We have no reason to believe consumer tablet PCs are anything but a thick idea. At its keynote last night, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer highlighted this quite literally -- he showed off HP's forthcoming Slate tablet PC and, frankly, all we could think was, "Wow, that's a thick son of a gun."
Specific details about the prototype tablet, due to be released later this year, were left concealed in the Ballmind. But it looks like it has a 10.1-inch screen (capacitive we expect, as it was shown being fingered via multi-touch), and runs Windows 7 -- desktop, Start menu 'n' all. Sigh.
Ballmer gave Amazon's PC Kindle application some stage time as an illustration of what the Slate can do. Fo' sho', the machine makes for an adequately sized reading device, and the colour screen paves the way for graphic novel support. But honestly, does Windows 7 on a large LCD display really offer a compelling reading experience? Video, yes. Page after page of words, not so much -- it hurts the balls.
But as with all tablets, we're not getting even remotely excited until the damn things actually hit shelves. Refer to our recent feature -- Tablet PCs: Can we please calm the hype? -- for more details as to why.
In the meantime, here's a video of His Ballness and his lovely red jumper talking about tablets and more at CES:
For now we'll hand the opinion over to you. Windows 7-powered HP tablet: hot stuff, or belly button fluff? The comments are open.
More high-res PR images are available on HP's Flickr stream.