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HP Shows Off PC-Like Tablet Computer

October 22, 2010

San Francisco-based Hewlett-Packard (HP) took the wraps off of its entry into the tablet computer market on Friday, unveiling a nearly $800 device that they say will primarily be for business use.

The HP Slate 500, announced back before the launch of Apple’s iPad tablet computer, is an 8.9-inch device that weighs 1.5 pounds. It features a touch-screen, operates on Microsoft Windows 7, includes 64 gigabytes of storage and a stylus.

According to Gabriel Madway of Reuters, the Slate 500 will get about five hours worth of life out of its battery. The Slate 500 runs on the Intel Atom processor and comes equipped with both front and rear cameras, a USB port, a case, and a docking station.

The device is Wi-Fi only and does not support 3G. It is currently available online and will be sold to businesses through HP’s direct sales force. It retails for $799.

Some tech experts, including Wired’s Charlie Sorrel, were not impressed.

“Is this an iPad competitor? No freakin’ way,” Sorrel wrote in a Friday article published on CNN.com.

“The Slate is to full-featured tablet PCs as a netbook is to a proper notebook: a scaled back, underpowered portable with a too-small screen, running an OS designed for the desktop, not a touch-operated device,” he added. “We’re certainly looking forward to seeing some proper rivals to the iPad”¦ [but] the HP Slate, a netbook with the keyboard missing, ain’t it.”

Sorrel also blasted the “ridiculous” price of the Slate 500, but added, “There is one nice touch: the screen includes a Wacom digitizer so you can use a stylus to take notes on screen. There is nowhere to store the stylus, though, so you’ll lose it soon enough.”

The Wi-Fi only version of the iPad is available for prices starting at $499, and 3G versions of the Apple tablet computer can be purchased for $629, Madway reports.

Furthermore, Samsung intends to sell its 7-inch Galaxy Tab through Verizon Wireless for $600, and a 5-inch tablet computer manufactured by Dell can be purchased for $550. The Slate 500 also faces competition for its primary audience–business professionals–with the upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook computer from Research In Motion (RIM).

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