This is one for the “I Find This Rumor Extremely Hard to Believe” file: Michael Arrington of TechCrunch is reporting that a source has told him that HP has decided to cancel its “slate PC.” You know–the one that was the centerpiece of Steve Ballmer’s CES keynote and which HP was trumpeting as recently as three weeks ago.
It’s not implausible because deciding not to pursue the project is itself inexplicable. Arrington says that HP is killing the slate because it’s unhappy with Windows 7 as a tablet operating system. But it was obvious from the get-go that Win 7 as it stands really doesn’t make much sense for a slate–all the extra touch capability that Microsoft baked in still leaves Windows as a keyboard-and-mouse-centric OS with, um, a touch of touch. And there’s been no evidence to date that Microsoft is interested in doing the necessary work to make Windows a good touch-centric product. There’s no way that a Microsoft slate could have compete with Apple’s iPad unless someone put an immense amount of work into the user interface.
Back at CES, Steve Ballmer didn’t seem that interested in Windows on slate devices. The Windows product manager I talked to at the show didn’t seem that interested. I haven’t noticed a clamor among consumers for Windows slates. Really, most of the enthusiasm so far seems to have come from HP, whose seems to have found reasonable success with its TouchSmart machines. Could it have been so giddy over the idea that it had to build one before it figured out that the idea didn’t make a lot of sense?
And with other news today including the official termination of Microsoft’s “Courier” project, just where does would the cancellation of the HP slate leave Windows when it comes to untraditional PCs?