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Tablets Crushed: HP Kills Slate, Microsoft Cancels Courier

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The iPad is just a big old iPod touch according to nay sayers - but clearly building a decent tablet is much harder than it looks...

Today sees two tech behemoths pull the plug on their highly anticipated entries into the tablet sector: Hewlett Packard's Slate and Microsoft's Courier.


Arguably we're most depressed about the Courier, since it seemed a genuinely inventive and exciting product which could have revolutionised mobile computing and user interfaces in general. Here's the Microsoft Corporate Communications VP Frank Shaw's explanation:

"At any given time, across any of our business groups, there are new ideas being investigated, tested, and incubated. It's in Microsoft's DNA to continually develop and incubate new technologies to foster productivity and creativity. The "Courier" project is an example of this type of effort and its technologies will be evaluated for use in future Microsoft offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time."

As for the Slate HP hasn't come out with anything official, but according to TechCrunch the PC maker simply wasn't happy with Windows 7 as the foundation for a touchscreen experience. This sounds very reasonable since, while powerful, Windows 7 clearly isn't a finger friendly UI much in the same way that Mac OS X wouldn't be on the iPad.

More interestingly, however, is whether the decision has come on the back of HP buying Palm earlier this week? Given HP's reference to the power of webOS enabling HP "to participate more aggressively in the fast-growing, highly profitable smartphone and connected mobile device markets {emphasis my own}" I'd suggest this is highly likely.

With Android also due to make a number of appearances on tablets before the end of the year (and surely Windows Phone 7 in 2011) it seems the form factor has now largely been swayed in favour of adapting more nimble, yet limited mobile OSes rather than trying to redesign and strip down desktop platforms. It's logical, if a little unambitious...

Links:
Via Gizmodo
Via TechCrunch

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