Why HP's Slate isn't anything like the iPad
The Slate is a motorcycle. The iPad is a bicycle. How many motorcycles do you have in your garage?
Computerworld - HP released its Slate 500 tablet this week. Immediately, everyone started comparing it with Apple's iPad. But the two devices have nothing significant in common. They are in entirely different device categories and can even be thought of as opposites.
Some of my fellow journalists, industry watchers, Wall Street types and others seem to have difficulty making this distinction and continue to confuse the public by comparing the two.
I believe there's an important distinction -- as important as the difference between, say, a PDA and a smartphone was back when PDAs existed.
There will be many devices available in the same class and category as the iPad, and there will be many similar to the Slate. If you want to make sense of the new mobile market, you must understand the difference between the HP Slate and the Apple iPad.
Here's how to make that distinction.
Slate is a motorcycle, iPad is a bicycle
If you think of computing devices as vehicles, with servers being like trucks and PCs like cars, it's easier to understand tablets. The Slate is like a motorcycle and the iPad like a bicycle.
The motorcycle, like the Slate, is more powerful. That doesn't mean it's better. Which is more versatile, functional and usable by the widest range of people? Which one can you take on a bus, or hang inside an apartment? Which one is more likely to be used by children, the elderly and people in small villages around the world? Which is easier to maintain? Which is easier to use? Which is more energy-efficient?
You could argue that a motorcycle is "better" and "more powerful." But how many motorcycles do you have in your garage, and how many bicycles? There are about 200 million motorcycles in the world, but more than 1.4 billion bicycles.
If you can accept this analogy, then you can understand why it makes no sense to even mention the iPad when reporting the Slate's availability. When a new motorcycle comes out, the motorcycle magazines don't ask, "Will this kill the mountain bike?" It would be absurd.
Beyond metaphorical comparisons, what are the actual differences between HP Slate-type devices and Apple iPad-type devices? The differences are of class, interface, generation, usability, market, application model and vision. Let's look at each.
The class difference
The Slate is a PC. The iPad is an appliance.
The Slate is running the same operating system as your desktop PC and laptop, assuming you're a Windows 7 user. It's running components designed for PCs, including eight times the amount of RAM that's in an iPad. It runs PC applications unmodified.
The only difference between a Slate and a PC is that with the Slate, the screen can be used as an input device; a mouse and keyboard aren't required. But if you plug in a mouse and keyboard, everything will work fine. There are hundreds of different scenarios for PC input; the HP Slate is just one, and not a particularly exciting or innovative one.
Apple's iPad, on the other hand, is neither a PC nor an alternative to a PC. You use it in addition to using a PC. It's an entirely different class of device designed from the ground up to function as an information appliance.
- IDC drops tablet sales forecast, sees phablets encroaching on the market
- Samsung to offer 3 new tablets starting Feb. 13
- Tablets remain tops in American gift-buying plans
- 'Phablets' are eating into the tablet market, IDC says
- Apple springs Retina iPad Mini on customers
- The puzzling Lumia 2520 tablet: Will it disappear when Microsoft buys Nokia?
- Dell launches four new tablets -- all on Intel chips
- Few use tablets to replace laptops
- New Kindle Fire HDX's tech support button could push IT to yell 'Mayday!'
- Kindle Fire HDX tablets show big push for business users
- Workload Change: The 70 Percent of Your Business DevOps Forgot Adding WLA early in the development process ensures that the benefits of DevOps accrue for all applications, including your batch services. This paper...
- Considerations For Effective Software License Management For many reasons, software license management has become a critical issue for many IT organizations and enterprise's alike. With many licensing options, hurdles...
- eBay uses 100% OpenSource WSO2 ESB to process more than 1Billion transactions a day Along with eBay's success comes a huge demand to ensure reliable, 24x7 availability of the services that enable these transactions. For eBay, that...
- A Reference Architecture for the Internet of Things The aim of this is to provide Architects and Developers of IoT projects with an effective starting point that covers the major requirements...
- It's not too late...Get Your Mobile Questions Answered Live! How can IT provide seamless and secure mobile communications and collaboration for all? Join this live Webcast as IDG asks an expert panel...
- Why do you need an enterprise mobile platform? Today companies must offer great apps that run on a range of devices, and connect to an exploding set of backend data. Appcelerator... All PCs White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!