March 10, 2010, 11:28 AM — With the iPad presale beginning in just a few days, and the clock ticking down to the much-anticipated Apple tablet finally hitting the streets, HP launched a renewed campaign for its Slate tablet PC debuted at the 2010 CES by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Each platform has pros and cons, but so far the debate seems to center entirely around support for Adobe Flash.
The HP Slate--almost by default--stands out as a more business-oriented platform, if for no other reason than its ties to the Windows 7 operating system. The iPad, which comes across more like an iPod Touch with a thyroid disorder, can certainly be used in some ways within a business context, but it is clearly designed for delivering entertainment media and information to consumers.
Comparing the HP Slate against the Apple iPad based on Flash support is like comparing a Jeep Cherokee to a Chevy Camaro based on which one supports Sirius satellite radio. In both cases the comparison is between objects with completely different audiences, based on a proprietary technology that doesn't fundamentally impact the function of the object itself.
As my PCWorld colleague David Coursey illustrates, "The Slate and other Windows 7 devices support Adobe Flash and AIR, Apple's iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, do not."
On one HP Slate video, Adobe's Alan Tam shows how the HP Slate "will access the full web, and not just a part of it." Tam demonstrates streaming video from a Web site using Flash from within the browser, Flash-based games and applications, and Web-based photo editing based on Flash. He also shows Pandora running on Adobe AIR as a standalone app.
It is accurate to say that the Apple devices do not support Flash, but rather than compelling me to forego the Apple iPad and wait for the HP Slate--which is not expected any time soon, it leads me to ask the question: "who cares?" You may have noticed that Apple has done quite well with the iPhone and the iPod Touch without Flash support. Why should the iPad be any different?