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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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By DrApop on 10/22/2010 2:31:45 PM , Rating: 0
The article really needs to indicate that the slate has 2 gb of ram because W7 requires it and would not even run on 256MG of ram.

Personally, I just don't see the need for a full fledged W7 tablet. Sure, note taking is a really nice thing on a tablet but I wouldn't be doing my office productivity on that device. Perhaps business specific software that requires W7 might be an inventory program, medical records, etc. But for most standard "in the office" business operations I'm not sure it is a viable product.

For the consumer, the small apps for iPad and android are much more convenient. But that is just my opinion.

RE: Memory
By omnicronx on 10/22/2010 3:07:36 PM , Rating: 4
The bottom line is you will still have a lot more RAM to play with, even if windows apps consume more RAM by nature.

The iPad should have never been shipped with 256M RAM, its just not enough, especially with a screen and resolution that size . Safari struggles to open multi web pages some times that would not be an issue even on a 3GS due to not enough space for caching.

You could for all intents and purposes ship a tablet with 1GB and it would work fine, but for the price you are paying it should be a requirement, and will surely make for a better user experience. (Windows 7 certainly does scale resources depending on how much you have. I have it installed on a 512M netbook and it only consumes 300MB while idle. My 4GB machine is always sitting closer to 700-1GB, even in 32bit)

RE: Memory
By TMV192 on 10/23/2010 4:20:22 PM , Rating: 1
The problem is that while they have a similar form factor, the iPad and Slate are two very different computers, it's not like your average PC vs Mac comparison this is apples to oranges. The 1GHz A4 is built by Samsung, with a Cortex A8 core designed by Intrinsy based on ARM's spec. It works completely different from the intel Atom, if comparing clock speeds on desktop processors is a bad practice, this is hell of a lot worse. The GPU itself, is better designed for the ARM architecture; if you think a game like Real Racing can run on the Slate, you're hopelessly wrong. But the bottom line is, the Slate has a lot going for it as a business computer who don't care as much for the fun factor. HP themselves will have a real iPad competitor with the webOS PalmPad. As for the Slate, it's just a rehashed UMPC with Windows 7 and usability tweaks

RE: Memory
By ertomas on 10/25/2010 8:07:56 AM , Rating: 1
it's not like your average PC vs Mac comparison this is apples to oranges

It's actually Apple's to HP's :P

RE: Memory
By rudy on 10/23/2010 2:03:57 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe you would not but others would. Lots of businesses run very customized and advanced exel files. They record information through these. They are willing to pay $2000 for tablets which run all these apps. This will cut the price down and for some that will be good.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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