HP Slate to run WebOS, or not.

After the release of the Palm Pre and Palm Pixi, along with the critically acclaimed Palm WebOS, there were all kinds of unanswered questions about the products' future after Palm was bought out by HP. According to DigiTimes, at least one of those questions has been answered. HP will be taking full advantage of Palm's WebOS in their upcoming tablet device, the HP Slate.

This is pretty surprising news, considering that the Palm acquisition isn't complete yet. Many, including Engadget, are skeptical of the claims that HP already has rights the WebOS IP, and blame Digitimes for being vague about singling out the Slate for a WebOS release. The article says "HP will adopt the WebOS platform in smartphones and tablets," and only mentions the Slate at the end. This ambiguity could lead readers to believe either way, but Engadget emphasizes that HP would never be able to announce such a plan, even it was actually happening, before the lawyers are done with the purchase.

That being said, Monty Wong, vice president of personal computing systems at HP Taiwan said that the OS will only be released for tablets, and that there are no plans to release the OS in a netbook or other similarly sized device. He said that netbooks are closer to notebooks than they are to tablets, at least in terms of functionality, and WebOS isn't optimized for a notebook platform. Many were expecting the Slate to ship running Windows 7, but that was before HP acquired Palm and WebOS.

The Slate is due to market near the end of October, and it is HP's attempt to compete with Apple's iPad. Engadget picked up a nice little comparison chart distributed to HP employees showing the competitive advantages and disadvantages of the Slate and the iPad.

Image courtesy of Engadget

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Do you trust your copier? A gaping hole in document security uncovered

Next Story

US Cyber Command approved for launch in October

30 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Wow, a lot of hate for something that does WAAAY more than the Ipad will ever do. Of course the batter life will be lower, when it can already do flash, multitasking, and allows you to edit and do whatever to almost any type of document... This is a mobile pc, the Ipad is a big mobile nonphone.

shakey said,
Wow, a lot of hate for something that does WAAAY more than the Ipad will ever do.

But does it? The device isn't available for purchase.

This is definitely going to be WebOS..

Whatelse could it be? i mean you buy palm for WebOS and not use it? comon neowin.. change the heading.......

I believe if HP market this product well, and get the developer community on board........ this product will be a winner.. im not saying it will kill iPads to come.. - but certainly will make a dent in the market..

First of all HP should let palm design the tablet. Their designs look far better than HP's typical boring design.

All hp should do is stick their name of the product, do the advertising..and have their fingers crossed !

dimithrak said,

First of all HP should let palm design the tablet

This sentence makes no sense. After the merger, HP IS Palm.

Joshie said,

This sentence makes no sense. After the merger, HP IS Palm.

How can it make no sense? it maybe just you..

What was meant by that - People who work in the palm design team should design the product and not HP's current design team.. - Make sense to you now?

I might have bought a Slate with Win7, but I wouldn't dream of touching one with WebOS.

As it appears that all WebOS applications are just local browser apps written in Javascript of all things, perhaps they've just recompiled WebOS from its original ARM hardware to ATOM based hardware. If that's the case, maybe they'll offer consumers the choice between the OSes, or failing that, someone will find a way to hack on a proper version of Win7.

One can hope anyways.

Xepol said,
I might have bought a Slate with Win7, but I wouldn't dream of touching one with WebOS.

As it appears that all WebOS applications are just local browser apps written in Javascript of all things, perhaps they've just recompiled WebOS from its original ARM hardware to ATOM based hardware. If that's the case, maybe they'll offer consumers the choice between the OSes, or failing that, someone will find a way to hack on a proper version of Win7.

One can hope anyways.

It is called WebOS afterall.

MarenLBC said,

It is called WebOS afterall.

Which currently runs on ARM hardware. I assume they'll have time to recompile and do exhaustive testing between now and then - since the concept of completely replacing the hardware in the same time frame is probably fraught with more traps and pitfalls.

Still, one wonders how the average webos app will handle the suddenly varied hardware environment (higher res screen)... I'm kinda suspecting that the current crop of apps aren't really ready for it yet.

Xepol said,

Which currently runs on ARM hardware. I assume they'll have time to recompile and do exhaustive testing between now and then - since the concept of completely replacing the hardware in the same time frame is probably fraught with more traps and pitfalls.

Still, one wonders how the average webos app will handle the suddenly varied hardware environment (higher res screen)... I'm kinda suspecting that the current crop of apps aren't really ready for it yet.

WebOS has apps? Last I checked, they were useless games.

Operating System and apps make it a huge plus for the iPad. Windows 7 and it's countless programs are not touch ready or designed for a touch interface. Well, 7 is, but that is minor compared with what you want to do. I can see the Office ribbon being more touch friendly though.

ccoltmanm said,
Operating System and apps make it a huge plus for the iPad. Windows 7 and it's countless programs are not touch ready or designed for a touch interface. Well, 7 is, but that is minor compared with what you want to do. I can see the Office ribbon being more touch friendly though.

I don't know about OS. Anyone can customize Windows to look bigger and more finger friendly (grab your nearest netbook, set the DPI to 150%, and put shortcuts and widgets all over your desktop for an idea of how the interface COULD look). For finer points to touch, a stylus is NOT an inconvenience, no matter how much of Jobs' koolaid you drink.

As for apps, you're right. Every iPad app will be designed for touch. It's only weakness is that touch apps are still a very young market, and ergonomics generally suck hard. It's still filled with gimmicks and instances of using multitouch when one finger can often do the exact same job far more efficiently and easily. Different apps from iOS to Android are filled with experimental gestures that try to be somewhere between using a mouse and reading a book (flip left, flip right, double tap, etc).

P.S. Hey multi-touch developers, instead of all this greasy swiping, why not try something cleaner like the old mouse gesture: tap and hold your right finger and tap left to go back, tap and hold left and tap right to go forward, like web browser click gestures.

ccoltmanm said,
Operating System and apps make it a huge plus for the iPad. Windows 7 and it's countless programs are not touch ready or designed for a touch interface. Well, 7 is, but that is minor compared with what you want to do. I can see the Office ribbon being more touch friendly though.

I beg to differ. I am able to get by with my ASUS T101MT

As soon as more lightweight touch apps are made, Windows will do just fine. But seeing how most third party apps are junk to begin with, it makes that argument moot.

Frylock86 said,

I beg to differ. I am able to get by with my ASUS T101MT

As soon as more lightweight touch apps are made, Windows will do just fine. But seeing how most third party apps are junk to begin with, it makes that argument moot.

I would put the number of installed programs on your ASUS against my number of apps anyday. My point is, we can do more with the iPhone than a laptop when it comes to touch programs and usability in programs. Minus the internet, your laptop would suck.

Frylock86 said,

I beg to differ. I am able to get by with my ASUS T101MT

As soon as more lightweight touch apps are made, Windows will do just fine. But seeing how most third party apps are junk to begin with, it makes that argument moot.

Windows has been on tablets for close to 15 years and not one device has had the success of the iPad so that should tell you all there is to know. Consumers don't want a touch based Windows, they want a device that enhances their computing via touch not just one that replaces the mouse with their hand.

ccoltmanm said,
Operating System and apps make it a huge plus for the iPad. Windows 7 and it's countless programs are not touch ready or designed for a touch interface. Well, 7 is, but that is minor compared with what you want to do. I can see the Office ribbon being more touch friendly though.

I was definitely very vocal about my disgust that the iPad wouldn't be running a full blown OS like Mac OS X when it was announced. But the comparison presented in this article "Netbooks are closer to Notebooks than tablets" can be extended to "Tablets are more like smartphones than notebooks".

Potentially there will be a Windows 7 Slate (unless there is one already, that I'm not aware of). I'm not talking about about a tablet that comes with a keyboard and trackpad, but a stand-alone slate device. I can imagine that if there were Windows 7 installed on a touch only device, you would have users trying to use programs not designed for it and being frustrated about their "user experience."

I think that HP are going the right direction if it turns out that they will be using WebOS (although I'm not very familiar with it). However, I also think that anyone "late to market" will have a hard time catching up with Apple's lead without some very solid brand name recognition. It's going to take a Google or Microsoft branded device to compete, I'm afraid... Too many licensing deals to pull through specifically for electronic book and magazines. We will see...

MarenLBC said,

Windows has been on tablets for close to 15 years and not one device has had the success of the iPad so that should tell you all there is to know. Consumers don't want a touch based Windows, they want a device that enhances their computing via touch not just one that replaces the mouse with their hand.

Touch on Windows is no different that touch on the iPad. Most of the respectable apps out there are perfectly capable of touch as well.

That said, tablets for the last couple of years were running Windows XP, and Windows Vista, which weren't really built for touch input, but Windows 7 is, and works pretty darn well.

Frylock86 said,

Touch on Windows is no different that touch on the iPad. Most of the respectable apps out there are perfectly capable of touch as well.

That said, tablets for the last couple of years were running Windows XP, and Windows Vista, which weren't really built for touch input, but Windows 7 is, and works pretty darn well.

Touch on Windows 7 is nowhere even close to touch on Android or iPhone OS as it is only touch aware and not built based around touchscreen computing. For one, it is very sluggish, the onscreen keyboard is horrendous, it isn't intuitive, too many tiny icons, not finger friendly, and lastly all it does is replace your mouse with your finger. Consumers do not want to replace the mouse with their finger when it comes to slate devices, they want an entirely new experience and that's what Apple understands.

MarenLBC said,

Touch on Windows 7 is nowhere even close to touch on Android or iPhone OS as it is only touch aware and not built based around touchscreen computing. For one, it is very sluggish, the onscreen keyboard is horrendous, it isn't intuitive, too many tiny icons, not finger friendly, and lastly all it does is replace your mouse with your finger. Consumers do not want to replace the mouse with their finger when it comes to slate devices, they want an entirely new experience and that's what Apple understands.

Well put. Just because it may work for some people doesn't mean it will be a good experience... A finger may function as a "pointing device" but there needs to be more to it than that in order to have a rich user experience with intuitive UI elements.

Edited by Shadrack, May 24 2010, 9:46pm :

MarenLBC said,

Touch on Windows 7 is nowhere even close to touch on Android or iPhone OS as it is only touch aware and not built based around touchscreen computing. For one, it is very sluggish, the onscreen keyboard is horrendous, it isn't intuitive, too many tiny icons, not finger friendly, and lastly all it does is replace your mouse with your finger. Consumers do not want to replace the mouse with their finger when it comes to slate devices, they want an entirely new experience and that's what Apple understands.

Seriously, is this the new Fox-style talking point? "Replace the mouse"? Cuz please, for the love of crap, tell me one single solitary gesture used in iPad web browsing that doesn't exist in Windows 7. Just one. ANY one.

Shadrack said,

Well put. Just because it may work for some people doesn't mean it will be a good experience... A finger may function as a "pointing device" but there needs to be more to it than that in order to have a rich user experience with intuitive UI elements.

There is. Hand gestures can be found in Windows 7. The touch introduced with Windows 7 is more than "Using your finger as a mouse".

Joshie said,

Seriously, is this the new Fox-style talking point? "Replace the mouse"? Cuz please, for the love of crap, tell me one single solitary gesture used in iPad web browsing that doesn't exist in Windows 7. Just one. ANY one.

It's not about gestures it is about the simple fact that nothing in the Operating System is designed for touch and that goes for Mac OS X, Windows 7, and Linux. Windows 7 may have the same gestures but it still has the small X at the top right, still has a file menu, still has the small start button and start menu, and etc. It's basically Windows that you can touch as opposed to Android and iPhone OS which are designed for your fingers from conception. You don't have to worry about file menus, small x's, start menus, and etc. because these things have been implemented in a way that is complemented by the touch capabilities. The way I navigate my photos, listen to my music, navigate maps, read books, peruse my contacts, and more is superior on the iPad than on any computer I have ever used. You may disagree but I have used Windows 7 touch and it pales in comparison to the iPad, Android, and WebOS because mobile computing is not its strength. Windows 7 is a desktop OS with touch capabilities which makes it unfit to compete in the market with dedicated mobile OS'.

MarenLBC said,

It's not about gestures it is about the simple fact that nothing in the Operating System is designed for touch and that goes for Mac OS X, Windows 7, and Linux. Windows 7 may have the same gestures but it still has the small X at the top right, still has a file menu, still has the small start button and start menu, and etc. It's basically Windows that you can touch as opposed to Android and iPhone OS which are designed for your fingers from conception. You don't have to worry about file menus, small x's, start menus, and etc. because these things have been implemented in a way that is complemented by the touch capabilities. The way I navigate my photos, listen to my music, navigate maps, read books, peruse my contacts, and more is superior on the iPad than on any computer I have ever used. You may disagree but I have used Windows 7 touch and it pales in comparison to the iPad, Android, and WebOS because mobile computing is not its strength. Windows 7 is a desktop OS with touch capabilities which makes it unfit to compete in the market with dedicated mobile OS'.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBtEhQqS1dw

MarenLBC said,

It's not about gestures it is about the simple fact that nothing in the Operating System is designed for touch and that goes for Mac OS X, Windows 7, and Linux. Windows 7 may have the same gestures but it still has the small X at the top right, still has a file menu, still has the small start button and start menu, and etc. It's basically Windows that you can touch as opposed to Android and iPhone OS which are designed for your fingers from conception. You don't have to worry about file menus, small x's, start menus, and etc. because these things have been implemented in a way that is complemented by the touch capabilities. The way I navigate my photos, listen to my music, navigate maps, read books, peruse my contacts, and more is superior on the iPad than on any computer I have ever used. You may disagree but I have used Windows 7 touch and it pales in comparison to the iPad, Android, and WebOS because mobile computing is not its strength. Windows 7 is a desktop OS with touch capabilities which makes it unfit to compete in the market with dedicated mobile OS'.

I could once again bring up increasing the farking DPI to 150% to address your issues with the start menu, and if you seriously think the start button itself is tiny in Windows 7, you're off your rocker. There are far smaller things we're expected to poke at in Android, and I dare you to hold your Android phone up to your PC monitor and do an actual size comparison between buttons on the two.

And FYI, to say that NOTHING in Windows 7 is designed for touch is like wearing a big stamp on your forehead that says "I've never used Windows 7". A crapload of GUI elements in W7 were reconfigured specifically to be touch-friendly. The very PRESENCE of multi-touch and gestures themselves are, inherently, evidence of "designed for touch". Most notable? The GUI element we interact with the most: the superbar. If you really, truly, honestly cannot see how W7's new taskbar is a boon to touch users, then you've simply been consumed by bias.

To even put W7's touch capabilities on par with Linux and Mac OS are an insult to Redmond's efforts, as anyone who isn't blinded by a religious disdain for tablet PCs would at the very least be willing to admit that Windows 7 is the most touch-friendly desktop OS available today, surpassing Mac and Linux.

Edited by Joshie, May 25 2010, 5:21pm :