Ballmer demos HP slate PC running Win7

Well, the rumor mill was right: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer did show an HP tablet device during this evening’s CES keynote. The announcement wasn’t quite the Apple-upstaging tour de force some were expecting, though.

Tacked on at the end of Ballmer’s presentation, the slate’s public appearance lasted barely three minutes. Ballmer actually demonstrated the HP device alongside two other prototypes from Pegatron and Archos, both representing the same new category of devices dubbed “slate PCs.” The HP prototype got special attention a little later, as Ballmer showed it running Windows 7, paging through a book in Amazon’s Kindle application, and playing back video in Windows Media Player. A short promotional teaser ad was also shown:

The ad doesn’t show much, but that pinching motion at the end seems to hint at multi-touch capabilities (as opposed to a more conventional touch screen). Ballmer said nothing of specifications and pricing, adding only that the device will be available later this year. You can see some press renders from HP and a couple of images from the conference in the gallery below.

If we were to hazard a guess about the hardware, we’d say the HP slate PC has a display size around 10″ and an Intel Atom processor inside. Windows 7 plus the apparently snappy performance seem to rule out any type of ARM hardware, at least. Those attributes, the bright display, and the thin form factor may also rule out particularly long battery life, however.

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    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 10 years ago

    ohh!! an UMPC with Windows 7.

    MSFT, 2006 called and want their PC form factor back!

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 10 years ago

    I think all tablet makers are not thinking things out. If they wanted to make the most of a produce, they should be thinking of who would be using it. If I was to make one, I would target the school crowd. Imagine a whole classroom full of kids following a lecture using a tablet that has multiple functionality – text, video and connectivity. But also thinking home-school where the kids would use a tablet instead of a piece of paper. Do some writing work, then time for vocabulary, take it and find a comfy chair and study. Need to take a test, no problem. Connectivity to grade tests, see progress reports. I mean, c’mon, how hard is it to do that with all the technology we have available?

    A laptop is fine for that, but a tablet would be so much more portable, no more books and crap like that, just take the tablet and go.

    That is what MS and HP should have done and then they would have blown the market open. Starting for the ground up they did, my ass!

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      Pretty much everything you said is based upon software to do it. I’m not saying there’s everything exactly like you said but I know from family members there is a whole lot of educational software and a drive to use technology generally in the ways you said. Now maybe they should market it a little more in that direction but this device is still a good way off.

        • SomeOtherGeek
        • 10 years ago

        Yea, of course, it is – it is my wet dream! When two giants of a company collaborating, they have more than enough money to make it work. I guess, they just don’t have the smarts. Most likely, it is not instant money.

        You should look at ALEKS, it is all java based and it does everything a person needs to know about math. Line tracing, problem solving, showing solutions and all that stuff. Pretty powerful stuff. Of course, there is a little learning curve to use the software. But people are learning to use a computer and if a school says we learn it this way, then people will learn it.

      • liquidsquid
      • 10 years ago

      The “textbook conspiracy” will kill this. If publishers cannot extract $70 a book from a student, they will fight until death to prevent it from happening.

      And you know darned well that 50% of students out there will find a way to crack any book encryption so they can instead spend that money on beer and black lights.

      -Mark

        • SomeOtherGeek
        • 10 years ago

        Of course, you are right. Everything is about money. So, the publisher charge 70 bucks for the eText. The publishers will make even more money cuz there is a lot less overhead.

        Of course, they will crack it, what is new? They do it now. It is all over the web and most of it is legal.

      • shaq_mobile
      • 10 years ago

      thats a gross use of funds in the right direction. schools will never spend their money that well. theyll continue to hire uneccessary personnel and spend too much money on aesthetic issues instead of spend it on actual education and assets that would benefit learning techniques. i know way too many teachers that could care less to think that school is anything other than a place for adults to be employed after giving up on life. okay well maybe thats a bit harsh… but about 75% of the teachers i had couldnt give less of a crap about their jobs. they showed up just often enough not to get fired, used the same recipe curriculum and discouraged any sort of attempts to remodel the learning system. its become a unionized money pit. the teachers had several different break and staff rooms, each with televisions and partial kitchens. our dean of students and ‘security monitor’ were caught having an affair by the STUDENTS. its clear to me that our school system is failing. it has nothign to do with funding (at least where i’m from).

        • MadManOriginal
        • 10 years ago

        Unnecessary personnel, maybe, but the first place school funding should go is more teachers. Technology is merely a tool to learn but shouldn’t be seen as some kind of education savior. Less administrators, folks with advanced degrees who got them just to ‘move up’ and other hangers-on I agree with and I hope that’s what you meant.

        I’m not sure why you’re so harsh on teachers though. Some are like that but most really do care.

          • SomeOtherGeek
          • 10 years ago

          Well, I was not thinking that the educational system should buy these things, but more of parents buying it for the kids.

          I know the educational system sucks as that is the reason, I home school my kids. They get the best education in a non-stress environment. Of course, they have me to give them the best technology can provide.

          It all depends on where the school is, if it is a poor school, teachers tend to be careless, but in rich places, like mine (sorry, not bragging, but it is THE ONLY reason I moved to this area) where schools have the best teachers who do care.

    • eitje
    • 10 years ago

    So, I’ve been using Motion tablets @ home for years. Am I just seeing a netbook-style tablet PC here?

    • End User
    • 10 years ago

    Microsoft gets an F for not even attempting to may a proper UI for a mobile device.

    The slate should have been introduced by HP with an OS specifically designed for mobile devices (Moblin looks good but tweaked for touch).

    • shaq_mobile
    • 10 years ago

    i dont know if i would ever use soemthign like this. its basically a smaller laptop that you HAVE to tote in a bag or youll rape the screen…

    its a cool idea, tablet pc’s, but i dont really see what ill use them for. im sure theres a market for them somewhere, they just seem like more of a gimmick than anything else. most of this new technology does in alot of ways. smartphones seem like a phone with about 50 gimmicks tacked on. when people pull out their phones and try to make you watch youtube videos on the 3 inch screen you just want to punch them. “look i can pour beer and shoot a gun on my phone!”. there are some cool things you can do with them, but they all seem like ultra luxury items.

    then again, maybe im just not important enough to find a smart phone useful. imo, if i was one of those people who has to care about their email enough to get it on their smart phone, i would avoid that as much as i could anyways. honestly, who wants one less reason to feel free from work?

    back to the brick phone.

      • Veerappan
      • 10 years ago

      One feature that definitely isn’t a gimmick: GPS+Maps.

      I have found my phone’s mapping/location capabilities extremely useful several times in the past when I was in transit between two points. Sometimes I’d be out on the town, get a call from a friend that said I should meet them at Point X. All I had to do was plug in the name or address to the map application, tell it to find me directions from my current location, and then follow those directions. Much easier than trying to get someone to dictate directions that are likely wrong because they forgot a street name, or can only navigate by landmarks…

        • designerfx
        • 10 years ago

        it’s the definition of a standard feature now. Thus, showing it as “special” is indeed gimmicky.

    • TechNut
    • 10 years ago

    Interested folks might want to look at these links for more information on the HP Slate,

    §[<http://www.thenextbench.com/t5/Voodoo-Blog/HP-Slate-and-Android-Netbook/ba-p/51982<]§ §[<http://www.electronista.com/articles/10/01/07/hp.slate.and.android.smartbook.in.works/<]§ The screen size will be 8.9" for the first release ....

    • Hattig
    • 10 years ago

    Lots of factors to consider here.

    Firstly, the release date. Apple’s rumoured device is meant to be out in March, whereas the Windows 7 Slates appear to be coming out later in the year.

    Secondly is the cost. Apple’s product could be using cheaper hardware with longer battery life (ARM based), but will have the Apple profit margin tacked on top. Then again the PC slates will not be razor-thin margin devices initially either.

    Thirdly is the usability. I am almost certain that Apple will be leveraging Cocoa Touch enhanced for larger displays. It’s likely that it will run iPhone apps, when updated for higher resolutions and larger displays. This gives the device rather a lot of dedicated applications straight up.

    On the other hand, Microsoft will have some software that is well targetted at a tablet, like OneNote. Hopefully the Windows 7 UI can be fully operated by fat fingers, which might require a UI theme where buttons, etc, are larger. That could break apps. Certainly many desktop applications won’t be applicable for (nor targetted at – e.g., Photoshop) Slate use.

    Let’s see what the on-screen keyboards are like as well. And docks with keyboards/mice/USB ports. And performance. And specs. And price.

    If Apple release a tablet, and if they’ve put the work into the UI that they did into their other products, then they will have at least a minor hit on their hands. I’m still to be convinced of the market for tablets, but if anyone can do it, Apple can (with Windows 7 Slates hitching a lift).

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      ‘This gives the device rather a lot of dedicated applications straight up.’ Now while I understand what you’re saying about ‘dedicated applications’ I think it’s kind of funny to seem to negatively compare a closed app ecosystem to the variety available to a full OS.

        • leor
        • 10 years ago

        very few general applications will properly support all of the multi touch commands, and may not be very user friendly for a small screen tablet.

          • thecoldanddarkone
          • 10 years ago

          The commands work just fine, their is a slight weakness in user interface (it’s actually fairly polished), but a bigger weakness in applications, even though the sdk was released a long while ago (windows is a double edged sword when it comes to that). That being said their are few apps that work fine with multitouch and the apps in 7 itself work well with multi/touch.

    • DrDillyBar
    • 10 years ago

    Give me one of those multi-touch mice, please.

    • Skrying
    • 10 years ago

    Dear Microsoft,

    The HP slate you showed at your CES event today confirmed once again you don’t understand why products like the iPhone or your very own Xbox 360 succeed. The key is providing an all in one product that was designed from the bottom up to function correctly. Instead what you’ve shown today that you’re willing to let the desktop version Windows be on every product out there even when it is the worst possible decision. The market at large wants an “experience.” That means not only great hardware designed for the purposed functionality but it wants great software designed for the purposed functionality. Windows 7 is a great desktop and laptop OS. But it is not a slate OS, not even close. It will be miserable there when I can’t input and have shown to me what I expect because Windows 7 was designed for a mouse, not my fingers.

    Sometimes it is the wise decision to not enter a market at all. Sometimes it might be a wise decision to take your time and be second to market. Sometimes it is wise to create a new market with a device that’s has serious time put into creating that great experience. But it is NEVER the wise choice to shove a product into the market that is half baked in order to be first ahead of your competition, because the market will simply wait on the competition and the competition will have the better product.

    Sincerely,

    Concerned Consumer

      • KoolAidMan
      • 10 years ago

      Nailed it nailed it nailed it

        • thecoldanddarkone
        • 10 years ago

        Before I nail you both to the wall, have either of you actually used a win 7 tablet pc with multitouch?

          • ssidbroadcast
          • 10 years ago

          I made the mistake once of plugging in a Bamboo tablet, and Windows 7 did some /[

            • thecoldanddarkone
            • 10 years ago

            yea, I could see how that is annoying.

          • Skrying
          • 10 years ago

          Yes. I’ve used it on a HP tx2z a few times. Me and the person who owns the HP laptop agree that it’s nothing to write home about.

          I actually quite like convertible laptops. However, those are NOT slate computers. They have a keyboard and a touchpad and when you throw it into tablet mode OneNote is awesome. If I didn’t have that keyboard and touchpad I wouldn’t want it. The device is severally handicapped because the VAST majority Windows apps I’d have to use (Outlook, web browsers, media players, etc) are NOT designed for touchscreen only use.

          A device with software interface and a SDK with developers lined up with blow my mind. What Microsoft did was so predictably Microsoft it’s almost tragic at this point. It’s nothing at all new. We don’t even get a fancy skin. We get a slate with Windows 7 on it. Boring and a horrible product. Call me, and basically everyone else, both unimpressed and a bit depressed. I want good products.

      • Voldenuit
      • 10 years ago

      I’m willing to bet Minwin will figure large in the slate market, if not at launch, then shortly afterwards. Microsoft has worked hard at improving the customisability and compactness of the win7 kernel, and there is no reason not to use win7 for a slate as a result, with added (and deleted) functionality compared to the regular desktop version.

      I for one don’t want to have to mess with different apps, licenses and compatibility issues between my desktop and portable windows devices (Windows CE iterations anyone?).

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 10 years ago

      This post is so on point it could pop like a balloon.

      • shank15217
      • 10 years ago

      Yea this product will fail pretty bad.

      • Fighterpilot
      • 10 years ago

      What a load of bollocks.
      Windows 7 was designed and coded /[

        • jdaven
        • 10 years ago

        Lol! I love the smell of a MS fanboi whining in the morning. Okay, I’ll bite. Why don’t you please provide a link or some evidence to this statement that windows 7 was designed from the “start” for multitouch.

      • Voldenuit
      • 10 years ago

      PS Apple did not wait to enter the phone market with the iPhone. At launch, the iPhone did not support MMS, Video calls, Flash and to this day does not support sim access profile or multitasking, both of which have been available on competing products for a while now. That hasn’t stopped it from becoming a runaway success.

      Moral: the trick is to identify the core requirements of the target market.

      Or in a catchier fashion: It is better to compete than complete. :p

        • Skrying
        • 10 years ago

        Microsoft didn’t even come close to identifying the core requirements of this market. They’ve been trying to start up this market for years now and failed miserably. Windows 7 does nothing meaningfully new. The multi-touch features in Windows 7 are not even close to being enough to start it now.

      • StashTheVampede
      • 10 years ago

      This post pretty much highlights the culture of MS: corporate driven.

      Microsoft *should* create another wholly owned subsidiary that focuses on the consumer and launch products from that brand.

        • stmok
        • 10 years ago

        l[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSAXEVXvNz8<]§ Trying to be cool and exciting just doesn't work for Microsoft. Its a facade that we can all see.

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 10 years ago

    Yea, it was not a wowee experience. If they wanted to do that, they should have showed that you can take a credit card and place it on the screen and viola! order some new ebooks. Oh well…

      • Stargazer
      • 10 years ago

      “they should have showed that you can take a credit card and place it on the screen and l[

        • wesley96
        • 10 years ago

        He probably meant

        d) voilà

        Sorry, my pet peeve. 🙂

          • Stargazer
          • 10 years ago

          Touché
          🙂

    • FuturePastNow
    • 10 years ago

    At last, a true successor to the TC1100.

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