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Nurse, I need an HP Slate, STAT!  (Source: HP)

HP Slate 500  (Source: HP)
HP is hoping to capture corporate customers with long awaited device, eschews the mass market

The HP Slate first popped up at Microsoft's CES 2010 keynote when CEO Steve Ballmer showed off the device.  Months went by and the status of the tablet became increasingly unclear.  Hewlett-Packard Co. acquired Palm, Inc. in April leading some to believe that HP would scrap the Windows 7 Slate in favor of a tablet packing Palm's webOS.

But at long last HP has clarified the situation, officially announcing that the Slate project never died and has just launched as the HP Slate 500.

The device retails for $799 (see above link).  The device offers perhaps the closest competitor to the iPad yet, given its largish 8.9-inch screen (the iPad's screen is 9.7-inch in diagonal).

It gets handily beat by the iPad in battery life, only getting approximately 5 hours to the 10 hour lifespan of the device.  And it doesn't come with a built in 3G modem, despite the higher price.  A single USB port is included, which can be used for traditional USB modems, though.

However, in other departments it stacks up favorably against Apple's slab.  It packs a faster processor -- a 1.86 GHz single core Intel Atom Z540 processor (Apple's iPad packs a 1 GHz proprietary design, with a Samsung core).  And it has much more memory -- 2 GB -- versus 256 MB of RAM in the iPad.  It also includes front and rear cameras.  An SD card reader is also included, as is Bluetooth 3.0 (the iPad has no expandable memory and only has Bluetooth 2.1)

In addition to touch input, there's also pen-driven input thanks to "active digitizer" from Wacom.  Another perk is that the device comes with a full copy of Microsoft Windows 7 Professional edition.  The rest of the installed software is thankfully slim -- HP Slate Camera, EVERNOTE, HP Support Assistant, Adobe Reader, Adobe PDF.  Microsoft Office is 
not included.  Of course, with Windows 7, the Slate 500 can handle Flash -- something not possible on the iPad.  

New software can be installed by attaching an external CD/DVD drive to the USB port.  An important reminder, though, is that only 32 bit apps work on the Atom processor.

HD video is provided via a Broadcom Crystal HD chip.  

The iPad and the Slate 500 share virtually the same graphics processor.  The Slate 500 uses the Intel GMA 500 which contains a licensed PowerVR SGX 535 core from Imagination (not Intel) clocked at 200 MHz.  This four pipeline core is also used in Apple's A4 system-on-a-chip (SoC).  The screen resolution on the Slate 500 -- 1024x600 pixels -- is a slightly different aspect ration than the iPad's 1024x768.

The tablet features metal edges and a rubberized back.  

It measures 23.4 cm x 14.5 cm x 1.4 cm, compared to 24.3 cm x 19.0 cm x 1.34 cm.  In other words, they're both about the same thickness, but the iPad has a bigger footprint.

Interestingly HP is marketing the device exclusively to business customers, initially.  This is an interest tactic and perhaps a wise one given that Apple's iPad hasn't really made serious inroads in the business sector.  However, it may be selling the device's commercial appeal short, given that many non-business users might want a Windows 7 tablet as well.

Non-business customers can still head over to HP's business site and order one when the device launches.  The key difference is that the device will not be advertised or widely publicized to the mass market.  

Of course non-business customers might prefer the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Tab, which has some superior features to the Slate 500 or the iPad.  In other words, customers will soon have three options with the launch of the Slate 500 and a welcome break from Apple's short-lived run of monopolizing the tablet sector.



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RE: Fix it Mick!
By omnicronx on 10/22/2010 1:45:49 PM , Rating: 2
Yep same GPU, but who knows what its clocked at =/.. GMA500 core clock differs between models (100mhz vs 200mhz).

The iPhone 4/iPad is clocked at 200.. (by comparison the 3GS was clocked at 100MHZ)


RE: Fix it Mick!
By Samus on 10/22/2010 2:01:16 PM , Rating: 2
I'm still waiting for the Blackberry (ahem) 'Playbook'


RE: Fix it Mick!
By omnicronx on 10/22/2010 2:07:23 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like its US15(L/W) based! So 200Mhz.. Exactly the same as the iPad.


RE: Fix it Mick!
By zorxd on 10/22/2010 3:02:33 PM , Rating: 2
How do you know that the iPhone 4's GPU is clocked at 200 MHz? Does it comes from the same guy who said that the CPU is clocked at 1GHz?


RE: Fix it Mick!
By omnicronx on 10/22/2010 3:23:30 PM , Rating: 3
Because I'm Batman, thats how.

People thought the iPhone4 was clocked at 1GHZ because that is what the chip is rated, once benchmarks were performed to compare to the iPad, it became quite obvious it was not. Furthermore the A4 is a proprietary part, so we never had the spefics about it in the first place.. On the otherhand..

The SGX535 is rated at 28 MPolys/s at 200mhz, and that is what the iPad/iPhone benches..


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