HP Delivers Long-Awaited Enterprise Tablet
HP has delivered the latest entry into a fast-expanding tablet market, unveiling this week the Slate 500, a Windows 7-powered mobile device geared expressly for business users.
The long-awaited device, HP's first tablet computer, is available for purchase immediately through the company's website and its distribution partners, retailing for $799. On Friday morning HP's website listed a ship date of Nov. 12.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer first showed off a prototype of an HP tablet powered by the software giant's forthcoming Windows 7 OS back in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but that consumer-oriented device morphed in the time since into a business-oriented model.
HP is still planning to bring a consumer-friendly tablet to market next year, a device that would run on the webOS operating system that the company acquired in the $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm.
But the enterprise is the order of the day, and HP is billing the new Windows-powered tablet as an easy add-on to exiting corporate IT environments.
For specs, the Slate 500 is powered by a 1.86 GHz Intel Atom Z540 processor, and boasts 2GB of RAM.
With its 8.9-inch screen, the device is a bit smaller than Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPad, the market leader in the tablet category that measures 9.7 inches.
Screen size has emerged as a flash point in the nascent tablet category, with Apple CEO Steve Jobs leveling criticism at smaller devices, particularly the seven-inch form factor, a not so subtle dig at Cisco's business-oriented Cius and BlackBerry's forthcoming PlayBook of that size. (RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie promptly registered his annoyance with Jobs' comments.)
Apple's iPad, while broadly seen as a consumer-driven product, has been making inroads into the enterprise, evidenced most recently by AT&T's announcement that it would market and sell the device directly to corporate customers.
The HP Slate 500's two cameras include an outward-facing 3 megapixel camera, and a VGA Webcam on the front of the device designed for applications such as video conferencing.
HP offers a charging dock that includes two USB ports for peripherals, in addition to the one port built into the device.