The tablet, slate and pad, or Apple iPad, category is barely hatched, but the operating system wars are well worth noting.
Let's consider the moving parts:
- Apple powers the iPad with its iPhone operating system;
- Google's Android operating system will show up on some tablets;
- HP has been showing off its HP slate device, which is still a work in progress, but Windows 7 is powering the device.
Add it up and we have mobile operating systems moving upstream and PC operating systems going downstream. It's unclear what approach will be better---given most of these products are just being hatched---but depending on where the operating system is coming from there are two challenges. Can mobile operating systems do enough? Can PC operating systems slim down and become lightweight enough to work?
HP obviously think Windows 7 can do the job with its Slate. HP noted its device will support Adobe's Flash, offer a full Web experience and allow you to share images from a SD card and USB port. In other words, HP is saying the Slate will do a lot of the things the iPad can't.
Engadget notes that the HP Slate will cost $549 and have a 1.6GHz Atom chip.
The problem for all of these devices remains the same: What exactly will these devices replace? When can I chuck the laptop on business trips?
But that's a problem for another day. For now it's worth watching these operating systems stretch to be useful for new platforms.