Random Thought: What does the new HP Slate 21 say about the current state of computing?

BY Stefan Constantinescu

Published 25 Jun 2013

Hewlett-Packard, better known as HP, trades the title of “world’s largest PC maker” with their Chinese rival Lenovo seemingly every other quarter. The two are neck and neck, trying desperately to capture value in a market that’s being attacked by these newfangled devices known as tablets and smartphones. It’s not just that tablets and phones are easier to use than computers, but they’re also cheaper, far more portable, and they’re gaining in popularity because Microsoft has failed to deliver an operating system that interests developers.

So with that in mind, let me present to you the HP Slate 21.

http://youtu.be/IZrnquRZijE

The Slate 21 is a 21.5 inch 1080p computer that’s powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 4. Gone is Intel, they’ve now been replaced by one of the many chip makers out there who license ARM’s processors. And more importantly, Windows isn’t anywhere to be found on the Slate 21. Nope, you’re going to have to put up with Android, an OS that isn’t even designed for desktop computing.

So how much? Just $399. Yes, you read that right.

Now I’m not an expert, but when the world’s largest PC maker decides to launch a computer that uses the exact opposite forumla of success known as “Wintel” (Windows on Intel), then what does that say about the current state of computing?

I get it, the Slate 21 is a one off product meant to test the waters, and it’s likely not going to be a big seller. But still, the fact that it was thought up in a meeting room, brought to a product planner, and then formally announced should have Microsoft absolutely terrified.

It would be arrogant of me to tell you that I know what the computing landscape is going to look like in five years, but I think something tectonic is taking place when companies like HP have to come out with products like the Slate 21 in order to get attention from the media.