Open Ballot: are you excited by HP's Slate?


With the news that HP intends to use Linux-based WebOS on its Slate tablet, do you think this is Linux's big chance to take on Apple's iPad, or do you think WebOS on Palm Pre didn't do enough to justify you parting with your cash to buy a Slate? Or do you perhaps think that an Android tablet has a better chance of success?

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Your comments

iFavour over iPad

ultimately i would prefer a linux embedded device over any apple product anyday, but if HP really want it to take off, its gonna have to have some amazing feature or just be generally better in everything than the ipad, otherwise it will just go unoticed like every other windows tablet. as for and android tablet, i think google probably have the upper hand over HP because everybody knows loves and trusts google, and knowing them, thety will probably make it 10 times awesomer than the ipad. and if its has linux, then i definatley would buy one.


I know next to nothing about either of these - any chance of an article explaining.

I've heard that Android is "based" on the Linux kernel - so I take this to mean it isn't Linux but is similar - a fork of Linux so to speak - could someone please clarify what the differences are - if any - between Linux and Android. Is Android a linux distro for mobile devices or a different yet related OS the way that BSD and Linux are different yet related because they're both Unix based?


I'm not interested in any tablet really. I have my netbook and my phone, I don't need another in-between device.

I'd still much prefer a Linux based tablet to a Crapple, of course.

no, not at all

I have to thre arguments against hp slate/tablets:

1: I dont like semi open-source

HP has bought palm and hp slate is going to run Webos. webos is based on the linux kernel and the rest is proprietary softwae. for this reason a thing it would promote confuision between whats opensource. not much but a litle.

2: I dont like hp hardware
I have 2 hp pcs and i am not satisfied. I know a pc technican and he agreed that hp has bad hardware.

3: I dont find tablets too useful.
I can see the concept of tablets but i dont find it useful the time being beacuse they are big, another thing to have with you and they are way to expensive.

also I agree with Dan w

penguin hurt by x-ray

Android for me?

Not knowing any of this hardware very well, I think that the Android system would be my preference. I hear some great things about Android and the open system behind it which gives me the confidence. It maybe that I listen to too many geek type podcasts, but Android does seem to get a good deal of positive "air time".

I think this is where Apple get their momentum from, the fact that there is always a great deal of hype behind their products and the fact they are perceived as being more reliable than anything else - even if there stuff is so overpriced.

Not sure I really have a use for any tablet type device, but would rather choose an Android device over an Apple one myself at any rate.


If I could stuff a Debian install on the HP Slate there's no end to the fun I'd have. I would buy that instantly, because unlike the iPod touch I bought and eventually regretted, the hardware, not the software, would be the limitation.

But WebOS suggests that the Slate will be as locked down as the iPad, without the smooth and sleek design that Apple's products usually offer as a benefit to distract from the lock-in. As much as I'd like to have faith that HP will do the Right Thing, the freedom offered by the device remains to be seen, and I doubt that firmware and other things need to keep the Slate running will actually be available.


Sorry about double posting.

As for the mass market abilities of the Slate, it will be difficult to say because the iPad has the market cornered in terms of a user-friendly touch device. To mom or grandma, it's hard to explain why HP's thing would be any better than the iPad, other than, perhaps, "it's apps are cheaper," which is, along with file format compatibility, the only thing that matters in the mass market touch device duel.

I don't expect Apple's boots to be shaking right now. I think that HP's Slate will be more interesting as theoretical competition than actual revenue maker and trail blazer.

Not really

The iPad is fantastic. HP's products are normally cheap and plasticy. I have the misfortune of owning several HP computers (laptop, tower etc.) and they all broke in some way. HP products do not last, they are overpriced for their quality and the HP slate will fall at the iPads feet like the numerous HTC devices fell at the iPhone's.


I still can't really see much of a market for things like the slate or iPad. They're not smartphones as they're too big and can't make calls, they're not computers because the processing power isn't quite there and you're limited to the apps available in the store and unlike laptops and netbooks you can't just sling them in a bag because that would leave that gorgeous touch screen open to being scratched, also they're missing much in the way of connectivity (i.e. USB, SD Card Readers etc...). Seriously, I just can't see what need it is these things are trying to fulfil!

If HP want to take on Apple then so be it, at the very least it will hopefully give WebOS some of the attention it deserves. Ultimately though these are products with little appeal outside of the fanboi/show-off market.

Give me a smart-phone and netbook any day of the week


sounds like a must have door stop.

Is it really that important that there be a LinuxiPad? Especially if its on a cheap and nasty device.

Not excited.

I had a webtablet once

It was called the Nokia N800 and it was ok for what it did. It let me check my email when I was in starbucks.

But now it's a N900 that can make phone calls and do lots more, even now it's merge and become MeeGo. Something tells me if there was a future for a WebOS just for the sole reason of getting you online and allowing you to play farmville on a smaller device it wouldn't have been jammed into a mobile phone. Ultimately I think it's a gimmick, everyone will want one, no-one will know what to do with it, and more often than not will just play farmville on their 10 inch screens since you can also listen to your entire music library and torrent their movies onto something with enough disk space.

Not that I am condoning illegally downloading movies, we just all know many many people do it.

I'm more interested in the Notion Ink Adam Tablet PC

It will supposedly be released in June and support android, ubuntu (probably debian too I assume), and chrome 0S.

to bananaoomarang

I agree with u about the ipad and the wepad. i like the concept of lenovos u1. it hadbeen better if it runned linux al the time instead of just when the "screen" is detached.

@penguin hurt

Yeah but you can presumably just install linux anyway on the actual main hard drive. I just think things like that are more useful. Imagine going away for a couple of hours. With 3g network built in just unclip the screen and take it with you, then plug it back in when you get back and use a normal computer. I just think these ideas have a whole lot more potential than. plug *pad/*tablet into computer, transfer files, unmount, then listen to music. Imagine being able to write a document then take it off your laptop onto the train spell check and continue writing just by pulling the screen off and carrying that. Then when you get to work or wherever plug it back into ANOTHER laptop and have a full computer. With cloud server usage something like this would be amazing. Although I doubt the lenovo U1 would be as good as that. Wait a couple for CES in a couple of yeas and then that might be viable.

I would like a real OS please...

I too am underwhelmed by both the iPad, as well as anything HP may put out to compete (unless they step up production quality). Android is cool and all, but I would be much more inclined to buy a tablet that was capable of running a full-fledged Linux distro. The iPad isn't even a real computer, but rather just a big iPod touch as many have noted.

Just give me a tablet with high-end netbook specs (like the Asus 1201N), proper ports, a pay as you go 3g or 4g plan, and 6+ hour battery life for $500 USD, and I will be happy to buy one...

Ugly rubbish can't win.

An Ipad is a beautiful object to own. Anything HP produces not so. People who buy HP expect Windows. We've lost before the race began.

As I mentioned in a previous comment in another O.B. until there is a great figurehead and we control the product, we can't win.

Would you rather have an HP or an Android making your eggs?

I am always excited when Linux is used for a new device rather than using a Microsoft OS. When a large reputable company chooses Linux, it makes a statement about the changing perceptions in the market. While I don't think that HP will necessarily beat down Apple's iPad, it could definitely poke it in the eye and snicker at it. So while it may or may not have a huge impact, each small step over time may eventually find us waking to a Linux powered world. That said, I think Android probably has a better chance of competing.


I'm as excited about the HP slate as I was about the iPad: Not at all. As much as I like gadgets, I just don't have a niche for these ultra-portable-online-pad thingies to fill.

Guess I'm getting old.


You're wrong and completely missing the point. These devices may not be what you or I want, but your summary of what you think makes them bad is what makes them perfect for the 90% of device users that want uncomplicated simplicity. They crave a device with a small amount of icons helping them manage their photos, music and letting them know what Jamie Oliver thinks they should have for dinner that night.

This is why they will succeed. they take the complexity of package management, installing software, managing files etc and dumb it down. "Do it as I say and don't think about it."

Damn it 90% of the time that is what I want! Unfortunately the remaining 10% of the time I want to code, I want to tinker.

A bit...

Personally, I have absolutely no idea what I should do with a device that I have to hold up with one hand while typing on the screen with the other. I am happy with my netbook and don't care too much about wasting more money.

On the other hand, everyone seems to think that tablets are soooo huge, and therefore it can't be bad if the biggest computer company in the world puts its force behind one that's at least running partly open source software. So far, unfortunately, HP hardware is not too good and definitely not sexy or "magic". Let's see if that changes...

Immensely uninteresting

What I need is a versatile tool. This is not one.
A nice small netbook is that much better, IMO - these slates just look clunky to me.

I Love Linux but...

If it "Looks too different", "you have to be a geek to operate it", or "it wont run the popular applications", then the Windows or OS X people will look at it in curious fascination but Windows users will buy netbooks and Mac users will Buy iPads. Linux Users will buy it , if they can hack it and put they're favorite distro on it.

I would like to have a pad DAW

I spend a few hours each day commuting by bus. If the android or HP pads could run similar apps to those I use with Ubuntu Studio, it might be a good music production tool to have around.

No go

I can't see HP doing well with this. As noted by many above, HP do not have a great consumer record outside of Printers and Calculators. If they make it cheap enough (in line with the perception of the quality of their hardware) then those that want a genuine media consumption device will look at it.

Apple (unfortunately) has succeeded in becoming the bling thing company for any upwardly mobile wannabee - despite the many obvious failings of their bling things!

WebOS (from all reports) is a nice mobile OS and HP could possibly produce a new Crackberry replacement for the Corporate geek sheek - except that what is the point!

As for Android - Google are a scary organisation that WAY to many people trust and are as 'closed/secret' as any 'open' organisation can be! I would prefer to look at any other viable mobile Linux solution first.

I travel lots in my work so I want two things, portable communications that allows me to do lots of other useful things whilst traveling (N900 - brilliant device for this and Maemo/MeeGo Linux) and a real laptop that is suitably portable - my tool of choice is Fujitsu laptop/tablet (T2010-3G, running Ubuntu and Fedora).

Both of these devices provide a good mix of 'do anything, anywhere' and portability.



I do honestly get that point and I know people who are like you described, so they'll go and get one but still lug their laptop around as well but then tell me how convenient their slate/iPad is!

The thing I don't get is why you'd get one of these over a smartphone when it does the same thing but is smaller and can make calls.


I think this is a great move for HP. They have taken a while to start to support open source though. The only other comment i have on this is that Im against WebOs's. Living in a rural community (in aus) means that i can only access Internet at home. Free as in freedom should be free to have your choice on where your files are, and have the Freedom to not have them stored on a server somewhere in china.
(ps. The ceo's last name is fitting)

Found this comment on the

Found this comment on the web, it made me laugh: Get an Etch-a-sketch. Same size, Cheaper, and the batteries don't run out.



couldn't be less excited


The Register is The Sun or the Daily Mail for IT.


Why all the fuss with iPad and Hp-slate? I have a Palm T5, doe`s everything I want, and it`s touch-sreen as well. I also have a phone.
The iPad is to expensive for what it can do. It`s only a another gimmick, that I can do without.

HP Slate OS

I just demo'd an HP Slate with Windows 7 running on it - the Pro version, not the "lite" home version. I have also attempted to use an iPad, but its lack of a real OS is a problem.
I will admit upfront that my use for a tablet is very specialized... I am a university instructor who uses tablet technology in the classroom. I have been using a Lenovo convertible tablet (X61) for a couple years.
The iPad cannot run any software that I need to run in the classroom, either MS Office or OpenOffice, or any of the more specialized applications that I use, such as geographic information systems software. There are also no applications/drivers that will allow me to connect the iPad to our networked projectors.
The Slate will do all of these, and I was surprised at how well it did. To HP's credit, the Slate is a sturdy tablet... someone in their design group was successful in getting them to move away from the plastic. Even though it is an Atom processor, it is a reasonably speedy one (1.8), and they put in 2 Gb RAM.
All in all, the Slate functioned very well, and I even used it inappropriately as a "desktop" computer using its cradle (dock), with USB and Bluetooth externals and an HDMI monitor. It's performance was quite good.
My only complaints, which I am sure are form factor issue, is that I"d like to see 4 Gb RAM as an option, and an optional larger SSD (it come with 64 Gb, I wold like to see 128 in the near future). A few more ports would be useful, but I plugged a USB hub into it and it worked fine. (Hey - HP... USB3?)

One or two other things

I forgot to address the WebOS version of the Slate. I'm not sure how useful that would be for me, as it may have the same limitations as the iPad (running what is essentially a phone OS without the ability to run standard computer software). Also just saw something on ZDNet about the NavBook Slate, which looks very similar to the HP Slate, with some extra ports (no HDMI but does have VGA, a potential plus for many users), added USB ports on the unit (HP has 3 counting the cradle, NavBook has 3 on unit)... NavBook does not have any info that I could find on battery life. The HP Slate will run for about 4+ hours of continuous use... less than an iPad, but I found it adequate for my needs in the classroom and on the commuter train.
NavBook Slate also runs Windows 7.

Slate with Win7 or Android

Since the Slate has a full Win7 Pro installation on it and a 64GB ssd drive, what's to prevent dual booting it with the Linux distro of one's choice. For that matter, if one chose to do so what would prevent wiping the Win7 install entirely and replacing it with one's preferred Linux distro? It has the ability to boot from CD, has multiple USB 2.0 ports, HDMI for larger screen, and 2GB of RAM.

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