I’m still playing a little catch up on mail so I was amused to get an email from HP pointing me to their latest Slate PC video while at the same time telling me that specs and pricing are not being revealed yet. My next email pointed was by a reader who pointed me to this Engadget post which details the specs and price.
If my friends at Engadget are correct the HP device is based on Windows 7 and runs $549, for 32gb with a 1.6GHz Atom Z530 and a 5 hour battery. It will also have SIM and SD slots along with two cameras. Pretty decent and certainly competitive. The real questions isn’t going to be hardware related but rather software. As good as Win 7 is, it just isn’t designed for touch, something I’ve talked about here. Windows demands pixel precision control and is optimized for mice, keyboards and large screens. MSFT’s TouchPack isn’t more than a software demo. What gives me hope is HP’s experience with building touch interfaces on top of Windows.
The first question is how deep HP was able to take their software on top of Windows and will users need to exit to the Windows desktop to get things done. The second is will HP be able to evangelize the developer community to build touch enabled apps, following a consistent UI metaphor for this single device? It’s far to early to say whether HP’s efforts will be a success or failure or how good an experience they’ll deliver in the end but it’s certainly not an effort to dismiss lightly.
Of course, the *wild card* in Microsoft’s tablet/slate strategy might have little to do with Windows 7.