But, will consumers care?
If past is prologue -- and in this case, my prediction is that it will be -- then the answer will be a resounding no. Consumers will continue to care about the iPad ... and very little else. Sorry HP -- it's not your fault. The simple truth is that consumers don't just care for the iPad -- they covet it! And, that means that, rightly or wrongly, all other tablets (non-iPad iPads) likely will be met with yawns. That goes for HP's Slates, Dell's tablets, Sony's tablets ... and on ... and on.
Now, don't get me wrong -- consumers will buy non-iPad iPads -- but they will do it for utilitarian reasons (and primarily because of lower cost). And, even when they do, most of them will leave the store with an "it's not an iPad" look of resignation on their face. Not because the HP Slate, or the Dell tablet, or the Sony is a lesser tablet in function (in fact, they may out-perform the iPad). Rather, simply because it is not an iPad -- in their minds, it is not as sexy -- it is not as cool -- it is not an Apple. And, let's face it -- we are in an era where everyone wants to have everything Apple -- even when Apple gets it wrong! (witness Antenna-gate, which has done little to slow the feeding frenzy). Hey, I am one of 'em -- I have had my blackberry for 10 years, and I now plan to head over the Apple store to pick up my reception-challenged iPhone 4 in the next week.
The iPad scenario -- and the steady drumbeat of followers like HP with its Slate -- feels an awful lot like 7 years ago when the iPods first came out. The iPod knocked it out of the park with consumers -- everyone wanted one ... no, NEEDED, one. And, then all the non-Apple guys followed with the promise of better iPods.
Except they weren't.
Well, that's not quite right. They may have been "better" -- but they weren't better in the minds of consumers who had been hype-notized by the Apple marketing machine and overall design aesthetic and simplicity.
So, fast forward to now. Like I said, things "feel" the same to me in relation to the iPad -- and iPad competitors (like the HP Slate).
Sorry HP, it's not your fault, but you face an uphill battle. Life isn't always fair ... especially as the population of the Apple faithful explodes.