When HP’s Todd Bradley was asked by analysts how his company’s $1.2 billion purchase of Palm would affect its Windows 7 Slate, he replied “We haven’t made roadmap announcements.” In corporate speak, that means “We have killed it.”
Silicon Alley Insider speculates that the HP Slate may be reborn as a WebOS tablet, although Michael Arrington of TechCrunch thinks it “seems very unlikely given the dominance of the closed Apple OS and the likely success of the open Android and Chrome operating systems from Google.”
I’d disagree with Arrington. If anyone has the know-how to pull off an iPad-style hardware/software marriage it is the Palm team. The WebOS failed in the market, but it was quite an excellent product, managing to wow even the jaded tech journalists at CES 2009 (us included). Scaling up this friendly, touch-based OS for a larger screen seems like an obvious move.
By contrast, the Win7 Slate would suffer the same problems as all other tablets up until the iPad: despite skins and overlaid UIs, Windows is a desktop OS. Even Windows Mobile has always been a poorly re-scaled Desktop OS. They’re designed for mice and keyboards, not fingers.
If HP really does “double-down” on the WebOS as it has promised, and designs machines around it, then we’re very excited to see the results. Say what you like about the iPad, it has exposed a new way of interacting with information, and it looks like the HP/Palm team may be the first other company to actually realize that. John Gruber puts it best: “HP is not going to make the same mistake in the mobile market that they made in the PC market, by not owning and controlling their own OS.”
Apple Doesn’t Have To Worry About The HP Slate Anymore [Silicon Alley Insider]
Hewlett-Packard To Kill Windows 7 Tablet Project [TechCrunch]
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Source: Gadget Lab