A ‘source’ has told Techcrunch that the HP Slate project has been stopped based on issues to do with the operating system.
It doesn’t surprise us although naturally, we’ll be sad if this is true. Pricing, weight and features were good although we never expected it to be a ‘performer’ because of experience we’ve had with similar builds.
If this is true, it speaks strongly of the mismatches we have in the market right now. The fact is, dropping Windows 7 on an Intel Menlow platform is a relatively easy thing to do. The OS is rich with support for hardware and includes good touch and class-leading productivity features and 3rd-party software but it is NOT a socially-focused OS and the combination of weighty OS with lightweight platform, doesn’t result in the best user experience. The social element is completely missing from Windows 7 too.
The end result is that the HP Slate is/would have been a mismatch of 2009 hardware and 2009 software in a 2010 marketplace that is moving towards an always-on, dynamic, touch-friendly, social and sensor-aware requirement. Yes, we would have enjoyed the device as a ultra mobile PC but we know that the ultra mobile PC market won’t bring big sales. For a device like the Slate, you’re probably only looking at 100K global sales â€“ maximum.
HP have other projects on the go now. Not only do they have Palm and WebOS to think about but they’re already experimenting with touch, mobility with a dynamic sensor-aware product in the AirLife 100 which is definitely launching. If that works out for them, it makes sense to release a second AirLife without the keyboard, watch, learn and ramp-up the project internally to hit the market in 2011 with exactly the right ingredients.
We hope the news about the slate is wrong but we understand the reasons if it’s true.