The HP ElitePad 900 tablet, announced earlier Monday, comes with a screen resolution below what's required to run Snap, a unique feature that allows two apps to be viewed simultaneously.
The tablet, intended for business users and due to be released in January, features a 10.1-in. display with a 1280-x-800-pixel resolution. However, Microsoft requires a 1366-x-768-pixel resolution for the Windows 8 Snap feature to work.
HP explained the shortcoming in a news release footnote that reads: "The integrated display resolution is below the threshold for Snap, a Windows Store interface feature that allows two Windows Store applications to be viewed simultaneously. This feature may be enabled by attaching an external 1,366 x 768 or higher resolution display.
The shortcoming was dubbed a "fatal flaw" of the tablet in a PC World story, although HP apparently decided that Snap won't be a critical ingredient for users of the ElitePad. Pricing for the tablet has not been announced, and some analysts speculated that HP was holding down the expected price with a lower resolution display.
In a statement emailed by a spokeswoman, HP said Snap does not currently support Outlook or business applications, even though it will be "a convenient tool for consumers in the new Windows 8 interface.... HP's extensive focus group and human factors testing with customers over the past decade has dictated our product design. This research has indicated customer preference for a 16:10 ratio in a tablet form factor due to usability and comfort (the slightly wider design balances better on the forearm), the wider viewing angle and ideal display of legacy applications."
Microsoft's own Surface and the Samsung ATIV, both running Windows RT, will have high enough resolutions for Snap, as will the Windows 8 Dell Latitude 10. Analysts are still awaiting pricing on many of the Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, although some said the lowest priced Windows RT tablets will be above $500, with Windows 8 tablets much higher.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.