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The mobile web universe just keeps expanding. Hewlett-Packard became the latest maker to join the party following the release of its Slate 500 tablet in October. We see the Slate as further evidence of our changing computing patterns and the strength of the mobile app industry.
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HP Slate vs iPad
The Slate, which will run the Windows 7 operating system and will be limited to Wi-Fi access only, is targeted almost exclusively to business professionals. Though its not likely to remake the mobile market or be an “iPad/iPhone killer,” the Slate does provide an interesting perspective on the future of mobile computing.
The Slate is most definitely more laptop than iPhone. It contains several features that are not included in Apple devices such as a USB port and Adobe Flash capability. Will this turn out to be a seismic shift in the tablet industry toward the functionality we are used to in our laptops and desktops?
Probably not, but it does represent a sample of the pent-up demand for mobile computing. Between the Apple, Android and Slate devices, the room for growth in the mobile market is clear. A big questions remains, how each of these new devices is going to attack the market, are they going after laptops or are they considered still a completely new class of device.
According to Nielsen, in Q4 2009, 21 percent of American wireless subscribers had a smartphone, up 19 percent from the previous quarter. On average, Americans download 22 apps per device.
The Slate may not replace the iPad or even make a dent in those who already own iPhones or Androids, but its fair to say we have now moved beyond the initial phase of mobile computing. The big-bang is over and the fact that H-P thinks it can still carve a niche out of this market is very encouraging for developers.
This comes back to some earlier posts: the web is dead and how iPad is transforming the news. Other consumption-based industries are going to find more and more places where they are again relevant in the new tablet world (read this and this blog for further validation).

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