There haven't been many sightings of the Windows 7-powered Slate since Ballmer held it up at the beginning of the year, so getting this up close and personal with the thing is kind of interesting - in a sad kind of way. Let's just look at the video, and see if you can spot why, exactly, after having seen the iPad, HP ditched this thing and bought Palm.
The device itself is absolutely beautiful, if you ask me. Interesting design, especially the back, and it looks well-built and sturdy enough. It even has a dedicated control+alt+delete key - probably because domain logons require the venerable three-finger salute. Like I said - this is an enterprise product.
Anywho, where it goes wrong is the software aspect of it all, obviously. As outstanding a desktop operating system it is (best currently available - by far, in my opinion), Windows 7 absolutely sucks so hard as a tablet operating system. Sure, it has some nice touch-focussed features, but for the most part, all the user interface elements are simply way too small to comfortable deal with using only your fingers. HP realised this, and bought Palm.
Now, let's take a look at the first serious iPad competitor. It's from Samsung, and it's the big brother of the highly successful Galaxy S-line of Android smartphones. The Galaxy Tab, as it's called, also runs Android, but is decidedly larger (7" display). It's lighter and smaller than the iPad, which I found to be heavy and clunky, its large display necessitating lots of movement of your hands to cover the entire display.
The following video comes from Samsung, and in a little over nine minutes, it details just about anything the Galaxy Tab has to offer. Compared to the Slate, this is a very touch-oriented user interface, taking its fair share of cues from the iPad (
Apple legal, are you awake? Dumb question, of course you're awake).
This clearly shows the difference in thinking between Samsung (working upwards from smartphones) and pre-Palm HP (working downwards from desktops). Suddenly, it's become quite easy to see why HP invested in Palm and the webOS, instead of chugging along with Windows 7 or a custom skin on Windows Smartphone Embedded Mobile Compact CE PocketPC.
Still, the Slate is intriguing in that it can be used for quite a few things - it's a standard netbook machine without a keyboard, after all. I'm not sure what those things are yet, but I'm sure lots of geeks are already brimming with ideas.