Hewlett-Packard's upcoming slate PC boasts one clear advantage over Apple's iPad by supporting Adobe Flash, an HP executive suggests in a corporate blog posting. Apple is shunning Flash, which Apple CEO Steve Jobs suggested is buggy, for its upcoming device. The HP device will also be based off Windows 7. As the iPad heads for its April 3 release date, a number of competitors are planning to release their own offerings into the rapidly growing tablet PC market.
Hewlett-Packard's upcoming tablet PC has an advantage over Apple's iPad
thanks to its ability to run Flash, an HP executive wrote in a March 8 posting
on a corporate blog. As the launch date for the iPad rapidly approaches, it
becomes increasingly clear that the iPad's deliberate shunning of Flash support
may be the hamstring at which its competitors aim their knives.
Whether the lack of Flash support hobbles Apple sales, and boosts the
fortunes of its competitors, will likely be undeterminable for several months.
"With this slate product, you've getting a full Web browsing experience
in the palm of your hand. No watered-down Internet, no sacrifices," Phil
McKinney, HP's vice president and chief technology officer for the Personal
Systems Group, wrote in the March 8 posting on the company's
"A big bonus for the slate product is that, being based
off Windows 7, it offers full Adobe support."
According to a Feb. 18 report in The Wall Street Journal, HP
executives may adjust the price of their slate device
, which was first
unveiled by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
during a keynote presentation at January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las
Vegas, in order to better compete against Apple's iPad. During that
presentation, Ballmer had suggested that the tablet's capabilities would
include e-reading, Web surfing and playing media such as movies.
In addition to HP, a number of other manufacturers such as Fujitsu, Fusion
Garage, Pegatron and Archos plan on releasing tablets to compete in what
promises to be a burgeoning space. E-reader manufacturers such as Amazon.com
are also introducing SDKs (software development kits) and features such as Web
surfing, in a bid to bring those devices in alignment with tablet PCs.
Apple executives reportedly indicated to Credit Suisse analyst Bill Shope
that they intend to be "nimble" with iPad pricing if customers
decline to immediately flock to the device after its April 3 release. The
iPad's price is lower than that of many Apple products, including the company's
traditional Mac line, but is nonetheless perceived as a potential issue by
analysts such as IDC's Susan Kevorkian.
Apple plans on retailing the 16GB version of the iPad for $499 with WiFi,
and $629 with WiFi and 3G. The 32GB version is priced at $599 with WiFi, and
$729 with WiFi and 3G. The 64GB version will retail for $699 with WiFi, and
$829 with WiFi and 3G.
During a January meeting at Apple headquarters, CEO
Steve Jobs allegedly suggested that Flash is buggy and would therefore not be
supported by the iPad. That led to an immediate response by Adobe, with Adrian
Ludwig, a member of Adobe's Platform Product Marketing team, writing in a Jan.
27 posting on the Adobe Flash Platform Blog: "It looks like Apple is
continuing to impose restrictions on their devices that limit both content
publishers and consumers. ... Without Flash support, iPad users will not be able
to access the full range of Web content, including over 70 percent of games and
75 percent of video on the Web."
HP is evidently betting that its tablet's support of Flash, and the sites
that use it, will give it a competitive advantage as the device heads toward
its release at an as-yet-unannounced date in 2010.