The HP Slate 500 has had a pretty rough road so far. GBM co-founder Rob Bushway got his hands on the device and was not pleased with it at all. He summed up his feelings with a headline that simply reads “HP Slate 500 Tablet PC – Don’t Waste Your Money.”Rob didn’t like the device’s build quality, slow processor or carrying case. The inking experience was horrible, with the N-trig digitizer to blame. You can read Rob’s full review over at starzmart.comWhen GottaBeMobile got started, Rob focused almost exclusively on Tablet PCs and has reviewed countless tablets, so anyone considering the HP Slate 500 should consider his words before buying one.In the age of iPads and Android tablets, it’s easy to forget about Tablet PCs. While I really enjoy my iPad 2 and look forward to the Honeycomb ecosystem maturing, there are a lot of folks that want or need Windows applications and full desktop browsers on their tablets. There are of course compromises no matter which direction you take when it comes to tablets, but it’s very disappointing to hear that HP let a tablet of such low quality out in the wild.Table PC/Android only “The laptop is so limited,” Mehta he said as he stood against the wall of a crammed Los Angeles subway car, watching an episode of “Modern Family” on his tablet. “But everything you want to do, this thing does.”So long, laptop? Not quite. But in just over a year, the tablet era ushered in by Apple Inc.’s iPad has upended the personal computing world.Manufacturers believe sales of tablets will eclipse those of laptops in the U.S. by next year. Retailers are beginning to set aside more space for tablets, shrinking display room for other computers. Microsoft Corp., whose fortunes are still largely linked to the PC, saw its largest one-day stock drop in two years last week on declining software sales.As for netbooks, industry executives say those downsized laptops are toast, as consumers opt for tablets instead.”What the tablet did was completely cannibalize the netbook,” said Michael Hurlston, a senior vice president at Broadcom Corp., the Irvine company that supplies microchips to many of the largest computer and tablet manufacturers, including Apple.Hurlston noted that sales of tablets were growing nearly three times as fast as those of laptops.Worldwide, manufacturers are expected to sell 50 million tablets this year, up from 19 million in 2010, according to research firm Gartner Inc. In 2012, that number is projected to top 100 million.Laptop sales, with 230 million units expected this year, still dominate globally, but in the United States they are expected to be leapfrogged by tablets much the same way that laptops surpassed desktop PCs in the middle of last decade.In the U.S., where tablets have been a huge hit, PC sales fell 11% in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, according to data from market tracking firm IDC. It was the largest drop in nearly 10 years.At the Best Buy store in West Los Angeles, the amount of display space devoted to tablets has quadrupled in the last year from 4 to 16 feet, manager Rafael Barragan said. That’s nearly three times as much shelf space as desktop PCs have there. Similar changes are being made across the company’s more than 1,000 U.S. stores, where “Tablet PC Central” areas will be built starting this summer.