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HP's Slate To Be Replaced By WebOS Tablet? 170

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the mondays-can-be-so-boring dept.
itwbennett writes "Last week the rumor mill was rumbling about the demise of HP's Slate. 'This past weekend brought fresh rumors to the surface,' writes blogger Peter Smith. 'Now the insiders are saying that the Slate will be reborn as the HP Hurricane, and it will run WebOS. That makes perfect sense given HP's recent purchase of Palm and HP's declaration that they were 'doubling down on WebOS.' More surprising is the rumored launch date of Q3 of this year, which seems like a pretty fast turn-around. Particularly so if HP ditches the Atom and goes with an ARM processor, which Electronista suggests it would have to do.'"
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HP's Slate To Be Replaced By WebOS Tablet?

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  • Last Week (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheKidWho (705796) on Monday May 10, 2010 @11:51AM (#32156578)

    Last week the rumor mill was also discussing WebOS tablets. This isn't a new shocking development, this was pretty much expected the moment they bought Palm.

    • Last week the rumor mill was also discussing WebOS tablets. This isn't a new shocking development, this was pretty much expected the moment they bought Palm.

      Wasn't this the main reason cited as to why they supposedly killed of their Win 7 "Slate"? The Jolly Rancher story was more of a surprise than WebOS on an HP tablet.

  • I'm not surprised to see HP releasing something based on WebOS, but what do you all think the chances are of them taking WebOS and using it as a base to improve on, thereby creating their own version of it?

    • by binarylarry (1338699) on Monday May 10, 2010 @11:54AM (#32156638)

      I think it's going to be an also ran against Android and iPhone OS.

      • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday May 10, 2010 @12:10PM (#32156970) Homepage Journal

        It could be but lets be fair.
        WebOS has a better UI than Android.
        WebOS has Multitasking which even iPhoneOS only sort of kinda has.

        The one area that WebOS really was weak in was the SDK. The whole "javascript+HTML" thing is very limiting. The new PDK will give you access to C and some real performance and hardware access.

        From just a UI point of view WebOS is a better choice than both of those for a tablet.
        So maybe it will be a good alternative to both.

        You know this desire to have a "Standard" really isn't a good thing. There was a lot of innovation and excitement when we had Apple, Atari, Commodore, Ti, Radioshack, and goodness knows how many others fighting it out.

        When IBM came and "created" a standard the standard SUCKED. The 8088 was a terrible CPU with a terrible ISA. Systems like the Atari ST, and Amiga which where cheaper, more powerful, and offered features that MS-DOS wouldn't have for years could never compete.
        Do we really want to dismiss alternative this early in a new and important market like the mobile space?
        I mean lets be honest it would have been easy to say that the iPhone was going to be an also ran to WinCE/Mobile and PalmOS. I mean look how many devices and applications those OSs had!

        • by RobKow (1787) on Monday May 10, 2010 @12:42PM (#32157574)

          The IBM PC was more powerful than other systems at the time, and the 8088 was probably the highest performance/$ processor available, and had a better ISA than the 6800 series CPUs, IMNSHO. IBM didn't force anyone to buy PCs; they caught on because they were more powerful and reasonably priced. The 68000 was far too expensive at the time, and the inexpensive systems using it, the Macintosh, Amiga, and Atari ST, didn't arrive for another 4 years. By this time, the compelling reason to buy a PC or clone was for the huge software library.

          • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday May 10, 2010 @01:31PM (#32158522) Homepage Journal

            Not really. The 8088 in the PC was clocked at only 4.77 MHZ by that time multiple vendors where shipping Z-80s that where clocked at 6 or even 8 MHZ. The larger address space really didn't come in to play at that time since the PC ships standard with 16k and maxed out at 256k. Also 6502s at two to three Mhz where also available.
            I would also say that the it is arguable that the x86 ISA was better then the 6809.
            The 68000 was available at that time and frankly would have been fine at the HUGE price point that IBM introduced the PC.
            The Amiga and ST where every bit the match in performance for the much more expensive AT.
            The PC sold because of IBMs name. I was there and everybody thought IBM==computers.
            The PC was a TERRIBLE standard but one we got stuck with.

            • by BitZtream (692029)

              Z80 = 8 bit
              8088/8086 = 16 bit

              In modern computing ... like working with your spreadsheet, thats already a massive speed increase at the same MHZ assuming you have instructions with sane clock cycle counts.

              Clock speed doesn't mean shit, in general. I have 20mhz microcontrollers today that STILL can not keep up with an 8088/8086 core.

              • by LWATCDR (28044)

                Z80 had register pairs. You could combine to eight bit registers into one 16 bit one.
                Also you are talking about CPUs that had no FPUs anyway.
                The 8088 just wasn't that big of an improvement over the Z80 and some people would say except for that added memory space it wasn't an improvement at all.
                Frankly some would say even the expanded memory space wasn't a real improvement over just bank switching!
                The whole 16 bit think was actually a lot of marketing hype. Also back then clock speed back then meant everythi

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 10, 2010 @01:27PM (#32158456)

          I've used a Palm Pre, it's UI is slick, intuitive and a joy to use.

          Then I tried to get an SSH client, there isn't one as far as I could tell. I thought "oh that's fine I'll use VNC web access" but then remembered it's implemented as a Java applet. The browser sucked, Gmail got stuck in infinite reloading loops when it wasn't outright crashing the browser (to be fair it didn't crash the OS). I tried finding an application repository, no joy. I tried an h.264 video, no support. I looked at developing for it, then found I couldn't use programming languages, I was forced to cludge together "applications" with document mark up languages. I gave up.

          I'll stick to Android. (iPhone works but you can't help but feel like your taking it up the ass from some guy in a turtle neck)

          • by dave420 (699308)
            You only use the document markup language to create the layout. Everything else is scripted. The script itself defines which HTML is used, not the other way round. Also, h.264 works fine on my Pre.
          • by xeoron (639412)
            Was it doing that with the full-blown version of gmail or the mobile version?
          • by Funk_dat69 (215898) on Monday May 10, 2010 @03:08PM (#32160094)

            I have SSH running on my Pre. If you get 'Preware' installed on you phone (some guides over at precentral.net), use that to install the console and command line utilities. An SSH client is included in that.

            (I can even use a VPN app to tunnel into my work network to check on some machines if need be :)

          • by MobyTurbo (537363)

            I've used a Palm Pre, it's UI is slick, intuitive and a joy to use.

            Then I tried to get an SSH client, there isn't one as far as I could tell.

            There are two command line ones, DropBear and OpenSSH, in homebrew.

            I thought "oh that's fine I'll use VNC web access" but then remembered it's implemented as a Java applet.

            VNC clients are available, either via PalmOS emulation (they work fine) or via Linux framebuffer apps. Hopefully they'll work on getting X11, which is also available and works with remote X11 protocols, to cooperate with some VNC app soon for those who don't want to run one in "Classic", the emulator.

            The browser sucked, Gmail got stuck in infinite reloading loops when it wasn't outright crashing the browser (to be fair it didn't crash the OS).

            You were trying to view the desktop Gmail in a mobile browser?? That's bound to have usability issues on any phone. Besides, the email client s

        • When IBM came and "created" a standard the standard SUCKED. The 8088 was a terrible CPU with a terrible ISA. Systems like the Atari ST, and Amiga which where cheaper, more powerful, and offered features that MS-DOS wouldn't have for years could never compete

          To be fair, DOS was only IBM's blunder in the selection of what they bought for Microsoft (and how Microsoft managed to mangle it into it's later states). The 8088 was chosen because the better 8086 was too expensive (and anything better than that was astronomically expensive), and the ISA bus allowed the easy creation of various add-ons for the PC which helped make it the dominant hardware platform pretty quickly in an era where such things were not decided by "gee, does it run Windows?"

          But otherwise, I

          • by LWATCDR (28044)

            I was talking about the Instruction Set Architecture when I used ISA. The ISA buss wasn't terrible for the time but they should have use the S-100 buss since it was a standard already. Of course IBM also reversed the gender on the serial port adapter from the standard and then used the serial port gender and a DB-25 connector for the parallel printer port instead of the standard Centronics printer port..

            And had no dedicated arrow keys on the keyboard and a messed up keyboard layout.

            The truth is that PC was

            • I was talking about the Instruction Set Architecture when I used ISA. The ISA buss wasn't terrible for the time but they should have use the S-100 buss since it was a standard already.

              No they shouldnt have... it would have marginalized that bus (cheaper peripherals and such).

              The truth is that PC was thrown together out of spare parts and bits. IBM used the 8088 because they already used it in the Display writer!

              Not according to IBM and Intel. The added cost of a full 16bit bus, support chips and of course the CPU made it too expensive to consider.

              The PC was really at test balloon. IBM was seeing if people would buy a PC from them. If it sold then IBM was going to make their REAL PC! The PC sold too well and IBM was stuck with it. Think about it. Do you think IBM would have created the PC. The one that would become that standard and use. 1. An Intel CPU. 2. An Operating System from Microsoft?

              Yes, I think they would have. No... I'm sorry, I should rephrase that. They HAD to as they were still under a consent decree with the government.

              I mean really? IBM? You think that IBM would create the standard PC that was so easy to clone that everybody and their dog could clone it? Even better clone it and make Intel and Microsoft rich and not pay IBM a dime?

              See consent decree above for part... and then take into account revenue on patent licensing. Some of those patents are still being licens

              • by LWATCDR (28044)

                "Not according to IBM and Intel. The added cost of a full 16bit bus, support chips and of course the CPU made it too expensive to consider."
                Which is why they where using it in the Display Writer. The 8088 at this time was pretty much a failure well if not a failure it was just sort of their. Even the 8086 was just sort of their with little interest. The present was the Z-80 for business and 6502 for home. The future was going to be the 68000, Z-8000, and 32032.

                "Yes, I think they would have. No... I'm sorry,

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        I think it's going to be an also ran against Android and iPhone OS.

        That all depends on how nice this WebOS tablet looks, feels and works. Customers have already shown that they're willing to give up some of the niceties of a "real OS" for look and feel, so it really just comes down to how nice the tablet looks and if it feels nice in the hands and if you can do some zoomy stuff with your fingers on the interface.

  • by ArhcAngel (247594) on Monday May 10, 2010 @11:59AM (#32156736)

    I put my money on Palm having a Pre-production (pun intended) version of a WebOS tablet ready to go and just needed a sugar daddy to pay for manufacturing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ephemeriis (315124)

      I put my money on Palm having a Pre-production (pun intended) version of a WebOS tablet ready to go and just needed a sugar daddy to pay for manufacturing.

      HP has probably been playing around with tablet designs... Palm has probably been playing around with tablet designs...

      I doubt if it would take too much effort to grab one of those designs, shine it up a bit, and throw it into production. Even if they have to switch to a different CPU.

      • by WillAdams (45638) on Monday May 10, 2010 @01:10PM (#32158130) Homepage

        HP has a _very_ long history of creating tablets --- datingway back to, e.g., the HP OmniGo 100 which ran GEOS and had Graffiti:

        http://www.thocp.net/hardware/hp_omnigo100.htm [thocp.net]

        And they purchased Compaq whose TC1000 hybrid Slate design has yet to be equalled:

        http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/11429_na/11429_na.HTML [hp.com]

        Someone has to take over tablet leadership now that Fujitsu has dropped slates....

        William

      • Plus, while the "WebOS" design does have its downsides, the fact that most of the guts are either stock-ish linux, or mostly standard javascript and web stuff running on webkit likely makes porting pretty easy(and it isn't as though there is a huge installed base of native applications to hold them back, yet). I'd assume that Palm has had an x86 version running from day one(heck, they probably started development on x86).

        HP has the option, depending on whether they value time-to-market or battery life/BO
      • by Svartalf (2997)

        I don't think they'd need to even switch to a new CPU, save for power consumption reasons (a switch to a Cortex-A8/A9 SoC will quadruple the battery life for the tablet and either minimally impact the performance over the Atom (A8) or boost it (A9)...)- the stuff's mostly Linux with the WebOS UI and PDK layered on top of it.

        This means you can actually have an Atom based WebOS tablet out of the gate if they so chose.

  • HP Hurricane? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darth Snowshoe (1434515) on Monday May 10, 2010 @12:05PM (#32156884)

    Could they pick a tackier or more insensitive name?

  • Dear HP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fredrickleo (711335) on Monday May 10, 2010 @12:28PM (#32157332) Homepage

    Dear HP,

    Please release a WebOS rom/image/update/etc for all the Palm TX's and other Palm devices that are already out there but probably not being used on account of stagnant OS software and applications.

    I believe many of these devices are capable of running WebOS and you could create a community almost overnight. I'm sure I'm not the only geek looking at my TX wishing I could use it in some meaningful capacity again.

    • Re:Dear HP (Score:5, Funny)

      by medcalf (68293) on Monday May 10, 2010 @12:38PM (#32157502) Homepage
      I'm just amused at the image of the business meeting where that would be proposed. I had a director once whose reaction would have been: "That's very interesting, out-of-the-box thinking. Now get back in the box!"
    • by radish (98371)

      Would WebOS even fit in the TX's 128mb flash? Or 32mb ram? It's a nice idea but the specs on the older devices are so far behind the Pre it seems kind of unlikely to me.

    • Re:Dear HP (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ProppaT (557551) on Monday May 10, 2010 @01:00PM (#32157926) Homepage

      WebOS doesn't run the best on the Palm Pixi. Dropping down to an older gen CPU with a slower clockspeed would probably be nearly unusable, especially with the low RAM of those older devices. Even if this did happen, the performance would be poor and they'd have to disable things that really MAKE the OS, such as multitasking....

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bhtooefr (649901)

      Right. Because, you know, a company that sells hardware is going to spend tons of cash porting WebOS to a 5 year old PDA.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by fredrickleo (711335)

        The arguments regarding RAM are legitimate but it wouldn't take tons of cash to port the OS. It would likely just take a few Palm engineers with intimate knowledge of the TX hardware and webOS (the same people perhaps? who knows).

        To me it seems like the driving force behind whether any of these mobile platforms succeed is whether there are applications and developers. HP is in a unique position because there are already a ton of Palms in the environment and they could leverage that to their advantage. If su

        • by alen (225700)

          are they still at Palm? i've read that Apple stole a lot of Palm people when they started iPhone development

  • by fredmosby (545378) on Monday May 10, 2010 @12:31PM (#32157408)
    I think this is a good move for HP. The slate would have been the same as all the tablet pc's that came before it which basically failed in the market. A web OS tablet might be a decent competitor to the iPad.
    • by norminator (784674) on Monday May 10, 2010 @12:52PM (#32157804)
      I never understood why Balmer acted like anyone should care that he was introducing the Slate, when tablets had failed for years, and this was just another one (other than the fact that he was trying to preempt the iPad announcement). Now, the irony is that the tablet that he introduced to the world has turned to vapor before it could be released, and MS's lame attempt to steal Apple's thunder is being reborn in a device that may actually steal some thunder from Apple and a lot of thunder from MS, running a non-MS operating system (the only way it can really work right as a tablet).

      I'm sure Balmer would like to pretend that it doesn't exist now. I'm looking forward to reading his dismissive comments about it (the sure sign that it's going to be a success) after it's officially announced.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MikeFM (12491)
      Without a lot of work I just don't see Android or WebOS as a competitor against the iPad. About the most they can hope for is to be a cheaper alternative which may get sales but will still leave them as also-rans. People that buy a Visio tv from Walmart would buy them but would lust for an iPad. The iPad is buggy and the available software is mostly inflated iPhone apps and buggy, if you can find it at all, just released stuff and I still love the darn thing. You can just feel the potential radiating from
  • by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated AT ema DOT il> on Monday May 10, 2010 @12:34PM (#32157434) Journal
    Prior to having been given a G1 over the weekend, I didn't think very highly of Android OS. It strongly reminded me of the Windows Mobile scene I was involved in when I had my WinMo devices (Treo 750, HTC Excalibur/Raphael), which was anything but pleasant. However, as I spend more time with the device, I am constantly growing fonder of it. It's very versatile, extremely expansive and, in my opinion, is a mobile OS that actually has the potential to double as a useful and appropriate OS for tablet computing.

    With that said, how does WebOS stack up against Android? On the whole, is it a stronger or weaker OS, and how much more difficult is it to develop for? I haven't yet tried making apps for the Android, but I've heard that it's very straightforward.
    • by gobanjoboy (1808424) on Monday May 10, 2010 @01:13PM (#32158174)
      They are both built on top of Linux. I agree with you, that Android feels more like a Winmo style interface. I find WebOS to be more elegant and less computer like.

      WebOS SDK/PDK supports : HTML5(HTML/css/javascript) | c/c++
      Andriod SDK/NDK supports : Java | c/c++


      I can at least say that WebOS is super easy to develop for.
      • by MrCrassic (994046)
        I said that I had that impression before I started using it. After a few days, the resemblances between them mostly faded away except in a few small areas. For one, a bone-stock Windows Mobile ROM is far from attractive. The most attractive thing about it is its honeycomb Start menu, which looks incredibly dated amidst all of its alternatives, which lay its applications right in front of its user. Another big difference is that WinMo has barely any support for multi-touch out of the box; hell, it's not even
  • by d3xt3r (527989) on Monday May 10, 2010 @12:50PM (#32157774)

    I think it was obvious from the start that the Palm acquisition was all about WebOS and tablets, not smart phones. Anyone else see this purchase and cancelation of Slate as a huge setback for Microsoft? It's basically a public admission by HP that Windows can't cut as a tablet OS.

    HP just broke their direct dependence on Microsoft for an emerging market for a good reason: Microsoft's failure to produce an innovative user interface for tablets.

    • Anyone else see this purchase and cancelation of Slate as a huge setback for Microsoft? It's basically a public admission by HP that Windows can't cut as a tablet OS.

      Windows may not be able to cut it as a consumer tablet OS, but it does just fine on actual Tablet PCs, thank you very much.

      *Scribbles on Thinkpad tablet and giggles* :D

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday May 10, 2010 @01:38PM (#32158660) Journal
      I suspect that that is part of it(which is certainly an ice burn, since poor old Bill Gates has been chasing tablet computing since back before Steve Jobs got booted from apple); but I suspect that there is a secondary factor:

      Margins/differentiation. IIRC, HP is, by volume, the largest mover of generic wintel crap in the world. For all that, they make fairly modest amounts of money, and most of the good margins are in their high end stuff and consulting services. This is largely because, if you ship Windows boxes, you basically don't have any differentiation potential. You can do a little bit of case styling, or ship a bit of your own shovelware; but not much else.

      If this were just about Win7 sucking at tablet, HP would have gone with Android. To get WebOS, (and Palm's people), cost them 1.2 billion dollars. Android would have been free. Even if there is a de-facto cost associated with being Google's special friend and development buddy, which is certainly possible, it is probably a lot less than 1.2 billion. However, if they had shipped an Android device, they would have been just another android device maker, wholly undistinguished. Given that they paid a good bit of cash for Palm, I'm guessing that they don't want that.
    • by goombah99 (560566)

      Exactly. And even if this webOS fails to catch fire for HP, the fall back to google Android is just as bad for them. Microsoft needs to corner the low power device OS market before Google closes the door. On the other hand if HP does succeed at a middling level then it's actually good for microsoft in a way. It will mean the non-ipad world will be running a mixture of OS's and there will be no settled standard. This will give breathing room to others like say 1) microsoft, 2) symbian, 3) maybe even OLPC.

  • *nix wins on mobile (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fermion (181285) on Monday May 10, 2010 @12:52PM (#32157802) Homepage Journal
    The upshot of all this seems to be that MS, and really full proprietary software in general, has long the mobile market. After all these years of being told that OSS software is dangerous, inefficient, and defective, we are at a point where the mobile phones mostly run on software on which at least some layers are at least derived from OSS. Even Nokia, which is suing the hell out of anyone that looks at it funny, has Symbian and Qt.

    Which leaves RIM, which has good solution for business and has a large market of consumers who want to look like important business people, and the dwindling share of Windows Mobile, some reports indicate a 50% drop in market share since fall of last year.

    The fact that iPhone is more closed that some people want causes pain, but would you rather have a company like MS suing everyone that uses OSS software on the mobile platform? I think we can just celebrate that with Google and Apple producing good products using OSS, we can stop wasting time on the Open versus Proprietary debate, and just produce many different good products from which people can choose.

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      I think that, even though the iPhone is closed, its still based on open-source FreeBSD. So its still running on open-source code.

      If only it was still open. Ho well, still if it hadn't appeared and created the new smartphone market, we wouldn't have Android, so it'll all turn out ok in the end.

    • Sorry, but how you manage to see the success of the iPhone as a victory for the OSS community is beyond me.

      The platform itself is as locked down as they come, only runs on Apple approved hardware (their own), only allows Apple approved software to be installed through Apple approved channels, written using Apple approved tools.

      The fact that iPhone is more closed that some people want causes pain, but would you rather have a company like MS suing everyone that uses OSS software on the mobile platform?

      C

  • Obligatory (Score:4, Funny)

    by iluvcapra (782887) on Monday May 10, 2010 @01:10PM (#32158120)
    It's just a big Palm Pre? What a ripoff! /sarcastic
    • Re:Obligatory (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MikeFM (12491) on Monday May 10, 2010 @02:06PM (#32159152) Homepage Journal
      I'm sure somebody will say it and mean it. It's pretty funny that geeks think that way. It just shows how disconnected they are from what the average consumer wants. With all the bitching about the iPad I've decided that what the average geek wants is a Model M keyboard with a green on black screen that sticks awkwardly from the top so everyone can see they are running Linux. It'd probably have a separate battery that hung from their belt and connected by a thick rubber cord. Half of them wouldn't know how to do anything useful but they could feel proud that the device is fully opensource and be happy that everyone could see how uber elite they are. They'd try to get their grandma to switch to their nerdpad because she wouldn't have to use any nasty user-friendly multi-touch interfaces controlled by the man. And they'd probably wank to ascii porn.

      Yeah - so I think the rest of us will avoid the nerdpad and stick to nice devices based off user-friendly designs such as iPhone OS and maybe even webOS and Android (although they, especially Android, has a touch of the nerdpad still there).

    • by NiteShaed (315799)

      you've got it backwards, the Pre was just a little tablet. Think prototyping, it was a scale model for a future product.....which explains the build quality :-P

    • You know, I never did understand that criticism. "Why would anyone buy a 21" monitor? It's just a big 13" monitor!"

  • . . . out of their product by removing Intel's processor and Microsoft Windows? Well, there you go.
  • webOS, not WebOS (Score:2, Informative)

    It's webOS, lowercase "w."
  • ...and I really hope they put something - anything - on it besides Windows 7. The hardware is actually pretty nice - standard USB and SD card slots and a dock with more USB and an HDMI port.

  • While not directly related to HP's tablet plans, there has been something that I've been wondering about to the point that I've almost submitted an Ask Slashdot article about.

    Is HP back? More specifically is HP back as a decent producer of consumer products?

    For those who might be younger there was a time when HP's consumer end products were bad. Further as a company they looked as if they were all about marketing and not the actual tech behind what they produced. They were still a 500 lb gorilla in the m

  • HP is going to compete with the iPad one of these days. That "slate" thing never made it past the vaporware stage but their next vaporware device will do it. Yeah, right.

    Here's my prediction: they'll be a day late and a dollar short and finally ship something that isn't really even competitive. It'll be unreliable, and their customer support will be typically useless. These devices will end up being sold at a big discount on Woot! as refurbs.

    This is the company that knowingly shipped defective laptops and

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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