HP Slate with Flash or Apple iPad without? Tablet Oscar winner is...

HP released new details of its Slate device, Monday. Its videos focus heavily on Adobe Flash and AIR support, in contrast to Apple's stubborn refusal to allow it on the iPad. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers try to predict the winner of the 2010 Tablet Oscars.

By Richi Jennings. March 9, 2010.


Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention OTIS...     Nilay Patel's been cruising YouTube for stories:

The HP Slate supports Flash, since it runs Windows 7. ... [I'm] intrigued by this video from Adobe showing it in action. Yep, there it is, playing video, running casual Flash games, and using AIR. ... We also get a quick shot of the on-screen keyboard.


Interestingly, Flash is said to be hardware-accelerated on the Slate, which suggests something other than a bone-stock Atom setup. ... HP's also posted up a new marketing video, which bears a striking resemblance to last night's iPad commercial.

Priya Ganapati calls HP's video "a sneak attack on ... the Apple iPad’s Oscar debut":

Slate ... will run Windows 7 ... and support Flash — a jab at the iPad, which will not display Flash-based sites or videos. ... The company’s video shows a device that’s [close] to the 9.7-inch display iPad in its design and size ... seems to offer a full capacitive touchscreen and the familiar pinch-to-zoom gesture. Overall, the design resemblance to the iPad is startling.

HP's Phil McKinney sounds like a proud father:

Here’s what I can tell you for now without getting into too much trouble. ... You’re getting a full Web browsing experience in the palm of your hand. No watered-down Internet, no sacrifices. ... it offers full Adobe [Flash] support.

Matt Burns dissects the Adobe video:

[The videos] answered a lot of questions. ... First, a full version of Windows is very much present, which is awesome. None of us wants a watered-down OS — except for iPad buyers, of course.


We get a glimpse of what appears to be an HP app manager that has clearly been designed for a touch interface. The buttons are large, uses stars to mark favorites programs or Internet shortcuts, and seems responsive enough. It’s probably safe to say that it’s an Adobe product. ... There are a couple of different user notifications to compensate for web’s smaller buttons and higher-resolution interface. ... A small water ripple effect ... when the user hits the play button ... and then a dramatically larger one ... when he presses and holds.

But John Gruber dares descend into dissent:

HP is banking heavily on ... Flash ... [being] a selling point vs. the iPad. My gut feeling is that Flash will prove irrelevant, and that this thing will go nowhere simply because Windows 7 is terribly suited to a touchscreen tablet.

Kevin C. Tofel muses on hardware and Japanese paper-folding: [You're fired -Ed.]

While there’s no official announcement on what’s powering the HP Slate, we know several things that tell us what’s likely powering it. ... I’d guess that like new netbooks, it runs on an Intel N400-series Atom CPU with integrated Intel graphics in addition to a hardware accelerator solution. ... Could HP surprise me and use a different x86 processor? Sure it could — at the cost of battery life — something I don’t think will happen.


Flash isn’t the only big function difference here — Apple’s iPad won’t natively handle inking and handwriting recognition. ... It appears to be the closest product yet to the exciting and original Project Origami vision from 2006. ... There’s bound to be plenty of buyers who need that full desktop computer compatibility with a mobile device.

But Mark "Sumocat" Sumimoto thinks those buyers might be disappointed:

I am never going to like cursor control and scrollbars on a touchscreen interface. ... All I could see were slightly askew cursors, loathsome scrollbars, and other desktop-specific UI elements. ... These video demos should impress folks who don’t know tablets. Sadly, this could lead inexperienced users to discover for themselves the pitfalls.


I suspect the excitement for a slate that runs Flash will fizzle as users discover that their favorite Flash apps work great when they have a mouse ... but not so well without it. The silver lining is this may force HP and others to finally get serious about tablet-specific app development.

Seth Weintraub scoffs wickedly:

They couldn't even get the gestures to work properly.

So what's your take?
Get involved: leave a comment.

And finally...

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itblogwatch@richij.com.

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