More than 10 months after an HP Slate PC was shown off on stage at CES in January, the company is finally ready to bring its Windows 7 Slate to market. It’s just not the consumer oriented iPad killer many people had been expecting. Instead, at $799, HP is positioning the HP Slate 500 as a business oriented tablet. The company will likely introduce a consumer level tablet running the mobile webOS operating system sometime next year.

So what does $799 buy you? The HP Slate has an 8.9 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel capacitive touchscreen display. It sports a 1.86GHz Intel Atom Z540 processor, 2GB of RAM and a 64GB solid state disk. There’s a 3MP camera on the back and a front-facing VGA camera for video calls. It has a Broadcom Crystal HD video accelerator which should help with high definition video playback (in case that sort of thing is important for a business class slate). There’s also an docking station with HDMI output. The tablet runs Windows 7 Professional. HP says you should get about 5 hours of run time out of the battery, which is not user replaceable.

OK, so aside from the Atom Z540 processor, the specs don’t seem all that unusual. The Tega v2 and CTL 2goPad SL10 are similarly equipped. But there’s are a few things that really  does set the HP Slate 500 apart: It has a Wacom N-trig active digitizer, which should make it much easier to interact with the tablet using a stylus, and which should make handwriting recognition a breeze.

The tablet also weighs just 1.5 pounds, making it even lighter than the iPad. There’s a dedicated keyboard button on the side of the device, making it easy to launch and close the on-screen keyboard (which can be a bit of chore if you’re only relying on the Windows 7 tools).

While the $799 price tag might turn some people off, it looks like you really do get a lot for your money, including an SSD, active digitizer, stylus, docking station, Windows 7 Home Premium, and capacitive display. The only things that really worry me are the non-replaceable battery and the relatively slow Atom Z540 processor.

You can check out a promo video and a hands-on video after the break, courtesy of Engadget. SlashGear also has some excellent videos, as does GottaBeMobile (which points out that there doesn’t appear to be palm rejection technology, which is a problem when you have a capacitive touchscreen and an active digitizer for pen input).

The tablet is available from HP for $799 and up.

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6 replies on “HP launches Slate 500 business tablet for $799”

  1. Why’d they put Windows 7 Home ed. on a business class slate? Is that a misprint?

  2. Now that I’ve got my order in, I’ll give you the secret. For those interested in ordering, you need to go to the Small and Medium Business site (it’s not available in the Home site), select “Laptops” and then “Mini” (at the moment searching the site doesn’t find it). It’s scheduled to ship 11/12/2010.

  3. “Wacom active digitizer, which should make it much easier to interact with the tablet using a stylus”

    Easier? I sort of see what you could mean by that, but the value of an active digitizer isn’t ease of use. In fact, many people argue that using fingers on any type of passive digitizer is “easier” than using any kind of active digitizer in the sense that it’s faster and informal.

    An active digitizer is a more powerful and more versatile way of interacting with the computer. Steve Jobs even tacitly confessed that fingers are too big and inaccurate to support precise and detailed interactions with a computer’s screen. Tools are right for these jobs.

    Because the digitizer is active, the stylus is too, which opens up all sorts of possibilities like pressure sensitivity and pen hover. This has nothing to do with ease. It’s all about new features, more power, and better results. If you’re tapping out an inane twitter statement or looking at your friends’ drunk facebook photos, this is lost on you. If you’re taking notes during a meeting, signing forms, visually illustrating, teaching, etc., then there’s no sensible alternative. If you’re using an application like OneNote, no current passive digitizer and stylus combination is going to give you the kind of results that an active digitizer will.

    From personal experience, I can positively assert that people love and prefer active digitizers but feel reassured by the presence of a passive digitizer. In fact, one of my favorite ways of “demoing” to (OK, I confess, I mean showing off to in the hopes of humiliating) iPad owners is to do a “how greasy and dirty is your screen?” spot test. That’s one of the best things about not having to touch a touchscreen with your fingers, things stay clean and visible. Who cares if your computer can play 720p video if you have to watch it through smudges and dirt piles?

    P.S. If the dedicated keyboard button launches the entire TIP (tablet input panel), which includes the keyboard, then this is a great feature to have on a device with an active digitizer if you frequently use handwriting recognition.

  4. With so many stories about tablets & pads, you should rename this site Lili-padding. [Slaps-knee] 😉

    1. I agree with you. Having said that, it’s opening up the door for other sites to take the “netbook” niche. It seems that all the “netbook” related sites are becoming awash in anything that has a processor inside it. Oh well. Always the same excuse. No netbook news. Sure. It’s like those car sites. When there is not much car news times, they start covering mopeds. Or is it because mopeds are going to be the “next big thing”?

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