back to article Leaked details on HP iPad challenger reveal tight fight

Hewlett-Packard's Slate will be close to Apple's iPad in many regards except one: It'll be a lot cheaper at the high end, according to an apparently leaked HP slide. The PC maker will offer a Slate with Wi-Fi capabilities and 64Gb memory with a top recommended retail price of just under $600 compared to a WiFi and 64Gb enabled …

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  1. Tom 54
    Jobs Horns

    as usual

    Apple delivers slick looking crap. But the fanbois will eat it up... what novel engineering with these round corners... must mean it is better. Bahh.. and come on when will the people realize the sham!

  2. Goat Jam
    FAIL

    A little faster?

    Oh, I see, it has more raw megahurtz.

    Of course this will not equate to a faster user experience at all. Not when you add in the extra burden of running a full bloat Windows OS + anti-malware protection compared to the designed for purpose ARM chip plus iphone OS.

    Not to mention the kruft induced Windows Crawl Mode that will arrive around 6 months after purchase requiring a full OS reinstall to alleviate.

    The slate will be a FAIL, there just aren't enough geeky types willing to purchase one and go to the bother of nurturing it to maintain its operability to qualify it as a success.

    The ipad on the other hand, will "just work" and that will be enough for Mr and Mrs Sixpack

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    HP will be discounted

    Apple price fixes, which is why Apple products are not discounted beyond about $5 no matter where you buy. They've been doing this for years since the US courts ruled that price fixing was legal. It is now called "resale price maintenance". HP does not price fix, so you'll see price competition between HP sellers.

    1. Macka

      bloat killing battery?

      Maybe it's the bloat of running Windows 7 - an OS designed for something a lot bigger - that's the main reason for the Slate's poor battery life. iPhone OS may have its short comings, but it's designed to run on a small handheld and is optimized for those resources. People are reporting real world battery life tests on the iPad of up to 12 hours. Maybe HP would be better off putting the Windows Phone 7 on the Slate to get the most out of the hardware.

      As for performance, I think Apple have sized the iPad A4 chip and Memory to be able to run iPhone OS apps so that it's visibly smooth and fast. So I agree with you: raw numbers don't mean anything here. It's the user's experience that counts.

    2. ThomH Silver badge

      Great argument

      I'm sure you'll win the world over with your fantastic argument that Apple products aren't better just because they have rounded corners.

      1. Craigness
        FAIL

        But...

        Apple products aren't better just because they have rounded corners.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another benefit of the HP Slate will be...

    that it will be a snitch to install Google Android on the HP Slate (there is already an established x86 port of Android that supports Atom based netbooks).

    Should make it quite popular with Android fans.

  5. Andrew10AE

    iPad Memory

    iPad has 2Gb = 256MB of memory, not 2GB.

  6. Nerd King
    Linux

    HP Slate's biggest problem..

    .. is that it's got Windows. That limits performance, and also leaves them stuck with an unsuitable processor. An Intel Atom will never match the wattage/performance ratio of an ARM chip, but of course an ARM chip will only give you Win Mobile or Linux, and HP probably chickened out. So 5 hour battery life it is then. Opportunity lost.

  7. Mikel
    Pint

    This would be cool

    If it had a Tegra 2 processor and twice as much RAM. And Android. And 16:9 display. And didn't weigh over 2 pounds. And was a little cheaper. And had the iPad's battery life. And didn't need antivirus.

    Wait... how is this like an iPad challenger again? Just the tablet form factor, with Windows? That's been done before to death.

  8. sleepy

    That's 2 Gbits of DRAM for iPad

    So, another spec advantage for HP. But it's still a chimera. Compressed margins for Microsoft & Intel? And let's wait for the real price/specs and hands-on testing before judging.

  9. 1990 nerd
    Joke

    and IBM

    Ibm will be releasing there ibook soon as well, looks like a book and comes in soft covers or hard covers.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Doesn't mean less performance

      If anything it means the CPU is probably faster and therefore performance is faster. However the power consumption will be higher.

      On the down side Windows has been packaged in tablet form lots of times and its never really worked. Most apps make no concession to people trying to work them with stubby fingers so MS have implemented all kinds of hacks and extensions to common controls to assist. Problem is some programs don't use common controls. I really don't expect much from any tablet device.

      On the plus side, the fact the tablet runs Windows means you can do anything you damn well please with the device without HP's, Microsoft's or anybody else's say so. It probably also means you can plug it into a hub or dock and use it like a regular PC.

      Coincidentally I just bought an HP Mini 210 last weekend and it's not a bad device. Keyboard is nice & spacious, screen is lovely and bright and the battery life is very good. Biggest fault with the device is all the bloatware HP saw fit to inflict on it - trial antivirus, trial MS office, some dubious "free" game service through WildTangent, a quick browser thing, and some truly awful and bloated home grown apps that bother about registering for this and that.

    2. Braadschaat
      Happy

      and just how often

      will it insert "This page left intentionally blank"?

  10. Nic 3

    Yick

    Windows 7 optimised or not isn't going to match a simple OS designed specifically for touch. The two devices will still be touch to compare like for like as a result.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Memory comparisions

    Trying to make it look like the iPad has more memory there? Comparing the slate in one scale which has 1 Giga Byte of RAM to the in iPad in another scale, which has 2 Giga Bits of RAM (256 Mega Bytes).

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The Slate ... will run ... "

    "... Microsoft's Windows 7 Home Premium "

    Lost all interest at that point. I'm looking forward to an Android competitor.

  13. Hile
    Stop

    Memory

    Just a note about the confusing wording in the article: unless I'm mistaken, it's 2x1Gbit chips in ipad A4 SoC, thus iPad has 256MB of memory, not 2GB.

  14. That Awful Puppy
    FAIL

    Good

    Because all I really want is a tablet with a desktop OS with some touch functionality tacked on and a short battery life.

    On the other hand, they may sell them in the exclusive "Slate by HP. Sweat by Ballmer." edition.

  15. Jelliphiish
    Coat

    so..

    there's a chance the wifi'll work then..

  16. Professor Tinklepants
    Megaphone

    Eh? I don't understand!!

    I am desperately trying to understand why tablets like the iPad and the Slate have suddenly become such big news. It's like waking up in the morning and suddenly realising that a new fashion for wearing tea-coseys as hats has swept the world, with everyone convinced they look amazing and are the next big thing.

    It's crazy - these devices are riddled wtih comprimises and I am genuinely at a loss to identify what need they are fufilling. I've heard all the guff about 'consuming, not creating' etc but I find it inescapable that there is nothing the iPad can do that can't be done on a smartphone\netbook combo. And while it's desirable to have one device that can do the job of two, these tablets can't - they don't make calls, for a start - and even if they could, the price is just.....well, it boggles my mind. Crazy.

    To my mind, the ridiculous price-tags just confirm their status as the latest must-have for people who buy what they're told to buy.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "leaked"

    Heh. That is all.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same old same old?

    Perhaps I'm missing something, but how does this represent new competition for the iPad? Haven't there been Windows-based tablets produced for the last decade that customers can choose from? The iPad is potentially interesting because at least it purports to offer a different way of working - the jury is still out on that one - but why should we notice a piece of hardware from HP that does what every other laptop or netbook does?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Reality check

    "and a little faster with a 1.6GHz Intel ATOM processor"

    "will be running Windows 7 Home Premium"

    1) Is the ATOM is quicker than Apple's custom chip ?

    2) Windows 7 is more efficient than the iPad's iPhone derived OS ?

    Benchmarking is going to be hard (e.g. time to display the BBC home page using the manufacturer's own browser) but I put my money on the iPad...

    Note - iPad = FAIL until they include a front facing camera for webcam video conferencing

  20. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    The question isn't why anyone would buy this rather than an iPad...

    It is why they would buy one rather than a netbook or laptop? The whole point of the iPad is to simplify computing and make it absurdly easy, not for it to be a tablet version of a PC. All the HP Slate represents is a laptop PC which happens to only have a touch screen as a means of input. Given all the limitations that this presents to the user - a touch UI shoehorned onto a desktop OS - why bother with this thing at all? It has absolutely nothing going for it over any other desktop OS-providing portable. It doesn't provide you with better specs, it doesn't provide you with better software, it doesn't provide you with a better interface. It doesn't occupy any niche in the computing world that isn't already taken by available hardware. The iPad arguably has a purpose - make things simple and keep them simple - and is designed specifically for it, whereas this thing just doesn't.

    In other words, it is the same old Tablet PC concept that has been a disastrous failure for the past decade.

  21. Sean Timarco Baggaley
    WTF?

    PC box-shifter completely misses point shock.

    Desktop computer manufacturer HP announced their predictable iPad wannabe device with a GUI designed around the 50-year-old desktop metaphor and WIMP paradigm.

    An HP spokesdrone today admitted that the company preferred to use a tried and trusted Microsoft GUI instead of building one more suited to the form-factor. He cited R&D cost implications for the reason behind this move.

    The spokesdrone added: "Our marketing people asked a focus group—three people from our accounting department—and discovered that price is all anyone cares about today. Amazingly, this conclusion is the same one our management told them to reach!

    "Sure," he wittered on, "our Slate is a device with roughly half the battery life, a mediocre user experience, no third-party application SDK optimised for the form-factor, and named after a pretentious online magazine, but hey!—at least it has a couple of pointless trinkets and is *slightly* cheaper than the iPad!"

  22. Jos

    Units?

    Gb or GB? I know I can look it up somewhere, but 2Gb DDR, or 2GB DDR2 is a big difference, and so is 64Gb or 64GB...

    There... That's the pedant in me.

  23. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Both look nice in different ways

    The price differences show how much Apple charge customers for memory upgrades, and it's steep as ever, otherwise HP wouldn't catch them on the top end prices.

    I'm pretty impressed that HP have managed to get the price this low. 5 hour battery life is sufficient, especially if you can equip yourself with a spare, if you really need more. The thing that worries me is the Atom processor, as the Adobe demo of this made it look really slow, even in scrolling, as well as launching apps.

    As someone who's got a Vista tablet, and thought that it was pretty good, I'm not a Windows 7 on the tablet hater, but then I like my stylus and handwriting recognition - and don't object to using the stylus when diving into settings. I've just discovered that I barely use my tablet for anything other than web surfing, so the limitations of the iPad (lack of software and single-tasking) don't hurt me too much. Although I really like to use the BBC iPlayer and read El Reg at the same time, which I won't be able to do. Maybe until iPhone OS 4?

    I guess this is my backup if I hate the iPad when I finally get to play with one.

    1. tgm
      Jobs Horns

      no iPlayer at all

      You won't be able to use iPlayer at all on the iPad - it requires flash, innit?

      1. ThomH Silver badge

        It doesn't require Flash

        It also supplies ordinary, industry-standard H.264 MP4 to iPhones and iPod Touches. No doubt it'll do the same to iPads.

        1. ThomH Silver badge

          Though apparently not yet

          I've just tried it on one of the iPads here in the [London-based] office — iPlayer is returning the standard website rather than the mobile one and then complaining about the lack of Flash. Hope they'll fix that before the UK iPad launch, to give an iPlayer experience at least as good as the iPhone.

        2. tgm

          Correct

          I stand corrected. You'll get a 0.5Mb stream on that lovely big screen (until they develop something specifically).

  24. DrXym Silver badge

    Not surprised it has a lower battery

    If the thing is running Windows, it's basically a full blown PC in tablet form.

    I think I would be more interested in seeing how Android based tablets would stack up against the iPad in terms of performance & price.

  25. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    It's "Tablet PC" evolving.

    It's a development of Tablet PC on from last year's models. I personally regret that the evolution seems to be longer battery life with less processing power for a given clock speed in GHz - and the apparent limit of memory (current Atom PCs seem often to have a 2 GB ceiling, I suppose that's the most they can handle) - but I suppose they know what's good for their business. And it does run any Windows 7 software.

  26. Giles Jones Gold badge

    They just don't get it

    Tablets running Windows have been out since 2001, they flopped. Bill Gates predicted it would become the most popular portable computer form factor. He was wrong, it's a tiny percentage of portable computer sales.

    The fact is, you can't easily add extensions that convert a touch screen to behave like a mouse and keyboard. Even if it works you still have the problem of double click, moveable windows etc.

    Also, you don't really want tiny multiple windows, small popup dialogs which go to the back of the stack if you attempt to click on and miss.

    A WIMP GUI OS on a small touch screen is crap, it's lazy crap. Just get a laptop.

    If you want a tablet machine then decide if the iPad does what you want or wait for some alternatives that run a 100% touch screen based OS. Android tablets will appear I'm sure of it, I'm sure Microsoft will come up with some Zune table running Windows Phone 7. Although they probably won't release it in the UK as usual.

    1. chr0m4t1c

      Wrong? Maybe not.

      "Bill Gates predicted it would become the most popular portable computer form factor. He was wrong, it's a tiny percentage of portable computer sales."

      He might end up being right about it becoming the most popular computer form factor, but it may end up being Apple's version (or maybe an Android one) rather than the one he hoped for.

      Larry Ellison predicted the cloud about 15 years ago, but he assumed the whole back end would run on Oracle.

      Who would have predicted that two greedy blowhards would have turned out to be technology prophets?

    2. Mark Boothroyd

      Android tablets already available

      Re: 'Android tablets will appear I'm sure of it'

      Small ARM based ones are already out, take a look here:

      http://www.archos.com/products/imt/archos_5it/index.html

      £200-£300 depending on spec, even available from play.com and other main retailers.

      Here's details on others coming soon: http://www.androidtablets.net/

  27. tony72
    Thumb Up

    RE Same old same old?

    @Ralph 5 - previous tablet PCs, yes. Smaller and lighter than the iPad, at a consumer price point, with decent battery life, no.

    I for one will buy one of these, or something much like it. I won't buy an Apple iPad because it can't do everything my Atom-based netbook can do, and there just isn't a big enough gap between my netbook and my smartphone for the iPad to fit in. The HP Slate could replace my netbook; with an add-on keyboard, it will be equally able, at a push, to be my sole computer on some trips, running the same development tools and applications as on my big laptop. SDHC slot, HDMI out and HD video playback makes it look good for entertainment too. 2GB of RAM would have been nice though.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Price fixing? Please.

    Apple doesn't "price fix" as they are the only supplier for Apple products. What they do is have zero retailer margins.

  29. BeAloud
    Jobs Halo

    iPad mini

    The rumored smaller iPad will be even cheaper (US$400) and a 5-7" form factor will be better for media consumption on the go, but also lighter to hold while relaxing on the couch. HP should better think about a smaller size tablet soon.

    I think Apple iPad (mini?) sales will skyrocket in 2011 and we will look at the current iPad as a "beta" product.

    http://www.bealoud.com/technology/ipad-mini-rumors/

  30. ian 22
    Thumb Down

    Slated

    H/P and Microsoft? I hate them both (for different reasons), and will never give them my hard-earned dosh. I look forward to the anti-fanboi's ooing and aaing over this non-Apple product. It ain't Apple don't you know.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    If only someone would invent...

    ... a smaller version of this type of device - they are just too big.

    I want something that'll fit into my pocket...

    ... yada yada, heard that one before ;)

  32. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    Funny...

    ...I haven't heard any of the screams of "HOW-DARE-THEY/PIECE-OF-CRAP/EPIC-FAIL" for the non-upgradeable RAM and non-user-replaceable battery that Engadget reported for the Slate. I mean, if it's flameworthy when Apple makes a bad decision, isn't it equally so when HP does?

    @ Jos -- Re: Units

    "(...) is a big difference, and so is 64Gb or 64GB..." Yes, and that's irrelevant, since NO ONE has mentioned the SSD sizes, but rather the on-chip RAM. All reviews and teardowns of the iPad report N-GigaByte-sized SSDs. ...Or are you trying to imply that there's a world-wide conspiracy to inflate the sizes of the iPad SSDs?

    ...and, frankly, if the 'Pad can run as smoothly as it does on a couple-hundred MB of on-board RAM, then I'm rather impressed; it implies that the OS footprint is REALLY small -- a claim that Win 7 would have trouble making with a straight face, except by comparison with Vista, perhaps..

    @ Professor Tinklepants Re: Eh? I don't understand!!

    "It's crazy - these devices are riddled wtih comprimises and I am genuinely at a loss to identify what need they are fufilling. I've heard all the guff about 'consuming, not creating' etc but I find it inescapable that there is nothing the iPad can do that can't be done on a smartphone\netbook combo. And while it's desirable to have one device that can do the job of two, these tablets can't - they don't make calls, for a start - and even if they could, the price is just.....well, it boggles my mind. Crazy.

    To my mind, the ridiculous price-tags just confirm their status as the latest must-have for people who buy what they're told to buy."

    Well -- as I've said before when someone brings up this point -- as an illustrator/graphic designer, a device that would allow me to go on-site at a customer's, import photos, sketch over them, whip up a quick comp that could be printed wirelessly on the client's office printer, along with the quote for the job, email both as PDFs to the client on the way back to the office, then settle back and read a book/watch a movie/catch up on the news while on public transit back to the office would be a pretty damned useful tool to have. Much of that could be done on a netbook, I will admit -- but the ability to draw QUICKLY is simply much greater with a pen-like tool than with a mouse or a trackpad. Further, neither trackpad nor mouse supports pressure-sensitivity and carrying an external tablet and its tools and power-supply ALONG with the netbook rather starts to dig into the whole "light and simple" netbook schtick. And holding a netbook up on the bus to where it can be conveniently read (without risking over-stressing the hinge) is not a simple task

    Granted that not everyone fits into my demographic; that doesn't make the usefulness TO ME of a tablet computer any less real. It sounds like what you MEANT to say was "I can't imagine any scenario where *I* would find these things useful", rather than "I haven't wit enough to imagine anyone else finding these things useful," or -- worse yet -- "Anyone who has a set of needs other than mine is an utter twat." Because the quote above seems to come much closer to one of the latter two than the former, and I'm *sure* that that wasn't what you meant, right?

    1. stu 4
      Jobs Halo

      inklet

      Actually, your trackpad is pressure sensitive.

      It's no wacam mind, but I use inklet on my MBP and for the odd sketch when I'm on the move it saves fannying around with the wacom.

    2. GeekBanker

      Calm down Mike

      RE Jos :Units

      I think he just wanted to mention the inconsistency through the article using GB and Gb randomly and also style choice to compare the RAM in different metrics (GB for the Slate and the Gb for the iPad)

      Also like someone mentioned, it is touch capacitive with sophisticated mutlitouch capability. I recently discovered the magic mouse can identify 5 independent touching points and imagine the iPad can at least do that thus making it probably quite useful for your needs.

      Don't let those guys rile you up. Enjoy your iPad and let them whine. If they really didn't want one, they wouldn't feel the incessant need to flame it - they would just ignore it. Like i do to most PCs :)

    3. Professor Tinklepants
      Alert

      @Funny...

      Ok, you got me - I hadn't factored in the needs of a graphic designer on the move into my thoughts when puzzling the ultimate usefulness of a tablet computer - so sue me! ;0)

      But, despite it's apparent usefulness to you, I still can't see any reason beyond clever marketing that tablet computers would necessitate such hype\desire within the general populace.

      In any case, would the convenience of pressure-sensitive touch-screen drawing really be worth $/£500 to you? I don't know the requirements of your job but I know that if I went to my boss and asked to spend that sort of money on something that makes my job a bit easier or more enjoyable (watching movies on the train etc), I'd get a big fat no.

      In addition, I'm not sure quoting the iPad as a means of avoiding carrying loads of netbook power supplies and adapters etc is going to hold much water - it's been well documented on various reviews that if you need to do anything with the iPad that requires any contact with an external device, it ends up looking like Medusas latest haircut.

      And at the risk of labouring a point, while your reasons for desiring a tablet are obviously worthy they nonetheless kill dead the whole idea behind the marketing - that these devices are for 'consuming, not creating'. This, I guess, is the nucleus of my argument - you have to go out of your way to use the device for a purpose that it was not designed for in order to find it useful...don't you find that odd?

      I'm really trying to temper my normal, rabidly anti-Apple mindset because I am genuinely at a loss to understand the concept (graphics designers excepted) that makes these devices any more desirable or even useful to most people than a netbook to the degree that it's worth spending so much money.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Ergonomics

        Do you find a laptop comfortable to use on your lap on the sofa or the train/bus? If so then I can see your problem, why would you want an iPad?

        If you commute, or want to sit in a comfy chair with your feet up, and you don't like using a laptop on your lap, and you surf the net and consume media enough to care, and you've got £500 to spare, and maybe you want to read the odd ebook, then the iPad is possibly for you. I don't know how limited a demographic that is...

        I assume Apple do, have spent some research dollars on checking, and that's why they've produced the iPad.

        If that turns out not to be the case, then the iPad will go the way of all the other tablet PCs, a niche product, that some people love and everyone else doesn't get.

  33. jeanl
    Thumb Up

    iPad desrves the credit: re-invent innovation.

    Let's face it, tablet PC been around for two decades now. It wasn't just clumsy and bulky, but OS is as horrific as using desktop. That's 20 yrs in the developments and researches by many PC makers with the help from Microsoft's hundred set of brains behind scene. The expensive device fails to attract consumers not just mentioned earlier, but also the price. Here we comes, Newton launch prematurely before we all ready for it, now the iPad. iPad is actually Newton reborn with a twist. Again, Apple doing it's best to do what others failed to do in the last 20 yrs, bring us a gadget that will ignite next round of technology gold rush, every PC makers try to imitate but failure to innovate in design from hardwares to softwares, something that really origin.

    If a PC maker like HP really want to stand out, should re-invent the wheel and stop using Microsoft OS and spend some valuable time in RTOS or Linux which HP already has the technical skill to do it. iPad is iPhone size it up not, deserve the credit to change the way we use computer for yrs to come.

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