Being a somewhat of an Iconoclast when it comes to technology, I am a little less likely to give a Windows product a “rave review,” however, credit where credit it due, it will not be a trashed review, either. HP has announced the release of its tablet PC offering; the long awaited HP Slate 500. This unit could very well open up the tablet PC market in a way that Apple could never accomplish; well, except for the art market. It is opening the rank and file business user market and in a great way.
The interesting thing about this is that HP acquired Palm and its fabulous WebOS recently and right after that, HP killed the last expected Slate tablet PC because the company had decided not to use Microsoft Windows as its OS. That revelation fueled speculations that the original Slate was killed to develop a tablet PC with WebOS installed, but now HP comes out with another Slate running Windows. Interesting…
As far as the technology itself goes, the HP Slate 500 is a solid unit, lacking in some features as of yet, but very well appointed and scaled in price, display and horsepower. It is well set to open up the primarily Windows-based American business world and it could easily put a kink in Apple’s dreams of world domination and American conquest. The thing of it is that it could also crush Android’s hopes for the lucrative business market as well.
The processor core of the HP Slate 500 is a nicely endowed Intel® Atom Processor Z540. It runs at 1.86 GHz and offers a 512 KB L2 cache along with a 533 MHz Front Side Bus, which could be attributed more as a desktop PC rather than a tablet PC in your hand. This tablet is scaled to run full Windows 7 Professional 32-bit. Regardless of personal or “political” feelings about Operating Systems, this tablet PC is going to appeal to a very large and well-established market. Business users are unwilling to change Operating Systems for a variety of reasons, so a Windows 7 tablet PC will quickly fill up the hands of sales agents, insurance adjusters, and hospital administrators accustomed to the Windows interface.
Connectivity & Hardware
The HP Slate 500 lacks 3G and 4G, but this could just be because it is the initial configuration. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are included, as are dual cameras. The tablet is fitted with 2 GB 800 MHz SDRAM, the same kind that drives most entry-level desktop PC’s. A moment or two spent analyzing this configuration leads one to imagine the HP Slate in a nurse’s hand in the hospital, or in any commercial environment using Wi-Fi. Then, it might move into the field with 3G or 4G later. The Slate tablet PC is also apparently equipped with a USB connected CD/RW optical drive.
Storage includes up to 64 GB of internal solid-state storage in addition to an added SD slot for expansion possibilities. The display is a nice sized 8.9 inches-finally, a credible iPad alternative with a decent screen size. It has a better multitouch interface because the Slate supports four-finger gestured multitouch, in addition to pen/stylus input-yes, handwriting recognition, which is another thing iPad does not have. That means a real on-screen, pen based, note taking and screen-gestures for user operations. I would love to see an Android system this good but would use this if you put it in my hand. Oh, and the word is that Microsoft Office 2010 will be included as well-you cannot even get Microsoft to include a full version on a desktop, but now the Slate offers the program? Interesting…
As for its price, the HP Slate 500 has a starting price point of $799. While it is in-line with expectations, the lack of 3G or 4G means a follow up model or upgrade to a higher priced model is in order if users want those features. In a head-to-head comparison, the HP Slate is an obvious heavy competitor and is a potential winner in the business technology market. I have always been a supporter of the little guy, open source and the outsider. This time the game goes to Windows and HP for a perfectly tailored offering. The HP Slate Tablet PC is a full business PC packed into a tablet PC, which is a neat trick that someone finally got right.
HP: HP Slate 500 Tablet PC Specifications & Warranty