Five Reasons Why the HP Slate Doesn’t Beat the iPad

By  |  Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 9:35 am

The Microsoft following media has been tripping over itself this week, seemingly discounting the iPad as too bulky, too clunky, too simple. Some have even pointed to HP’s Slate as the superior device. Lucky for us, details on the specifications have leaked out thanks to Engadget, so we’re able here at Technologizer to compare the two platforms based on what we know. From what has been disclosed so far, it still certainly seems to be advantage Apple, and here’s why.

1. Windows 7 is NOT a operating system made for touch-based devices. One of the most common criticisms of the iPad I’ve seen has been the operating system itself. While I tend to agree the user interface does need some tweaks, putting a full-on OS on these type of devices just doesn’t work. No matter how convenient it is to be able to run a full Windows app on a device like this, they aren’t built for the touch world. The interactivity gained through gestures and the like is lost on a mouse-based UI and no skin will correct that. Add to this the limitations of the hardware and such a feature becomes useless.

2. It’s not lighter (or much smaller) than the iPad. Paul Thurrott in his review criticized the iPad for its weight. Having actually picked up and played with the device myself, I believe this criticism is unwarranted. Yes, it has *a little* bit of weight to it, but this isn’t a handheld device necessarily. It’s meant to be cradled, put in your lap. Don’t look to the HP Slate to be lighter. The difference there is negligible, and its only slightly smaller and a bit thicker than the iPad. I sure hope the HP device gets the same treatment in its own review.

3. It’s not necessarily cheaper than Apple’s device. I must admit I chuckled here as I wrote this. When was the last time Apple actually competed on price? At least initially, they will beat HP here. At $499, Apple’s entry 16GB model will be cheaper, although HP’s low-end device will be 32GB at $549, $50 cheaper than Apple’s version. One has to assume however than running Windows 7 will certainly take up a good deal of space, so how much of an advantage will the space difference really be?

4. Battery life is half that of the iPad. We’ve seen confirmation out in the field that Apple’s claims of long battery life do seem pretty close to reality. Therefore, it should concern any prospective HP Slate owner that the company itself is only claiming battery life that is half of its Apple counterpart. Again, hate to harp on it but this is a desktop OS at work again. This software requires more processing and computing power, and thus more electrical power. It’s that simple, really.

5. HP does not have a solid stable of third-party applications for its device. Herein lies the beauty of the iPad. Apple has already lined up a cadre of developers behind its iPhone platform, and many of them are already rushing (or have out) applications built for the larger screen and added functionality of the iPad. To my knowledge, HP does not have anything near this, nor does it have plans to. The value proposition of the Slate seems especially lost here.

Does the Slate best Apple? Yes, in a few spots — notably the forward and outward facing cameras, and the memory expansion slot. But it seems more of a reaction to Apple’s latest move than an response. Reactionary devices rarely do well.


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46 Comments For This Post

  1. Mike Cerm Says:

    Windows 7 IS an operating-system made for touch-based devices. ALL of the technology necessary for building iPad-type applications is present in Windows 7. The ONLY difference is that most Windows applications are targeted at mouse-and-keyboard, not touch.

    Once some devices like the HP Slate are out in the market, the touch-friendly apps will follow. In the meantime, you'll still be able to do everything on the Slate that you would do on a regular netbook. For a lot of people, that will be good enough. For many, it will actually be preferable to Apple's locked-down situation.

    Personally, I have no use for a large iPod Touch. However, I am definitely interested in a sub-netbook-sized tablet that lets me do ANYTHING I can do in Windows, even if it takes a few extra screen-taps to do it.

  2. Bill Says:

    Hi ALL

    I have a SLATE and it is running WINDOWS 8 Dev version almost Perfectly!

    The display is much easier to see and the touch and usb ports give you the best of BOTH Worlds!

    Th IPAD is lost running apps…

    Thank you


  3. David Hamilton Says:

    @Mike Cerm: Kudos for missing the point that mouse and finger inputs are not interchangeable. The iPad has a WIT (Windows, Icons and Touch), rather than a WIMP, Interface.

    It seems certain that any interface that tries to hedge its bets and work with both mice and fingers will do both badly.

  4. Lawrence C Says:

    “5. HP does not have a solid stable of third-party applications for its device. Herein lies the beauty of the iPad. Apple has already lined up a cadre of developers behind its iPhone platform, and many of them are already rushing (or have out) applications built for the larger screen and added functionality of the iPad.”

    thats a bit silly. last time I checked. there were millions of third party devs working on PC games. you’re forgetting, this slate runs win 7. ANY flash game every developed would run on this. not to mention the amount of software you would normally run on a typical PC / laptop / netbook. again. what a ridiculous point to make about “lack of 3rd party devs”… you’re really reaching here.

  5. granada network Says:

    We all know that Apple has client that will died with this company. But apart from this people I think Hp, will be better, the device looks great, has pictures, you can see word document. We all know that this object it´s not a computer to be writing code for software. It´s just a device for fun, and I think with HP USB Support will beat apple + Flash Video and work with old Micro SD, or Memory Card. What more can i Ask.

  6. Henry Says:

    It Seems the author here has no clue about windows 7.

  7. Paul Says:

    I think that a real comparison should have pros for both models.
    IPAD low end pros:
    -Display slightly better 1024×768 (SLATE 1024×600)
    -Wireless N (SLATE b/g)
    -10hrs battery Life (SLATE 5hrs)
    -$499 (SLATE $549)
    SLATE low end PROS :
    -one SD card reader (IPAD none)
    -one USB port (IPAD none)
    -one HDMI port (IPAD none)
    -Webcam (IPAD none)
    -3MP camera (IPAD none)
    -32g hard drive(IPAD 16g)
    -1080p playback (IPAD 720p)
    -Supports Flash (IPAD does not)
    -Full computer experience Windows7 (replace your PC with 1.49lbs SLATE)
    In my opinion as I already own a MAC and an IPHONE (mini IPAD with 3g) I will buy the SLATE unless Apple upgrades its device for their next iteration.

  8. Brian Swingle Says:

    all the iPad is, is an oversized iPod touch.

    the Slate has a 1.6GHz processor, compared to the iPads 1.0GHz processor. the Slate also can play 1080p videos. the Slate can expand storage via memory stick. the Slate runs on Windows 7, a desktop OS, the iPad has a mobile OS. the Slate has a webcam and camera, the iPad does not. the Slate costs $549-$599, the iPad costs $599-$829

  9. obvioustroll Says:

    YOU MAD!

  10. obvioustroll Says:

    “HP does not have a solid stable of third-party applications for its device”

    HP doesn’t need third-party applications. Somehow people have forgotten that things on the internet are supposed to be free not bought from an app store.

    “Windows 7 is NOT a operating system made for touch-based devices”

    The iPad runs the same os as an iPhone! That is just stupid. Thank you windows for giving me a real os to run on what is a not a mobile phone but in fact a computer.

    ” It’s not lighter (or much smaller) than the iPad”

    LOL nobody cares.

    “It’s not necessarily cheaper than Apple’s device

    Cool story bro!

    you are right about the battery but again dont really care, apples released a crap product and now YOU MAD!

  11. Jeb Says:

    The author seems a little bias, doesn’t he.

    In #1, does he really think that “interactivity gained through gestures” is better than having full computer capabilities? Not really a good selling point.

    In #2 he doesn’t even know how much the Slate weighs, so how is this the #2 selling point of the iPad (“Hello customer, you should buy the iPad because the Slate might or might not be the same weight”)

    In #3, well…someone should tell him that Windows 7 doesn’t take up 16 GB.

    …and someone already called him out on his 5th point.

    As a Mac owner myself, I would like to remind Mac fans that just because Mac makes a product, it doesn’t mean that it’s automatically better than competing products…do yourselves a favor and be smart consumers.

  12. Steve Jobs Says:

    Lol… good analysis apple fan boy

  13. Vic Says:

    The trouble with running Win7 on the device is that it is a resource hog and will nullify any ram or processing advantages the slate has over the Ipad. Flash is also a resource hog and is headed toward the land of the dinosaur. If HP had a clue they would have used android on the Slate and Apple would have some serious worries. As it is, it is just a netbook without a keyboard. It is too bad, the Slate hardware looks great.

  14. John Says:

    1. Windows 7 is NOT a operating system made for touch-based devices.
    A. Yes, it is.

    2. It’s not lighter (or much smaller) than the iPad.
    A. While it will actually be lighter and smaller, the difference will be negligible.

    3. It’s not necessarily cheaper than Apple’s device.
    A. All things compared… Yes, it is cheaper… and has “better value”.

    4. Battery life is half that of the iPad.
    A. This is true.

    5. HP does not have a solid stable of third-party applications for its device.
    A. Um, it runs on Windows-F’ing-7… It can run any program a PC Laptop or Desktop can run.

  15. Apple Drug Dealer Says:

    Steve Jobs has these guys drinking some serious kool-aide.

  16. David Hamilton Says:

    @John: Thanks for the link. Loved the size of the Explorer tree entries – selecting one of those with an adult finger looked like a challenge. Nor did he try to navigate menus.

    As for the millions of apps available for Windows 7 – yes, millions of apps optimised for a desktop and mouse. Which means a frustrating touchscreen experience.

    Interestingly, the initial iPad 3rd party software reviews show that even on that device, developers are struggling to re-imagine traditional software ideas to fit a touchscreen. Why does anyone think that you can just attach a touchscreen and wheel out a whole load of old applications and you’ll suddenly have a ‘slate’?

  17. Peter M Says:

    Do you get $ from Apple, or you are just a not-so-bright person?

  18. Xavier Says:

    Is everyone forgetting the ability to plug in an external hard drive via usb for more memory? With out a doubt the slate will be a better buy over the IPAD.

  19. Ty Says:

    Okay, I am a Mac user myself, and I love the Mac OS, I also happen to own an Ipod touch, I love it as well… it’s sort of like my left arm…. But frankly, I find the Ipad, as well as the above article to be an untasteful joke. Windows 7 is far, far less of a hardware hog than Vista ever was, the whole OS will likely take up less than 1.5 GB of storage space… Also, with windows 7 comes Direct X 11, so it’s taking any of you spare core processing, and throwing it at the Slates display, making the graphics that much better. Also… USB port, Camera, and SD card reader, without needing a rediculous adapter, need I say more??? No, however, I will… The article author has absolutely no point of reference for the weight of the Slate, so his point about weight and dimensions is nill.

    Also… what’s this third party applications argument??? With a full operating system, you’re not going to be downloading widgets and apps like you do with the Ipad, or even your open source phones like the Droid, because there is no need for it, as long as you meet the minimum tech specs, you will be able to install ANY .exe program, so there’s no need for specialized developers… Also, having friends who are app developers for the Iphone, I can tell you this, most of the apps developed are 3 months behind the times… There is a 3 month waiting and screening period for any app released, and while that means a more stable app, it also means that there is a much larger time span between trial and error.

    The article author should get more facts on both ends next time, before writing an article.

    Again… I love macs, think they’re great… if you don’t have one (and have the money) get one… but, the Ipad is a waste and will not “Do for the tablet, what Itunes did for music”.

  20. Brian Swingle Says:

    @Ty: i agree with you about the taking up less than 1.5GB for Windows 7. i epgraded my laptop to windows 7, and it does take up barely any space at all. when i upgraded it, it told me to make sure there is at least 4GB free, but it only used about 1.5-2.0

  21. David Hamilton Says:

    Did they have this kind of debate when the original Macs launched, I wonder:

    * “There are thousands of command line apps there”
    * “GUI apps so much slower than text mode, and use more memory”
    * “It doesn’t support the same peripherals as my PC”
    * “What’s that Steve Jobs smoking?”

    I did see a study once that said that student essays written on a Mac were less well researched and scored lower that those written on a text-mode PC…

  22. Brandon Backlin Says:

    1: The redesign of the taskbar alone makes Windows 7 more touch-friendly than its predecessors, though I will agree with you when it comes to the typical menu bars in most programs. It’s looking like Office 10 will be pretty touch friendly.

    2: Since none of us know how much the Slate will actually weigh, we can’t really jump to conclusions.

    3: That is a well-balanced argument. Windows does take up a fair amount of space. But you get more for what you’re paying for; expandability (without adapters), webcam, etc.

    4: Well yeah. Processes running in the background do eat up battery power 😉 . Luckily, you can run through msconfig and disable startup options and services.

    5: Really? I will bring up the flash games mentioned prior in the comments, along with any game developed more than 10 years ago; though in your defense they won’t have that touch-friendliness that newer programs will undoubtedly have.

    And Vic; I put Windows 7 on my EEE PC 1000he and upgraded the RAM to 2Gb just to be safe. I disabled the page file, and I still never go above 65%; even after loading Skype, PDANet desktop client, AVG Free, all standard services and drivers at startup, as well as running Chrome with Flash and an Office 2007 program at the same time. So yeah, not a RAM hog.

  23. Xavier Says:

    In addition you can also connect a usb hub for MORE ports being it’s a usb 2.0 port, plugging in your mouse if you wish, etc. People it’s a full blown OS rather than the “communist” OS of the IPAD. Enough said.

  24. Jared The Geek Says:

    Apparently people are unfamiliar with the skinning HP will put on the unit. Windows 7 works with Touch, I know this personally. There is also a great app called inksciene that enhances it, yes from Microsoft, and One Note is awesome. You can jot notes and they convert to text instead of using a crappy on screen keyboard that sucks to type on unless you are a small person. For a slate or tablet a finger is not the end all for an input device, a phone its fine but not for any real computing use.

    And what’s with the no 3rd party apps? You mean like any video games, or the Zune software or Office or any flash based anything like Hulu? But instead of buying all those apps like netflix, you can use them for free! Get a Zune pass and enjoy tons of music and do some real computing.

    Can you print anything directly from the iPad? Yeah, it will replace a laptop. Who needs word, outlook or access to a printer.

  25. Jason Kurczak Says:

    @Lawrence C

    RE: Flash apps on the Slate (or other touch devices)

    Yes, all flash apps will work on the hp Slate. Or at least, all flash apps that don’t require the use of mouse-hover or a keyboard.

    Last time I checked, most fun and engaging flash games (e.g. those at usually require at least one of those input methods, if not both. There isn’t any uniform or logical way of making those games work with ONLY touch. Predicting that flash apps will WORK WELL just because they RUN is a bit of a jump.

  26. Ty Says:

    To anyone concerning flash… most of us who want it, want it so we can do basic flash things such as watch videos… as for it becoming outdated, sure, probably about as fast as standard non-web 2.0 HTML encoding is becoming outdated…

  27. David Hamilton Says:

    @Jared the Geek: Any system that doesn’t run Word has to be an improvement: That program has brought me closer to a heart-attack than any other piece of software. A wordprocessor with DTP capabilities badly bolted on (rather like attaching the gun-desk of HMS Victory to a rowing boat) it is a perfect example of software that has been cobbled together rather than designed.

  28. Ed Oswald Says:

    Looks like I ruffled some feathers. Look, NO mouse-based OS is going to work well on a touch device. It is TWO DIFFERENT types of user input. Software designed for mice are not going to work as well without one, thats just the facts.

    I see people mentioning HP’s own touch-enabled apps, built on top of the W7 shell. That’s good and all, but what happens when you leave that walled garden? Things are not going to work as well. I believe the gesture-based interface has become the best way out there to navigate touch-enabled software. Look at Surface, HP’s TouchPCs, iPhone, even Android. All use gesture-based input.

    The fact that Apple is taking on Adobe regarding Flash is a good thing, even though it may create some short term heartache. Lets look at the benefits: a true standards-based multimedia format. I don’t think anyone can argue that. The fact that Flash video is so popular was really by chance: Adobe never intended for FLV to catch on like it did.

    If pointing out that the Slate is going to be no better than the iPad, and the assertion that just because it runs W7 is somehow better makes me an Apple fanboy, I guess I am then. 🙂

  29. Xavier Says:

    And yet another thing people, I’m also a mac fan so if you must need OS X, the HP slate has an intel processor, so correct me if im wrong, you will have the choice to wipe the windows 7 OS and put OS X on it. Yet another great reason to purchase it.

  30. Ty Says:

    wanna know whats awesome??? as pointed out earlier, the slate will have a USB port… if I’m using windows 7, and I have a USB port… can’t I plug a keyboard and mouse into that, should I so desire??? Yes!

  31. Xavier Says:

    Me and Ty can continue with the endless amount of things that can be done over the IPAD if you guys want….haha But with all this said apple is not going to stay against the ropes im sure by the end of this year they will have something to compete better than the IPAD is right now.

  32. Xavier Says:

    i should make an article of Ten reasons why the HP Slate Beats the iPAD

  33. Anonymous Says:

    “Look, NO mouse-based OS is going to work well on a touch device. It is TWO DIFFERENT types of user input. Software designed for mice are not going to work as well without one, thats just the facts.”

    Then why are OEMs like Dell, HP, and Asus making small all-in-one nettops with mutltitouch screens running Windows 7? Why did Microsoft go through all the trouble of giving the full Windows Explorer environment a touch mode, where all the controls throughout the whole interface are enlarged to make them easier targets to hit? You talk about gestures, but they’re there in Windows 7 too. You don’t have to track your finger down a page to scroll, you just flick it like you do on an iPhone. You even pointed out how one of HP’s older tablets does it. That’s not specific to HP’s TouchPCs, that’s functionality built into the operating system. (Besides, wouldn’t you think they’d recycle their own technology on their new products?) Microsoft has come a long way from XP Tablet PC Edition.

    Besides you can always plug any pointing device you want into the Slate.

    The Slate’s screen is about the same size as an older Netbook’s, around 9″. I’ve seen those running Windows 7 at 1024×600, and the controls weren’t any smaller than on my old iPaq held at normal reading distance. (And this was without the built-in optimizations.)

    If you want a walled garden, look no futher than the App Store. You only get to use the software Apple lets you use, and even then you have to pay for anything worth your time. You’re Apple’s dog, and you paid them $500+ to hold the leash.

  34. Brandon Backlin Says:

    Hey Ed, if HP’s custom GUI is a walled garden, then the iPhone OS must be an enclosed stone room with no windows!

  35. michael Says:

    ya… i think the ipad still wins. it at least has flash and could run word

  36. David Hamilton Says:

    @Anonymous “Then why are OEMs like Dell, HP, and Asus making small all-in-one nettops with mutltitouch screens running Windows 7?”

    Because they’re making the best of what they have. And what they have in a much-improved evolution of what we had in the past – I’m sure these tablets will be way better than all the tablets that have so far arrived and failed. However… Would we really even be discussing new tablet devices with any energy if it weren’t for the iPad?

    Partly that’s Apple’s Reality Distortion Field, but a lot of it is that Apple have stepped back and asked what a touch computing experience should be like, how would it be if we started from scratch. By contrast HP and MS are tweaking the existing experience, which will suit a lot of people, but cannot realistically be regarded as re-imagining personal computing.

    Competition is always good for the consumer – and they will be the ultimate judge of this competition. Let’s count the numbers in a year’s time…

  37. IcyFog Says:

    Whatever advantage the Slate has over the iPad is undercut by the the Slate’s operating system, Windows. That’s not because of the lack of touch, but it’s because it is Windows.
    Produce a Slate that runs Linux, and I might bite. One with Windows, no way.

  38. Bart Says:

    This article feels a little made-up. I’m constantly reading everything I can about the iPad and even amongst the naysayers I haven’t read any complains about the interface needing improvement. UI design is Apple’s expertise.

  39. tom b Says:

    HP must be out of their minds to believe they can charge more for this half-baked turkey than Apple charges for the iPad. If it ran LINUX, had CREDIBLE touch features, and a competitive battery life– well, then it might compete. As it stands, HP should stick to net books, a segment that should retain SOME interest for some customers (i.e those who really feel they need a full-featured OS) in this post iPad-release era.

  40. larry Says:

    The 6th reason:
    Even if Apple sells lemons, the Apple die-hard fan-anatics will scream that the lemons taste sweet.

  41. David Hamilton Says:

    Just seen Michael Gartenberg’s review of the Touch Pack features of Windows 7 –

    Some relevant quotes:
    “Using Windows 7 natively to navigate with just fingers was a frustrating experience. Targets such as menus, close and zoom boxes, and jump lists are simply too small to effectively hit with any accuracy.” and
    “On the other hand, the touch-pack apps were wonderful.”

    100% supports what I was saying – that applications and OS features not designed, from day one, with touch in mind will suck on a slate device. Hopefully HP will make enough changes to the OS and the core apps to make their product work, but it also needs 3rd party app writers to play ball, just like they are on the iPad.

    One other thing – instead of being negative about Ed’s article, it would be much more useful if Windows fanboys would instead apply pressure to Microsoft to support touch properly, not as an add-on after-thought.

  42. Tim Says:

    “Again, hate to harp on it but this is a desktop OS at work again. This software requires more processing and computing power, and thus more electrical power. It’s that simple, really.”

    Really, really? I thought it was because they used an Intel x86 processor, which are not known for being nearly as energy efficient as ARM processors.

    (The HP Slate looks neat and I’d love to get one to play around with, but I wish they’d had the balls to use an ARM chip so I could get 10 hours out of it.)

  43. Eric Says:

    Guys the absolute killer for the IPAD is and will be……the glare and relection of the overhead light on that screen. Most light comes from above and you simply cannot see the screen if you are not holding it upright to a 90 degree angle to the eyes. The ipad should also have some sort of rubber leggs or pop up supports so you can set it down propped up. Because when you do set it down to type you can’t see it AND it is rounded so it moves??? what were you thinking Jobs? The shiny screen is terrible!! I hope the HP doesn’t glass up the screen so bad.

  44. Flash Gamer Online Says:

    Hang on ipad haters! The iPad is going to be huge for Apple, and the competition is already chomping at the bit, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new model in 6-12 months to coincide with the OS 4.0 release. We’ve already seen hints of a possible webcam version with iChat.

  45. Wisdom & Experience Says:

    I sure do wish all manufacturers would consult with me during the R&D phase, before they put their product out to market. Then we consumers wouldn’t have to put up with such mediocre products.

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