Apple is now shipping the iPad 3G, which should trigger another wave of sales for the now popular device. Meanwhile, curiously, HP has reportedly killed the much-hyped (Flash, “full Internet”) “Slate” tablet previewed by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at CES earlier this year.
My belief was that the HP Slate was destined to fail as simply a netbook without a keyboard. HP’s acquisition of Palm and WebOS was undoubtedly directly related to the decision.
At any given time, across any of our business groups, there are new ideas being investigated, tested, and incubated. It’s in Microsoft’s DNA to continually develop and incubate new technologies to foster productivity and creativity. The “Courier” project is an example of this type of effort and its technologies will be evaluated for use in future Microsoft offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time.
Microsoft had previously denied the existence of the device. It looked “cool” and innovative so it’s too bad it won’t come to market. But there will be numerous other tablets (especially based on Android) coming out later this year.
The netbook market perhaps has “peaked” and tablets will potentially be taking their place (depending on several factors). Android tablets may (emphasis on may) be able to go “head to head” with the iPad on features and UX, but many of these devices will have to compete on price, which several computer OEMs have indicated they’re going to do.
The success of netbooks during the recession has brought the price of laptops down overall. It’s now hard to charge much more than $5oo or $600 for a laptop unless you’re Apple. A bunch of $250 tablets may put additional pressure on the PC market. But Apple will also be forced to lower iPad prices if competitiors are successful with lower-priced tablets.
All that remains to be seen.
Update: Got a note from someone “in the know” who disputes that HP is killing the Slate. We’ll see.