HP just popped a video of CTO Phil McKinney demonstrating the "slate" we showed you first at CES 2010. McKinney affirms that this is not just some will-o-the-wisp, but in doing so, might've taken away some of its allure.
The highlight of Steve Ballmer's slate introduction was the different modes—ebook reader, movie player—you can quickly jump to. But then and now, the story is really Windows, and those modes are just apps, running with the Start menu and all the familiar Windows accoutrements in full view. Being powered by Windows 7 is great, but I am not sure how I feel about this approach. What we see here is a Windows 7 desktop running a browser and a NYT app (aka another browser). I still think it's cute, but I think everyone would agree that the hardware is not the story—smoother software is needed to make the tablet lifestyle palatable.
It's still early, and knowing HP's TouchSmart team, something is in the works, at least a nice skin. McKinney promises to deliver the product "in 2010," and for a price that's "in the affordable range," that is to say, much less than $1500. I'm not even going to guess. Here's hoping that HP and Microsoft can pull off an impressive product of their own, to rival Apple's as-yet-unseen frontrunner in this battle of vapor and wills. [HP on YouTube]