There's a storm brewin' on the horizon, folks. Apple seems poised to set the pace when it comes to tablet computing in much the same way that the company led the touchscreen handheld market with the iPhone. This time, however, rival PC companies have time to prepare — and HP is looking to lock horns with Apple right out of the gate.
The HP Slate (modeled above by Microsoft big cheese Steve Ballmer) is the iPad's most visible contender at the moment. And what a contender it's shaping up to be, now that HP is looking to play ball at the same low price point that Apple has commit to. It's not official, though HP is making some noise that the company could sell its Slate — which features a full-on version of Windows 7 as well as a cellular connection — for less than the $630 of the equivalent iPad. When you take into consideration that the iPad doesn't feature all of the accoutrements of Apple's own OS, then HP's offer is all the more alluring.
As for other PC companies, Dell seems to think that a smaller tablet than the iPad, one that rides in with around a 5-inch screen, is what people really want. Asus and MSI are still a little shy about the whole tablet thing — especially at the prices Apple has set — though Acer, who pledged not to get involved in iPad-style computing, has come out and said that it intends to bring out "iPad-like devices" and compete in the space between computers and phones.
Still, right now the fight is between HP and Apple. Would you go for a Slate that gave you all the functionality of Windows 7, or would Apple's closed system and glossy UI keep you loyal to the iPad?