iPad Killer? We can't even get an iPad challenger...

An early review of an HP Slate prototype revealed what many already suspected—the Slate is more like a slow, handicapped PC forced into a flat-panel form factor than a tablet device. Essentially, it is in fact a touchscreen netbook without a keyboard.

There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that. Windows XP, and now Windows 7-based netbooks seem to perform admirably enough in most cases. They certainly provide a more comparable experience to full-size desktop or notebook PC’s, including USB ports, Adobe Flash compatibility, and the ability to install and use the vast library of software you are already familiar with and rely on every day.

Perhaps, though, that is ultimately why HP has terminated the Slate. Maybe HP realized what the HP-faithful and Windows loyalists still deny—the iPad represents a fundamental shift in mobile computing that defies direct comparison with PC’s or virtually any other platform for that matter.

The iPad tablet is a new class of device; a device built on a mobile OS foundation and intended for a different audience than a Windows-based netbook.