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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: Awesome
By kmmatney on 10/22/2010 3:04:53 PM , Rating: -1
Maybe I'm old-school (received my Masters in engineering at UCLA, 1994) but I fail to see how any tablets are better than pen and paper...at least in a school environment.

For business, I can see taking electronic notes at a meeting if you need to email minutes to attendees. However you can usually use a laptop at a business meeting, so its easier to just directly type things in.


RE: Awesome
By HighWing on 10/22/2010 4:13:09 PM , Rating: 3
Well it's mostly an issue of size and battery life. If this thing can be easier to carry, and last longer than a laptop, then it can easily replace a laptop in many, but not all, areas.

As to the pen and paper thing, think of it more as a notepad with an unlimited amount of paper, and the added ability to easily, and instantly, copy all pages to anyone who wants them. And then of course there's the ability to take photo's and attach them to the notes. I can see that being a big deal in the medical and science areas. That can even be useful in the classroom as you could then take photo's of what the teacher wrote on the wall.


RE: Awesome
By rudy on 10/23/2010 1:57:21 AM , Rating: 3
I use one note, and I can say it is way better then pen and paper. Here is the power of computers. Say you took a note down 6 months ago. Now you want to find it. It will take you about 15 seconds to think of the words to search and miss once or twice then get to what you want. No matter how many notes you take with one note, the total size of what you must carry around stays the same. I carry around far less now then I did when I took notes in paper. And that is saying alot because I have a 20 inch laptop or a phone or both. With a slate this thing will be smaller than even a single note pad. However I will not be getting those as I think a real tablet like the tm2t or just a powerful computer is much better.

One note automatically creates your table of contents. It gives you all colors of highlighters, it allows you to embed M$ office items such as tables graphs and so on.

Other things, say you want to take a note of something you found on a web page, just do an insert screen clipping. This is great for recording exact states of something you did or saw. Say your class tells you to go to a certain web page and process data you take a screen clipping and everyone knows exactly what you put in and what options you selects.

One note automatically records lots of things you would need to write by hand such as the date and time, web page or file you pulled something from. It allows you to link to things like files, or embed them and pictures entirely. And what is really great is you can link to other one note notes so for instance I do experiments and I like to design a protocol for how to do the experiment then each time I do the experiment I can link to that protocol rather than coping it all down over and over or writing see page X as with pencil and paper.

One note call assist with calculations jsut write your equation type = and press space and one note calculates the answer for you.

There is no competition a program like one note slaughters pencil and paper and people who feel this is not the case have simply never given it an honest shot. It took you at least 3 years of your life to learn how to write with a pencil do your self a favor and spend an insignificant month getting to know one note and you will never look back. You will take much better notes because it is so much less work to include more information.

The name of the game is efficiency something an engineer should be able to appreciate. And you will be many orders of magnitude more efficient with electronic note taking.


RE: Awesome
By Smilin on 10/25/2010 3:10:04 PM , Rating: 3
I was just gonna say OneNote F!@$ing rocks but all that stuff you said will work too.


"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007














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