HP Slate - platforms, platforms and some more platforms
Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer showed a prototype of a new Tablet PC like device designed by HP, and running Windows 7: the HP Slate.
With the rumour mill going in overdrive about an imminent Apple Tablet-like product, and a large part of the industry totally ecstatic about 'touch computing', this is hitting all the right buttons.
I kinda think the device looks very nice - a bit like an oversized iPod Touch, which is a good thing.
The last couple of years a lot of attempts are made to open up a new categories of computing devices:
- Smartphones. with poster child Apple, and runners up Nokia and Blackberry - and since a few days also Google with its Nexus One. There is a blurry line between regular mobile phones and smartphones, but I think it would be reasonable to say that smartphones are defined by the fact that it's fairly easy for 3rd parties to develop software for.
- Netbooks. Invented by Asus, very popular small laptops. Here the blurry line between netbooks and laptops. But here the defining factors are size and prioce, typically Atom powered.
- Smartbooks. A new category - it's a netbook that is not based on an x86, and runs some other os than Windows. Typically ARM and android combo.
- E-books. Small computer to read books - typically a special screen technology to make reading more pleasant. People tend to forget, but these machines already exist for 10+ years.
- Tablets. Laptop like computers that have a large touch screen, that can mostly be swiveled so that the device looks to be 'only screen'. Also already in existence for 10+ years.
And people still buy desktop PCs (and Macs) and laptops, of course.
I'm not quite sure where to fit in the iPod Touch. It's a touch based, tablet like computer. But it's smaller than your typical tablet. I like it, as it is really portable, but makes more sense in it's iPhone incarnation (if it wasn't for the price).
These are a lot of computing devices, with a lot of different architectures.
Intersting times ahead for small, independent software vendors ;-)