As most of you know I am a PC person and most likely will continue to use the personal computer until I am laid to rest. I do however have a deep respect for Apple and its products. The Apple iPhone is an excellent example of technology at its best and the MacBooks are a superior computer to many on the market. So being a PC person comes down to money, plain and simple.

As many of you are aware, Apple rumors have been surfacing all week about the company coming out with its own tablet computer possibly in March, 2010. So on Wednesday when Steve Ballmer from Microsoft showed a new HP tablet running Windows 7, there were those who criticized Microsoft for being late to the party. The new tablet was met with yawns and the attention turned back to Apple.

FastCompany stated:

Among other hardware, Microsoft did make special mention of the emergent category of “slate PCs.” And, just as Brian Lam and Kara Swisher had earlier noted, Steve Ballmer concentrated most on a quick demo of that small HP-made slate. From scrutinizing this demonstration we can conclude it’s a 7-inch (ish) device with capacitive multitouch display and decent enough processor to run Windows 7 pretty well.

At second glance we can deduce a bit more about the hardware: It’s thicker than you might have expected–chunkier even than the ill-fated CrunchPad–which probably relates to the more powerful netbook-like hardware inside needed to run Windows 7 without sacrificing performance or battery life. There seems to be at least one port, which doesn’t seem to be a USB one. And there’s a power switch.

Hmm. That’s not much more. By watching Ballmer himself juggle the machine during the keynote we learned one more fact: Finding Windows 7 controls on the tiny screen wasn’t easy, even for the man in charge of the whole company (who should presumably know his way around the gear!). That went for big controls like the Media Player “play” button as much as the tiny “close window” icon. And that, I’m afraid, suggests that an unadulterated Windows 7 experience on small slates like this won’t make for fabulous user interactivity. It is, in fact, going to be very much the opposite of the intuitive UI demonstrated on MS’s own Courier research project slate PC.

The smallish screen is going to make Windows 7 hard to use. The alleged Apple tablet may be 10″ in size, which make more sense. But since little is known about either the HP tablet nor the Apple tablet, it may be early to make a valid decision on which will be better. Or is it?

What do you think? HP or Apple for your tablet? Or is it neither?

Comments welcome.

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