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HP Slate 2: Brilliant or Bust? 235

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-you-want-it-this-time? dept.
First time accepted submitter redletterdave writes "After being introduced in September, HP's new CEO Meg Whitman announced Oct. 27 that the company 'needs to be in the tablet business.' However, by creating a lackluster product in the Slate 2 that runs on a soon-to-be-outdated operating system, HP will surely find itself back where it started, when furious Best Buy executives demanded HP to take back their thousands of unsold tablets piling up in storage."
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HP Slate 2: Brilliant or Bust?

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  • iPad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sexconker (1179573)

    Is it an iPad? Because people won't buy it unless it's an iPad.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:36PM (#37938430)

    After being introduced in September, HP's new CEO Meg Whitman announced Oct. 27 that the company 'needs to be in the tablet business.'

    Maybe they should buy WebOS - I heard that the company that owns it wants to get out of the tablet business.

  • by yog (19073) * on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:38PM (#37938462) Homepage Journal

    The WebOS-based TouchPad was innovative, but it was over-priced. HP proved that by lowering the price to fire-sale levels and it took off. Maybe they should have priced it at about $300 as a loss leader, to build up a market for apps. Amazon's losing money on their Fire tablet, for example. Seems like a smart strategy, and they're big enough to pull it off. Just fire a few of these over-paid execs like Whitman and presto! you have plenty of money for R&D.

    Regarding this Slate: at $699 no one's going to buy this moldy old thing. They'll go with Apple or a Fire for $200 or some of the other up and coming budget Android offerings. Come on. Motorola proved that there's no market for a premium priced tablet that under performs compared to an iPad.

    And Windows 7--excuse me? Do they really pay these executives millions of dollars to make these kinds of decisions? Heck, I'll take the CEO job for about $250K (with about a $100K golden parachute) and I'll set that house in order. Re-hire the WebOS team that they just fired, develop a world class, well engineered budget tablet to take the low ground away from Apple, and stay in the market for LONGER THAN SIX WEEKS. Offer an Android tablet, too. Come on, you're a $100 billion corporation and you can afford to develop two different platforms.

    Oh, and I would keep making PC's and laptops, only make them better. More touch screens, maybe a best-in-class ultra light laptop, etc. Listen to the customers, HP. Corporate America is not dropping out of the desktop and laptop markets any time soon. Consumers don't want a Windows 7 tablet (as far as I know); they want an Apple or an Android.

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      Oh, and I would keep making PC's and laptops, only make them better. More touch screens, maybe a best-in-class ultra light laptop, etc.

      How would more touchscreens make PCs and laptops better? Touchscreens are sucky interfaces for devices that don't have a keyboard and mouse.

      • by MBCook (132727)

        I can tell you what I'd do to make HP's computers better. I'd kill 90% of their products.

        I'd like to see a big computer maker try doing things Apple style. Stop trying to be all things to all people. It may be OK for corporate purchases (although at this point I'd think people would be looking for something to replace HP since they seem so... stable), but in the consumer market it's a major pain. Two or three laptops, two or three desktops.

        Computer shopping is a major pain. Just a quick look at HP's site

        • by swb (14022)

          It may make some sense, but it strikes me that there's something inherent in marketing or pricing theory that causes businesses to have a large number of apparently superfluous/redundant products and purchasing options.

          They almost seem to need to have them to demonstrate that they have the "specific solution for you", as well as to create the complex pricing tiers that makes it difficult for purchases to choose which product suits their needs; inevitably you end up buying too much widget to get a specific f

          • by Thud457 (234763)
            One thing that was pointed out in the recent memorialization of the the late Steve Jobs was that when he was brought back to Apple, he said "Our product line is to complicated. Let's simplify it - high-end/low-end X desktop/laptop". Seemed to work for them.
            • by Pharmboy (216950)

              We are in a completely different biz, but what did wonders for us was changing our product line to good/better/best. Three levels, with economy, mainstream, and deluxe being a pimped out version of mainstream with all the options at a discount. So 3 levels, 2 assembly lines since 3rd product is just 2 with all the options.

              Whether it is with 2 or 3 levels, simplicity (but with options) makes it easier for the customer and makes them more likely to stay on your website. And obviously, the key to making mon

          • by Jay L (74152)

            I think it's that if you are control-freakish enough to make sure there is absolutely no duplication of effort or market share anywhere in the company, you end up stomping out innovation*. Free-market vs. planned economy inside the corporate walls.

            * Unless you're Apple, of course.

    • by Andy Dodd (701)

      The only reason it took off at that price point was because it entered the "impulse buy" category for many people.

      It also entered the "hack toy" category for many - Nearly everyone I know who scored a firesale TouchPad only had its stock OS as their "backup plan" - their main plan was to follow Android porting efforts for the device. That's why I tried to score a TouchPad, for example.

      Had HP sold the TouchPad with Android, they would have at least managed to stay afloat in the market... It is possible to

      • by yog (19073) *

        And you know for a fact that the Touchpad would not have sold at $200 or $250 or $300 because...?

        Everyone you know doesn't mean everyone in the market for a tablet. Several million people want to buy an Amazon Fire which is a lowly 7" tablet that doesn't even run regular Android, only a customized Amazon version, for $200.

        WebOS was not declining until they screwed up the phones (that's another whole discussion). It was innovative in its day (a year or two ago). This is my main point. Lower the price of the

        • by ArsonSmith (13997)

          "And you know for a fact that the Touchpad would not have sold at $200 or $250 or $300 because...?"

          mainly due to all the unsold auctions at that price on Ebay.

      • by MBCook (132727)

        It just proved the obvious: You can't sell a sub-iPad product at an iPad price. Why buy WebOS (not well known, no apps, slower hardware) when I can get an iPad (huge app and accessory ecosystem) for the same price? There is basically no point. If they had priced it better they'd have had a much better shot.

        I really liked an idea I read somewhere, possibly on Darring Fireball. The person suggested that HP should have just given the things away with any purchase of a HP computer over some amount (say $1000)

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      To be up front about it, she didn't really do anything for eBay, except oversee the company becoming more monopolistic and distant from their user base

      You may whine about your problem to a volunteer in our forum, but we don't really care about you or your problem, especially if we've already got our cut

      OR

      There are 4 people head of your in the help queue, average wait time, 2 hours.

      What did HP really think they were getting?

      Yeah, I don't think I could do worse as CEO at HP, either and I don't even requir

    • you can afford to develop two different platforms.

      Hell, if you engineer it right, you don't even have to build two different hardware specs. And if you're creative, you can have the guys over at CyanogenMod make a Tablet OS for you that is world class and always up to date, while you build WebOS for yourselves.

      THEN you give people a choice, and they can change their mind later and put a different but fully armed and operational OS on it.

    • by tverbeek (457094)

      I'm pretty sure I already commented on this strategy. [slashdot.org]

    • by Solandri (704621)

      Re-hire the WebOS team that they just fired, develop a world class, well engineered budget tablet to take the low ground away from Apple, and stay in the market for LONGER THAN SIX WEEKS

      The whole fire sale of the Touchpad was odd. Normally when you EOL a product, you gradually lower the price so they'll sell out over a few months. With the Touchpad, they went straight for the lowest clearance pricing, resulting in all stock selling out in a matter of days. I really suspect there's a company politics sto

    • by doomicon (5310)

      You are absolutely correct, and I'm sure a majority of HP employees see it your way. Unfortunately, Cxx's don't listen to the little people below. As they will explain that "you just don't understand the big picture". Big Picture is only 3 months long, quarter to quarter.

      Rarely do you see a leader with guts, vision, and the ability to make intelligent decisions based on a long term strategy.

      What happened to the fundamentals. Just make a damn good product, offer it at a competitive price, and offer damn

    • by bolthole (122186)

      Offer an Android tablet, too. Come on, you're a $100 billion corporation and you can afford to develop two different platforms.

      they dont have to "afford to" do that. They've already proven they dont have to: all they have to do is make the hardware available to the right people, and they'll make sure Android runs on it for free. What's not to like, from a corporate perspective?

  • by Jerry Rivers (881171) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:39PM (#37938486)

    Most voters in California could see that Whitman is out of touch with reality, but apparently the board of HP is equally out of touch. She is yesterday's player and proves it with this product.

    • But career politician Jerry "Governor Moonbeam" Brown and his 5 or 6 government pensions, owned by the unions, and who created the CA public employee collective bargaining mess in the first place, he's "in touch?"
    • Yeah, as much as anything, the question is "What was HP's board thinking?" Why did they hire Whitman in the first place? I haven't heard anything to indicate that she's qualified.

      I don't object to the idea that HP should get into tablets per se, but that doesn't mean that they should put out a tablet just for the sake of putting out a tablet. It's as though they've learned nothing from the past several years.

      I think I'm giving up on HP altogether.

      • I'm reading more about it, and it looks like their Slate 1 is doing ok in business markets-- so maybe it's not a completely stupid move.
  • by sunderland56 (621843) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:39PM (#37938490)
    Meg Whitman is just continuing her drive to make eBay successful.
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:40PM (#37938502) Homepage Journal

    This is the sort of brilliance the people of California were very nearly exposed to as a follow up to Governor Ahnold.

    Sad to see she's being clueless for millions at HP, but better than clueless for billions in Sacramento.

    I think HP should buddy-up with Google.

  • by WillAdams (45638) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:40PM (#37938504) Homepage

    Apparently the Slate has been selling pretty steadily since its announcement --- mostly to business, but Amazon is listing just 4 in stock at the moment.

    More positive and informative article here:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-33200_3-57317842-290/surprise-hps-slate-pc-is-a-success/ [cnet.com]

    There aren't that many competitors in the Windows Tablet PC slate-format since Fujitsu quit. I really wish HP would revive the form-factor of the critically-acclaimed Compaq TC-1x00 though:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HP_Compaq_TC1100 [wikipedia.org]

    which truly offered the best of all possible worlds.

    William

  • crosses fingers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by argStyopa (232550) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:47PM (#37938632) Journal

    ....for the next HP sell-off, after which someone jailbreaks the product and makes it actually useful.

  • Will not work (Score:3, Insightful)

    by inhuman_4 (1294516) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @03:02PM (#37938840)

    Windows tablets suck, period. I don't know anyone who wants one, and I can think of a reason anyone should buy one. Windows is not a low power OS, it doesn't work on low power CPU's, and it's interface was not designed for touch.

    Most people want an iPad, the poor and geeks go for Android. There is no room in the market for Windows based tablets.

    • I want one... well, I have one, and I want a Windows 8 tablet bad.

      Let me back up. I've owned Windows Tablets since the HP TC1100 [wikipedia.org]. It was a pretty good machine for its day, but it was a little large. Then I owned a couple of convertibles, including the Dell Latitude XT with multitouch screen. This was a great computer, due in no small part to windows 7. The larger task bar is a perfect size for fingers, jump lists can be accessed by flicking, adjusting DPI allows for larger buttons, and there are a number of

      • You certainly provide some good reasons why you use it, sounds a lot like how I use my netbook. Have you considered Asus Transformer? It would provide stylus, keyboard, better touch, better battery, and probably lower price. I've never used the Transformer, and obviously I don't know how well it would fit your needs, but you sound like it's target audience.

        • Yes I was very close to getting an Asus Transformer... only thing holding me back really was waiting to see what ICS will offer and I'm unsure if the apps will fit my needs. Most important is the ability to take notes and the ability to give presentations. There is one real killer app for Tablet PCs called OneNote, developed by Microsoft. It's pretty much the best note taking app out there, and I've tried them all including Evernote. So it would be hard to give up any of the features I'm used to in OneNote.
    • There is no room in the market for Windows based tablets.

      Also, there is a market for maybe six computers, and 640KBytes of RAM should be enough for anybody.

      Yes, iOS and Android based tablets are sufficient for the overwhelming amount of consumer usage cases, but that doesn't mean that there is no room for a Windows tablet.

      One thing that always irked me was the fact that there is no such thing as a true desktop replacement tablet. Overkill for OneNote, but I'm sure that I could find more than a few die-hard Mac-based graphic designers who would begrudgingly eyebal

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @03:03PM (#37938850) Journal

    HP, there is a market for a well built tablet that's not an iPAD. But not at the prices you were trying to charge.

  • Personally, I'm semi-excited about the idea of a Windows 8 transformer tablet (similar to the other asus transformers) running on an ivy bridge CPU. It could be a solid daily driver when paired with a remotely accessable desktop for the heavy lifting.

    That said, a windows 7 tablet running an atom CPU with no keyboard is rediculious. It's not a computer and it's not a tablet. It's a still-born bastard.

    Ultimately though, I'm not convinced that an iPad plus a solid Windows 8 ivy bridge laptop next year won't

  • Sounds like Texas Instruments T99/4A of 1982 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TI99/4A [wikipedia.org]

    Release date June, 1981 (99/4 in June, 1979)
    Discontinued October, 1983
    Operating system TI BASIC
    CPU TI TMS9900 @ 3.0 MHz
    Memory 256 bytes "scratchpad" RAM + 16 KB VDP (graphics RAM)

    Good looking but stood no chance against the brand new 'IBM compatibles'

    History repeats itself

  • by Fallen Kell (165468) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @03:44PM (#37939468)
    I am sorry, but this device simply won't work. I have to agree 100% with the article. People are not going to buy a device more expensive or even at the same price point of the iPad 2 without something that blows the iPad 2 away. Windows 7 on an atom most certainly WON'T do that (I know since I have attempted to do that for HTPC's). The performance will be abysmal. On top of that, Win 7 is not really designed for tablets. There is no "app store" where users can easily find all the applications they can installed on the device. And priced at the same point as the 32GB iPad 2 with 3G wireless data connectivity, it has no hope of competing. Even at $100 less, people would still buy the 16GB iPad 2 given the choice. It needs either to have twice the performance, or be priced less than the cheapest iPad 2 in order to get market-share.
  • Please pull your head out of your ass and do the following...

    Buy a iPad2, take it apart.

    Build something better at the same price point.

    Put a vanilla tablet android on it and leave the bootloader UNLOCKED.

    You will win compared to all other non apple tablets. The techies will love you because they can easily put their favorite flavor of OS tweaks on it, your regular users will love you because it's a non screwed up Android release.

    Everyone will be happy, you will make money and dominate the tablet market.

    I

  • by N!NJA (1437175) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @04:05PM (#37939766)

    Exactly year ago, when HP released the Slate 500 (the predecessor to this Slate 2), there was a lot excitement among Tablet PC enthusiasts regarding the device. the device had been hinted by Ballmer at CES, then touted by HP, then mysteriously killed by the company, then suddenly resurrected by HP. Once released, the device sold out remarkably quick and became a source of frustration to those that awaited months for production to catch up with demand. It was obvious that HP had underestimated the Slate 500's appeal. The device got mostly good reviews from its owners. But at at treat point, HP had already shifted focus to the Touchpad, which got all attention, marketing and resources.

    If you needed dual-boot capability, MS Office (or LibreOffice, like me!), Winamp, Notepad++, VirtualBox, Firefox and other Windows apps; and you happened to be into tablet computing; the Slate 500 offered you a platform to both consume media and do real work on the go....with all the amenities of laptops such USB, HDMI, SD Card slot, Bluetooth, etc. Truth be told, not cheap as a netbook, but you'd get a business-grade machine with decent durability, a docking station and a touchscreen.

    Fast forward 12 months to this Slate 2. Intel convinced HP to "upgrade" (this word, plus "innovate" have truly lost their meaning) from the original Atom Z540 used on the Slate 500, to the slower Atom Z670. Not only is the CPU inside the "upgraded" Slate 2 quite slower, but its integrated graphics suffers from some crippling driver-induced sickness that prevents the GPU from even performing at the levels of the year-old Slate 500. Not only the new HP Slate 2 got beat by its predecessor from a year ago, but it also arrived too late, as Fujitsu released a slate of similar specs (the Q550) about 6 months ago.

    I own 2 Tablet PCs (I'm handwriting this from one of them right now), but if you want to try this platform (this is not a toy), do yourself a favor and get a Tablet PC from someone else (the Samsung Series 7 Slate looks good). HP has lost its way.

  • I picked up one of the slate 500's in the spring. It's a decent enough little box, runs quick considering the processor/os - well within the expectation of what you'd want from a tablet. It's nice that I can run visio, excel and word on it and at least look at my files.. that were created on other machines.

    But, using it for actual productivity has been a problem. The pen / input setup leaves much to be desired in terms of accuracy. And I can't find a decent on screen keyboard anywhere.

  • It would be a smart move if it came with Windows 8 at a price point of $499. HP has an opportunity to create the flagship Windows 8 device if they play it right.

    If they release the device more expensive than the iPad with an old OS, it will be a failure.

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