Tech pundits throw around the word "killer" far too readily, but it seems that Apple's iPad is really a "killer" tablet. So far, there have been two casualties ...
What makes the iPad a "killer"? Well, it's already killed some of its potential competition.
First to bite the dirt sandwich was Microsoft's "Courier" tablet. A two-screen folding device that was never officially announced or acknowledged, and now never will be. It's dead. Microsoft pulled the plug on the project yesterday. The reason? Well, that's not really given. but it's hard not to think that the success of the iPad, and how much momentum it's achieved.
Then there's HP's Slate. This device first made an appearance at CES in January alongside Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Now it appears to be dead. The rumored reason is that HP isn't happy with with Windows 7 as a touch OS. This was a concern of mine back in March. But it's odd that the plug is pulled on the device so late in the day because of a weakness that should have been apparent early on in the project.
Two tablets bite the dust in the same week. Coincidence? Maybe, but it's hard to shake off the feeling that neither Microsoft or HP want to go up against Apple's iPad right now, and run the risk of Zune-ing out with whatever they come out with. More than anything, the iPad brings uncertainty to the tablet market, and it makes sense for competitors to see how things pan out before dipping a toe in the water. It may be that Windows 7 just isn't up to the job (in which case, HP's acquisition of Palm makes more sense ... and we could see webOS based tablets soon), but it's hard not to see these deaths as being linked to the iPad.