It is no secret that everyone wants to get in on the tablet craze. There are numerous reasons why a person might want a tablet – viewing websites in bed, writing notes with hand-writing recognition software while on a job site, etc – but above all those logical reasons there is one simple and awesome fact: Tablets are FRICKING COOL.
Apple, being the harbinger of all fads, surprised few with the fact that it was introducing a tablet device. What did surprise, however, was the device’s surprising lack of functionality. Most people expected it to ship with OS X, but instead it uses the same OS as the iPhone. As a result, many have criticized the Apple iPad as being nothing more than a giant iPod Touch. Cool? Sure. Useful? Not so much.
That leave’s room for competitors. Like the HP Slate.
Thanks to a leak from Spanish site Clipset, we now know a few critical facts. One is that it should be selling for 400 euros, which is about $550 dollars. However, currency translates aren’t always exact, and in fact us Yankees often have the privilege of buying things for a lower price, so it is very likely that the Slate will actually be selling in the States for somewhere between $400 and $500 dollars.
Clipset also claims that the HP Slate will be using an Intel Atom processor – Pinetrail based, no doubt – and have Windows 7. In other words, the HP Slate is what most enthusiasts wanted the Apple iPad to be – a fully functional computer in an ice cool tablet format. If it uses Window 7 the Slate will be able to run Adobe Flash and will be able to multi-task, two things which the iPad can’t do. The HP Slate is also rumored to have at least one USB port and a webcam. Wireless is probably integrated, but we don’t yet know if 3G/4G cellular wireless will be available.
My forecast? Optimistic. The Slate seems to simply be a netbook in a sexy black dress, and that is exactly what I think a tablet computer should be. The only question is how HP will deal with Apple’s infinitely smug marketing machine.