From the looks of the pictures, it’s shiny and sleek; and if a prototype of the HP Slate 500 tablet hadn’t been shown at CES before the iPad first debuted, you’d think they’d made it just to compete with the iPad.
But as it turns out, the HP Slate 500 is not intended to compete with the iPad … in fact, the two tablets are in two separate markets. So if you were thinking of getting an HP Slate 500 to use like an iPad, think again. It’s not going to do what you need it to, even though they look similar.
How can you tell? From the not-so-subtle hints on HP’s website and elsewhere.
“The ideal PC for professionals”
The biggest thing that makes the iPad the iPad is that it runs iOS, the simple, multitouch interface popularized by Apple’s iPhone. iOS apps are simple to use, take up the whole screen, and are completely finger-driven. Plus, they run inside security “sandboxes” that keep them from infecting the iPad with a virus. Most other tablets, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, run Android, and most of this applies to Android tablets as well.
The HP Slate 500 does not run Android or iOS. According to HP’s website, “The HP Slate 500 is 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.”
In other words, the HP Slate 500 is going to be a PC … a computer that runs Windows. With apps that are complicated to use, a cluttered interface designed for mouse pointers, and problems with spyware and viruses. And as the CNet review noted, it’s not even going to have a custom touch interface … it’s just going to use Windows 7’s default tablet settings.
Probably not your cup of tea
As you can see from the above link to HP’s website, the HP Slate 500 is not listed as a “consumer” product, or a device marketed to individual buyers. Rather, it’s being sold to business users.
Why? Because a lot of businesses have expensive contracts with Microsoft, and with companies that support Microsoft products like Windows. Their technicians only know how to solve Windows problems, and they’ve already spent millions of dollars on it, training people to use Windows and buying “licenses” to software that runs on Windows.
Combine that with the conservative nature of the kinds of people who run most large businesses, and you can see why HP had to sell the HP Slate 500 running Windows instead of Android or HP WebOS. And why they used words like “secure” and “familiar” to describe the HP Slate 500.
If you’re a Windows enthusiast, the HP Slate 500 may be up your alley. At $799 USD it’s about as much as a fully-specced iPad, but with more RAM and an SD card slot. But then, if you’re a Windows enthusiast you already know the HP Slate 500’s specs, and you already know whether or not you want one. Just be careful about recommending it to your friends or family members, who may not be as technically inclined as you and who might have trouble dealing with Windows’ quirks. And if you’re not a fan of Windows, you may want to look into an iPad or an Android tablet, or even wait for the first HP WebOS tablet to come out.
Scroll down to leave a comment, if you like … and whatever device you end up using, I hope you have fun with it!