In the April 15, 2010 (at http://goo.gl/tNsK) and again in the May 23, 2010 (at http://goo.gl/YB28) newsletters, I wrote about the new Slate computer reportedly being designed by Hewlett-Packard. I reported, "Now an HP exec has confirmed that the company is developing a WebOS slate computer which 'should be available by October.'"
The company lived up to its promise. It is now October and Hewlett-Packard has announced the new computer is now available for sale. However, the new computer is targeted primarily at businesses and HP doesn't expect to sell many to private individuals.
(Click on the image to the right to see a larger picture.)
The new Slate tablet computer announced today comes with an 8.9-inch screen and runs Microsoft's Windows 7 Professional OS. The tablet weighs about 1.5 pounds (0.68 kilograms), so users can easily carry it to record transactions or take inventory. With VPN (virtual private network) support, workers can securely connect to corporate networks. The Slate 500 comes with multitouch and pen-input capabilities, and includes a software keyboard for data input.
The tablet has two cameras -- a 3-megapixel camera at the back and a VGA camera in the front -- which could be used for videoconferencing. A Broadcom graphics accelerator offers 720p video playback. It costs $799, including a black case, a pen, and a dock. The Slate 500 is immediately available in the U.S. through HP's website and channel partners.
HP plans to release a separate tablet for consumers that will use the WebOS mobile software, which was acquired from Palm. Note that the WebOS operating system is not compatible with Windows 7 or with any other operating system. Programs designed for Windows 7 will run on the Slate 500 announced today but will not run on the consumer-oriented system to be released sometime in 2011. The WebOS tablet, which is yet unnamed, will be designed for activities like surfing the Web, watching movies, playing games and reading e-books, HP has said.
The new HP Slate 500 has more features than the iPad, including dual cameras. However, being aimed only at business users and with a nearly $800 price tag, the announcement of HP's new Slate 500 seems to indicate little competition for Apple's iPad.
You can watch a video that shows the HP Slate 500 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xX-B2wG1e4 or click on the image below.