HP Competing with Self

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2011-02-10 Print this article Print

HP Competing with Itself

HP not only is competing with 80-plus other tablet PCs, but it also will be competing with itself. It was only in October 2010 that HP introduced its first Windows-based business-oriented tablet, the Slate 500, and soon it will have the TouchPad as an in-family competitor.

The Slate 500, which has a lot of good business features but garnered mixed reviews, turned out to not have the user-interface performance elegance (to say the least) of an iPad. Neither does the TouchPad, although it seems to be somewhat more responsive.

As a person who has tested all three devices (the TouchPad only very briefly, but long enough to register its look and feel), I did not experience a user interface nearly as smooth and responsive as Apple's. Frankly, I was hoping to, but HP/Palm isn't quite there yet. Of course, nobody else is at that level.

Touch performance was closer to the Slate's behavior, frankly. For example, when moving a document or Web page up and down the screen, or when making a document larger, the page slithers in sections like an accordion. That's not the way a new-gen interface should act-not with the smoothly moving, gold standard Apple UI helping sell millions of iPads each month.

Since there are still several months before TouchPads get into stores, perhaps the HP team can smooth it out a little. Overall, however, the device is an impressive one, and HP's Palm team should be congratulated.

Pricing will become a key factor when the TouchPad comes out. Apple's are bordering on expensive at $500 to $800; if HP can undercut those numbers by 20 percent or more, then the game will be on.

In summary, the TouchPad is a remarkably capable device and deserves a close look by anyone considering a tablet PC. But if you're already hooked on an iPad, you may be a difficult customer to sway.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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