HP Slate 500 brings professional spin to the tablet wars

HP Slate 500 is a business machine, not a toy – and therein, says HP, lies the difference.

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    The HP Slate 500 is the latest device to hit the crowded tablet market.
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In recent months, most of the major tech players have jumped – or announced they will jump – headfirst into the tablet market. Apple has the iPad (and so does Verizon Wireless), RIM has the BlackBerry PlayBook, and Samsung has the Galaxy Tab, a tablet powered by the Android OS. And now Hewlett-Packard has its own flatscreen computing device.

On Thursday, HP unveiled the Slate 500, which runs the Windows 7 operating system. Among the niceties found on the HP Slate 500 are a webcam, 3 megapixel camera, a memory card slot, a 1.86 GHz processor, and 2GB of RAM. It's a workhorse, in other words – a full-featured, sleek tablet device with almost as much juice as your laptop.

The HP Slate 500 – unlike, say, the iPad – is aimed directly at business consumers. In a blurb on the HP site, the manufacturer describes the device as the "ideal PC for professionals who don’t usually work at a traditional desk, yet need to stay productive in a secure, familiar Windows environment." The Slate 500 is available now, for $799, either through the HP site or one of the HP partner channels.

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So how will the HP Slate 500 stack up? Over at Computerworld, Mike Elgan says the HP Slate 500 doesn't stack up, and that's the point – the HP Slate 500 is an entirely different type of device. "The Slate is running the same operating system as your desktop PC and laptop, assuming you're a Windows 7 user," Elgan writes. "It's running components designed for PCs, including 8 times the amount of RAM that's in an iPad. It runs PC applications unmodified."

The iPad, however, "is neither a PC nor an alternative to a PC. You use it in addition to using a PC. It's an entirely different class of device designed from the ground up to function as an information appliance.... The HP Slate is not a post-PC, MPG, 3rd-generation, super-usable, multi-market, App Store-model, visionary device," Elgan adds. "So, everybody, please stop comparing it with the iPad."

Fair enough. Over to you – do you have an HP Slate 500? Are you in the market for one?

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