Only a few months ago HP CEO Léo Apotheker signalled the end of HP’s role in the tablet market only a couple of months of the TouchPad on sale. Their u-turn under Meg Whitman seems to be continuing, however, as the company have announced the HP Slate 2 – an 8.9″ tablet running Windows 7.
Windows 7 was never designed as a touch-enabled OS, and whilst the Slate 2 may run speedily enough on its Intel Atom Z670 CPU – the battery life and usability will not match that of the iPad 2 (or even the TouchPad in all likelihood). It will be a niche tablet for business users that for some reason do not want an iOS or Android device. These problems aside, what does come out of this announcement is HP’s desire to re-enter the tablet market, and be able to get a foothold in it with a Windows 8 device once Microsoft launches its touch-focused OS (built to be more like Windows Phone 7 than its desktop counterpart).
This Windows 7 slate may be awkward and running a less the touch-perfect OS – but it is more a signal to the industry and to investors that HP has rejoined the race – something we should all welcome.