Hewlett-Packard is riding on the back of Apple's iPad by touting features of its planned Slate rival, which runs Windows 7. The company has released a video that demonstrates at least four features not included in Steve Jobs' iPad: two cameras - one for photos and one for video conferencing on Skype, a USB port to connect to …
Engadget have put up an article in the past few hours showing an HP slide comparing features between the Slate and the iPad. The Slate wins on playing Flash and in having two cameras but its screen resolution is less: 1024x600. It can only talk 802.11b/g WiFi where as the iPad does a/b/g/n, and the Slate only has up to 5 hours battery life. That's likely to put some people off. Pricing is aggressive though.
Get one of these with an Ubuntu respin on it and I'll buy it - especially if it's got the ability to switch between seamlessly between portrait and landscape orientations.
Competition is good
Competition is good, so I would like to see this device do well to give the iPad competition. (note: I'm an Apple fanboi, so I want the iPad... but i don't put myself in a "camp" where MS has to "lose" for Apple to "win"). The rumor mill is churning that there will be *real* multi-tasking in iPhone OS 4.0, which I think any reasonable person would admit had to have something to do with pressure from Android.
But... i just can't see a device running Windows 7 performing anywhere near as well as what the iPad can do. That OS is just not built to "go to sleep" for long periods of time, which you need it to to get anything resembling decent battery life.
My fear is that it will be yet another crappy Windows tablet, like all the crappy Windows tablets before it. But one can hope.
"i just can't see a device running Windows 7 performing anywhere near as well as what the iPad can do."
It really depends on what you mean by "performing".
If you mean you want to watch four full-length movies back-to-back, the iPad is probably your weapon of choice.
If you want to draw something in Photoshop or Illustrator, then there isn't even a contest - the iPad can't do these things.* So, for anyone who wants to create stuff (and lets bear in mind that Apple has long positioned itself as THE brand for the creative industry) the iPad is a non-starter.
If you mean internet browsing, then the ability to choose your browser tips the scale heavily in favour of the Windows devices.
If you mean writing anything longer than a text message, then you've got to admit that Windows devices offer a much wider array of input options (physical keyboards, soft keyboards and handwriting recognition options are all present on the current HP tablets, for example).
For many people, the advantages of Windows 7 (especially the ability to install anything you like) will massively outweigh the disadvantages (e.g. shorter battery life).
* No doubt some fanboi somewhere will point out that there are drawing apps for the iPad, but the trouble is that they can only make use of the iPad's capacitive input, which means no pressure sensitivity (something that even Windows XP tablets could manage).
No, i don't think Windows will cut this...
Well, I'm a fanboi, but yes, there is no Adobe Illustrator nor Photoshop for the iPad... yet. I say "yet", because there was no reason to make a port since the screen (iPhone) was too small. Yet, Photoshop did release some basic photo editing stuff for the iPhone, and I would imagine something much more powerful is in the works for iPad.
I can't imagine running Photoshop on the HP Slate, though, since it is an app built for mouse clicking. I can't imagine that those apps would be even usable as a touch device.
Though, if you say you can plug this thing into a KB/mouse dock, then yes, it is more functional there.
I just have a radical different take, though, on how important battery life is. Once you get into a mode where you don't need to carry around a charging brick, your life really changes. My guess is that the HP slate is going to not have a 5 hour batter life, but more like a 2-3 hour battery life, because it is running Windows. Microsoft's OS is just horribly bad at this, because it isn't what it was built for. I just recently upgraded a new HP 8530w laptop from XP to Win7, and even though I turn off all the Aero crap, the battery life has gone down. I design hardware to work with Windows, and I can tell you, it is just shocking how many CPU instructions MS spends doing "nothing".
MS can claim all they want about how they are addressing this stuff, but they just fail miserably here. And it isn't because they aren't smart, but it is because at its heart, Windows is a workstation OS (the remnants of the new OS for the DEC Alpha). While Unix (and its offsprint Linux and BSD) were also workstation OSes, there have been thousands of tinkerers over the years that have solved the power problems. MS, being the only company to be able to muck with Windows, just hasn't caught on yet.
You can't just dress the OS up in a new GUI and get where you want to go. The underpinnings have to change.
Having said that, if this device is at all competitive, it will help all of us. Just call me skeptical, though.
Windows software with fingers?
I think the ipad will win this by default.. there's just no way the average windows software is going to be usable without a keyboard + mouse anytime soon. With a stylus, perhaps, and there will be 'touch enabled' software, but the vast majority will remain mouse driven.
Because of that, you'll be better off with a laptop. This is what stopped the first wave of windows tablets from taking off. The ipad, love it or hate it, will at least work 100% of the time with a touch interface.
"The ipad, love it or hate it, will at least work 100% of the time with a touch interface."
True, and that's a good point, but it's also the iPad's Achilles heel - open most desktop apps (take OpenOffice or Photoshop, for example) and you'll notice that they pack features into a few rows of tiny icons or drop-down menus at the top of the screen. With a mouse or a stylus, these are easy to access. But with a finger, the input is "fuzzier", and using these tiny icons and menus is less easy. As you point out, this means that desktop software won't work that well with Win7 capactive touchscreens, but the reverse is also true - iPad software is finger-oriented, which requires bigger on-screen menus, so it can't pack in nearly the same feature content in the available screen area (unless you want to scroll for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever.... to find the function you're looking for.)
In my view, the option to use finger input for some things and a stylus for others would be the perfect blend - browsing the net or reading a book is something I would prefer to do with just my fingers. Using Dreamweaver or Excel is something I would prefer to do with a stylus (Wacom if possible).
Agree about screen rez - more pixels always better.
Regarding 802.11 though, how many low power devices can actually exploit 802.11n bitrates, and how many online video services require it? Not many and very few if any, I think 802.11a/b/g/n is a non-starter.
Long battery life is always good of course.
The grist for the PC industries mill.
HP can tick as many checkboxes as they like, but while the slate is running Windows, it will be a FAIL.
I fully expect that sales of the ipad will eclipse those of the slate, and then some.
"I fully expect that sales of the ipad will eclipse those of the slate, and then some."
You may be right - but then, you're comparing different things:
- The iPad is the only tablet (as distinct from iphones & ipods) running an Apple OS.
- There are already a variety of tablets that run Win7 and more are on the way. Windows gives you options - you can have a tablet with or without a keyboard, with or without an optical drive, with or without a camera, etc.
Is the comparison between number of people who buy iPads and the number of people who by a particular variation of Win7 tablet statistically significant? Depends on what you're trying to prove.
If you're trying to show that a proprietary, closed system can out-sell a more open system, that's already been proven (consider, for example, the comparatively small number of machines that use Linux). If you're trying to show that the iPad is better than a Win7 machine, then surely a better comparison would be the total number of iPad sales vs. the total number of Win7 tablet sales?...
Still a hell of a way from a Dynabook.
but looks more usable than an iPad.
will it blend?
looks worryingly sloooowwwww
I noticed on all of HP's videos that they don't really show the device being used - so it's pretty hard to get a handle on its capabilities.
Also their choice of music is hideous...
However if you watch the Adobe video, you get a lot of Flash / Air specific talk, but you also get to see someone using the thing, and it's quite worryingly slooooowwwwwww. At one point on a webpage you see the user's finger waggle around a bit, as if the screen hasn't registered the first swipe, then about a second later, the screen scrolls up. My current tablet does that if you use the gesture controls, rather than the scroll bar, and it's incredibly annoying.
Let's hope it's just because it's a prototype, but I seriously wonder if an Atom is up to the job.
This is the one I would like to play with:
Close, but no cigar
Because it's running WIndows. You'll note from the vid that we only see the camera 'app' and the photo 'app' fully (and even those look like mocked up shots) We see a very cropped shot of iTunes demonstrating the use of Win7 gestures, but that's all.
There are some good arguments outlined above about why windows is 'better', e.g. you can install anything you want, it can run photoshop, etc, but these miss the point. If I want to run photoshop or a similar app, I will need a mouse, and preferably a keyboard. Touch devices are not suitable for running these apps, so the comparison is largely pointless. You want those apps, you need a different form factor.
Stacking up like for like, you need to consider only apps that are good to use on touchscreens, and even with it's much vaunted 'touch readiness' Win7 fails hard at these, because it's core UI doesn't cut it with fingers.
99.9% of windows apps are designed to be driven by pointing at things with a mouse and clicking on them, about the only ones that aren't are a paltry few 'show off' items from MS that don't actually work very well, and the ones supplied by the hardware OEM, many of which also fall into that category.
The touch software 'ecosystem' simply doesn't exist on Windows, sooner or later - no matter how many shiny manufacturer supplied apps they come with - using a windows touch screen device becomes a pain in the arse and you need a keyboard or a mouse to make it work, or you have to reach for a stylus to click the close box on a running application, or whatever. This puts it in the same position as the iPad vis a vis running 'serious' or 'creative' or whatever the hell you want to call them applications. E.g. you can't, unless you shlep round additional hardware.
So really, at this point in time, the Windows based tablets have even less utility than an iPad and will remain in the doldrums until MS come up with a decent touch screen interface. Either they fork windows, which is about as likely as Steve Jobs giving Steve Ballmer a reach around on you tube, or OEMs go with whatever they spunk out under the new 'Windows Phone' banner.
By then though, Android tablets will have been on the shelves for a long time. I'm a long time Windows dev, and own several touch screen devices and tablets running various flavours of windows, and I am not betting on MS for the touch based future, although I am betting on the touch based future.
It's coming, get used to it.
So, do I want a large iPhone without the phone capability, or a small Windows laptop with the keyboard removed and a touchscreen instead?
Um - I'll stick to my widescreen, DVD writing laptop with a keyboard.
What's wrong with this comment thread? Too many reasonable and respectful comments, arguing points and counterpoints? What the hell!? This is not only the Intertubez, but El REG, FFS! Where are the flames, the blood, the tears, the gnashing of teeth, etc., etc.? Is a bloody article on Win x Apple, on top of it all.
Disgusting, let me tell you, how standards are so easily corrupted and traditions lost...
Apple is better, <sob>
As a few people have said, Microsoft don't really "get" it... The touchscreen arena is supposed to be big friendly icons, simple programs and lots of web 2.0orrhea. Love it or loathe it, it's what people want. I am utterly immune to the jobsian cult's propaganda but even I'm looking at an ipad thinking "that would be cool to leave on the coffee table for low intensity web consumption".
You know how we all laugh at how MS squashed Win95 to mobile proportions and made a version which is still struggling on today? Well, they're doing it again with Win 7... My mum doesn't want to arse about struggling through device manager or replace a mouse with a finger... She wants something that goes "swoosh" and makes ebay go.
Apple haven't "changed the game" - MS have repeated their retardedness and failed to adapt to a changing world. Android is surely the only viable competition now?
Now I can get PWND by malware on-the-go!
Thanks to Win7 running Adobe apps and Flash in my HP Slate, now I can have my credit card scammed while I browse the intertubes in airport lounges!
I can have my PDF pr0n collection infected by 0-day worms while I'm out hiking!
I can have my phone account run up to $thousands in debt by running a rootkit spam-mailer botnet while I sit in Starbucks!
THANKS HP FOR MAKING MY LIFE COMPLETE!
And the new Windows tablet only takes 41 minutes to boot up! Frequent viruses and crap ware like Windowes Mobile Video. Will need to run anti-virus software for the 33 apps it will have that run slower than a netbook.
Nice move, Microsuck.
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