doubling down on webOS" and that it would "scale it across multiple connected devices".

Considering that many have been somewhat unimpressed with Palm's recent hardware -- namely the Pre and Pixi -- but adore webOS, it would be quite interesting to see what HP can do with a tablet based on its newly acquired operating system and speedy ARM hardware.

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RE: makes sense
By Targon on 4/30/2010 8:29:38 AM , Rating: 2
The idea of using WebOS makes sense, but I doubt that HP would lock themselves into ONLY using ARM. It is possible that WebOS could be made to run on an x86 processor based machine, which would avoid them being locked in.

A big thing here is that the UI is what tends to make or break a portable device. Since WebOS has a good look and feel to it, HP likes the idea of putting it on tablets.

RE: makes sense
By 3minence on 4/30/2010 9:24:32 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think Atom is equal to ARM right now, but with another die shrink or two it will be. Of course, HP can go ahead and start the process of porting it to x86 now.

Using Win7 on a (relatively) small touch device is not a good idea. Win 7 is just not friendly to small screen touch devices. How long have tablet PC's running Windows been around and still failed to get much market share? Apple used it's head by using it's iPhone OS rather than OS X, MS confirmed it by using it's Zune OS on it's new phones.

I like WebOS. Hopefully HP will take the ball and run it for a touchdown. Competition is good.

RE: makes sense
By mcnabney on 4/30/10, Rating: 0
RE: makes sense
By omnicronx on 4/30/2010 11:07:28 AM , Rating: 4
Atom is superior to ARM in every way except power efficiency.
By the same account the iCore 7 is superior to the Atom in every possible way imaginable except for power consuption..

Does not really matter how much better it is if its power consumption is not suited for mobile/portable devices.

I'm not sure if the x86 will ever beat out other architectures which were built with efficiency and low power consumption in mind.

RE: makes sense
By MadMan007 on 4/30/2010 1:11:01 PM , Rating: 3
For UI the underlying OS matters but what *really* matters is applications. People generally don't 'use their OS' they use their OS to use applications. As long as the OS provides the capabilities needed for slicked-up touch applications Win 7 is ok and you can use any non-touchcentric program too if you like. So the problem is getting that slicked-up touch application base going.

RE: makes sense
By djc208 on 4/30/2010 1:32:55 PM , Rating: 2
True but I don't think you need a huge app store to have a chance either. A good web browser (with Flash support), e-mail/messaging clients, and media players is probably 90% of what these devices will be used for, just like on the phones.

Additional apps richen the experience, but wouldn't kill a WebOS tablet as long as the primary uses (web/media/email/im) work well, and from all I've read they do on WebOS.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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