SAN FRANCISCO--Hewlett-Packard started selling its long-awaited new Slate 500 tablet portable computer on its Website early on Oct. 22. Some earlier reports had the devices becoming available on Oct. 25.
HP, which priced the new 6-inch-by-9-inch device at $799, is positioning it in a different category than Apple's iPad, which it considers a "media-oriented tablet" for consumers: The Slate runs Windows 7 and is aimed squarely at the business market.
"You won't be able to buy this at retail," HP Personal Systems Group PR Manager Mike Hockey told eWEEK. "We're making it available strictly on our Website, because we're looking at it as a business-type device."
HP contends that the Slate 500 is a tablet computer that can do anything a regular PC can do, since it comes installed with the professional version of Windows 7 and has the look and feel of a regular PC. See a video of the Slate in action.
It has a four-finger, multitouch screen, weighs 1.5 pounds, has one USB 2.0 port, an SD card slot and a docking station that continually recharges the unit.
The Slate has a 3-megapixel camera on the back and a VGA camera on the front to set it up for video conferencing. It also has a VGA webcam port.
Lots of power, storage under the hood
The docking station adds two more USB 2.0 ports when in use, plus an HDMI output and a second headphone/microphone jack. The company claims the tablet's battery gets up to five hours of service.
Under the hood, the Slate boasts a 1.86GHz Intel Atom Z540 processor, 2GB of RAM, 64GB of NAND flash storage, and a Broadcom Crystal HD chip for HD video playback on the 8.9-inch, 1024x600 display.
"The Slate is really a fully functional PC, only in a tablet form factor," HP director of Business Notebook Marketing Carol Hess-Nickels told eWEEK.
It comes preloaded with Microsoft Office 2010 and Evernote productivity and organizational software.
"It will run all your office applications. We see it really for business users because most people, for example, just don't make a habit of using spread sheets at home," Hess-Nickels said.
The Slate comes with direct WiFi access but has no built-in capability to connect to other high-speed 3G or 4G networks, as do the iPad, Dell Streak and Samsung Galaxy Tab.
The HP Slate 500 package includes a docking station (at right) and a soft-cover protective carrying case. The unit itself is narrower and slightly lighter than an iPAD. (eWEEK photo by Chris Preimesberger)