Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard, with a little help from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, showcased their much-ballyhooed tablet PC, dubbed Slate, at CES Wednesday night. But the device is being ridiculed hard by Apple fanboys in the blogosphere who say it has nothing on Steve Jobs' latest creation and is not so much a tablet as it is an attempt from Microsoft and HP to save face.
"The demo was pretty anemic, only showing a clunky Kindle application and fumbling around a video application which clearly didn't work like it was supposed to," wrote Seth Weintraub in a post on 9 to 5 Mac titled "Microsoft Gives a Weak Preview of HP Slate." It asked, "We wonder if anyone was calling this a "slate' a month ago?"
The much-anticipated HP tablet PC, powered by Microsoft's operating system software, is a direct strike against Apple, which is expected to unveil its own tablet computer in the next several weeks.
"Me suspects that Microsoft really has nothing under the hood of that thing and it will spend the next 9 months trying to clone whatever Apple unveils at the end of the month as if they had it first," wrote an Apple fan on 9 to 5 Mac . "Get those copy machines warmed up MS (Microsoft)!"
"All the Slate announcements at CES have been done out of fear: 1. Fear that Apple would get to market first, or 2. Fear of revealing an inferior product just before Apple's announcement," wrote another Apple zealot on 9 to 5 Mac . "The lameness of the HP Slate announcement is the result of fear #2. Microsoft is afraid of announcing an inferior, clunky device to the world just weeks before the Apple product is announced. So they'll wait until late January before cranking up the Apple-copy machines."
"The 'pre-emptive strike' against the Apple tablet turned out to be a pre-emptive dud," wrote an Apple fan who calls himself Tundraboy on Apple Insider. "And instead of stealing Apple's thunder, the Windows Slate actually helped by lowering the bar for the Apple tablet. It also confirms that the (Microsoft) Courier was just what critics said it was - vaporware. Another brilliant tactical move by Mr. Ballmer."
"Apple = Company that has spent years, nay, decades funneling money and resources into a secret slate project with a perfectionist mind set, unwilling to release any information regarding the mystery product until it's absolutely perfect," wrote another Apple fan that calls himself Santoanderson on Apple Insider. "Microsoft = Company that reads rumors that Apple will release a mysterious slate device some time next year. Puts less time, and less resources into their product, steals the name of Apple's product, and jumps out of the gates early, displaying a shoddy prototype in apparent hope to steal Apple's thunder, or make the claim that "theirs was first."
Meanwhile, the rumors are flying about Apple's own tablet offering. In a post on the Cult of Mac with an alleged photo of the Apple tablet, the Web site reports that one tipster says the Apple Tablet user interface is going to "be different enough from OS X or the iPhone OS to require a significant learning curve."
That said, as the Cult of Mac points out, "Only Apple knows" for sure.