Home / News / Laptop News / Tablets Crushed: HP Kills Slate, Microsoft Cancels Courier

Tablets Crushed: HP Kills Slate, Microsoft Cancels Courier

Gordon Kelly


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...


Via Gizmodo

Via TechCrunch


April 30, 2010, 6:55 pm

HP made sauce didn't they?

Peter 20

April 30, 2010, 7:09 pm

All HP had to do is put Ubuntu Remix or even Android on the slate and they would've had a nice little alternative to I-Pad. If they managed to bring the price down to half of what I-pad costs they would definitely had a winner. Not sure the scrapping of the entire device was a good move.


April 30, 2010, 7:15 pm

tablet + uncrippled android (ie. with all the standard android apps and no cosmetic changes while making an effort to keep it up-to-date so it can support flash, froyo ect.) = win, win, win


April 30, 2010, 7:16 pm

The Slate news is not in the least bit surprising. Any tablet that uses a desktop OS is destined to be a niche, rather than mass consumer product. Maybe that wasn't what HP were aiming for.

The Courier news is disappointing though. A Microsoft OS, built from the ground up for a tablet device. It looked so promising... pity.

Like you say, it seems the lithe and limited iPad will be the template from which all future tablets are drawn.


April 30, 2010, 7:57 pm

Courier would only have been slated for having a resistive screen anyway.


April 30, 2010, 8:11 pm

I'm not too surprised about Courier, though I am disappointed. MS has issues building new operating systems. Think of just how long WinMo 7's took and how much it was delayed - and they had a previous version to build on there. I really don't think they could have managed to release a Tablet OS written from scratch in any reasonable timeframe, and I strongly suspect that lies behind their decision.

I very much like what I've seen of WebOS, and I hope HP release a slew of devices based on it.

Tim Sutton

April 30, 2010, 8:16 pm

Cheer up Gordon! Fewer tablets is a good thing, really.

Tablets are pants at pretending to be computers, and like you said, shoe-horning a version of an existing O/S onto a tablet just exacerbates the problem.

Bring on the i7 4GB smartphones say I. Combining a phone with a full featured portable PC is the destination, tablets are a wrong turn down Irrelevancy Avenue.


April 30, 2010, 8:51 pm

What's unambitious is thinking you can quickly slap some two-bit application layer on top of a full desktop OS, bung it in the oven and come out with a responsive and engaging touchscreen UI. For all Apple's boasting and misdirection at the 2007 Keynote, it's clear iPhone doesn't just run OS X and that over time that gap between it and the metamorphosis into iPhone OS become ever more apparent. Seems there's a little more to it than just replacing the cursor with your finger (hence that criticism of Flash). I'm seriously worried that deep into 2010, we're just gonna be treated to XL versions of the dreadful Archos 5.


April 30, 2010, 11:34 pm

such a shame about the courier, i was blown away when i first saw it. It hit the ipad for six. Such a revolutionary product would sell like hotcakes. Looks like microsoft doesn't think we are ready for it yet :(


May 1, 2010, 5:37 pm

It was microsoft that wasnt ready for it yet. It was just some clever vapourwear that was meant to hold some people off from deciding on getting the ipad.


May 2, 2010, 12:59 am


It had capacative touch + stylus which works on capacative screens.


May 5, 2010, 4:45 am

Courier is so much better an idea than the ipad. Gates would never have dropped it.

comments powered by Disqus