HP Slate vs iPad

This ad was previously leaded. They forgot to add one thing though. The iPad is an actual device that you can buy while the HP Slate has will not be made.  I don’t know about you but I think a real product over vaporware gets the edge.  Supposedly the reason the Slate was dropped was because of sluggish performance with the processor and Windows 7. A desktop and most new laptops runs Windows 7 quite nicely, but put it on an Atom processor and a device that needs to save power and no surprise that is a big fail. In other news Microsoft’s Courier tablet is also now just vaporware and will also not be produced. These iPad killers decided that honorable thing to do was to kill themselves.

Even if produced there were never going to be tablets with sales like the iPad. There is a simple reason why Apple has succeeded with a Tablet computer where so many others have failed. Putting a touch interface on an existing OS just is not enough.

A couple things had to happen for a tablet to succeed:

  • An Operating System created from the ground up with a touch interface.
  • An ecosystem of application available to support the new OS.  Having a technically superior OS is not enough.  There has to be apps for people to use from day one.

Previous tables with Windows or Linux on them were failures mostly because they were desktop OS’s ported over to a touch interface and so natively were not designed for that environment.  I think if Apple had created a Tablet that ran OSX then that too would have been a failure – though would certainly have been loved by segments of the Mac community.  It would certainly not have had the sales the iPad has gotten in my opinion.

The iPad succeeded because:

  • The iPhone OS which while based on OSX was never intended to run OSX desktop apps.  It was created from the ground up to support a touch interface
  • The iPhone/iPod Touch app store created a very large ecosystem of applications so that not only could people run those applications immediately, but developers could also support the iPad resolution without a major redesign.  So from day one iPad users had a wealth of apps to use with apps directly for the iPad being on the increase.

These are the primary reasons for the iPad’s success.  Though certainly credit has to be given both to Apple design and Apply hype.  Many people wanted an iPad simply because they really enjoyed the user experience with the iPhone/iPod Touch and could easily imagine how that experience would be even better on a larger screen.  I never cared about having a tablet computer – but this realization of how the interface would work on a larger screen hooked me in.

Though I also think there is now room for other successful tablet computers because the two main criteria I mentioned can be applied elsewhere.  Android has a good touch interface which is also quite scalable to a tablet device.  They also have a growing collection of Android apps and so when a solid Android Tablet appears their users will be able to really use the device from the start.  HP’s buying of Palm and thus WebOS also means that we might see a WebOS based tablet.  Though the WebOS application ecology is still pretty small.  Surely one of the reasons for the dumping of the HP Slate was the acquisition of Palm.  I wish them success in this area though since strong competition gives the users better and better devices.

After close to a month of daily use of my iPad I am still extremely happy with it and will be happy to see a growing usable tablet experience for more people.