You hear the term ‘iPad Killer’ an awful lot, don’t you? Well, like, I guess you would if you read tech blogs with any regularity. If you’ve trickled all the way down to Techi, I’ll assume you do, and I’ll also assume ergo that you have, in fact, heard the term ‘iPad Killer’ an awful lot. So we’ll start with that.
Anyway, I’m not going to talk about an iPad Killer today. Good grief, am I ever not. Today, I will regale you with a tale of the HP Slate, the real goddamned expensive tablet that sucks out loud – for the price, anyway.
To be fair, the Slate isn’t the worst machine in the world; this is, of course, presuming the world in question is one with significantly inferior advances in computing. With a 1.86GHz Intel Atom under the hood, the Slate also rocks sports 2GB RAM, a 64GB SSD, two cameras, HDMI out – what you’d basically expect from a would-be iPad Killer. Along with these features is possibly the strangest move I’ve ever seen in industrial design: so as not to sully the pristine casing of the tablet (which, to be honest, is actually kinda nicely designed, if a hat tip to the iPhone 4), the obligatory Windows license SLIDES OUT OF THE UNIT ON A PLASTIC STICK. No, really. This is a thing. The HP Slate has a plastic stick that slides out for no other reason than to show you a printed Windows license. There’s something unforgivingly archaic about that, but I don’t know how to accurately describe it in the form of a quip, so you’ll have to come up with your own.
But where the Slate really, really fails is in what it doesn’t have. First of all, it doesn’t have a keyboard – which is difficult to comprehend, considering HP’s insistence that the device is ‘specifically designed for business’ (more on that in a second). I mean, if I was all-business I’d have a notebook anyway, but if I could be suckered into buying a tablet, I’d definitely want some sort of keyboard peripheral, for sure.
Secondly, the Slate doesn’t have 3G. It’s Wi-Fi only.
Thirdly, the Slate doesn’t have 3G. I am fully aware I’ve listed this twice.
Fourthly, the Slate doesn’t have a reasonable price, being thrown into the arena with an EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLAR price tag. That’s $800, for those of you who are more impressed by numerals than the Roman alphabet. For $800 dollars, you get a dangerously-close-to-completely-underpowered machine running full-on Windows 7 with no 3G. HP, again, justifies this by saying the device is ‘specifically designed for business’, but, uh… which business, guys? You’re selling a netbook chopped in half for the price of an iPad. Get real.
The Slate isn’t so much an iPad Killer as it is an iPad Sacrifice. Ballmer had a dream that the Slate could fell the iPad; he’d better wake up and apologize.