When HP showed off its Slate 500 almost a year ago at CES, it was, as befits that show, presented as a consumer-oriented device. The system is, at last, available to buy... from HP's business-oriented stores. The HP Slate 500 is a business machine, for professionals who aren't bound to their desks.
Priced at $799, the Slate 500 packs a lot of power into a diminuitive, 1.5 lb machine. Its 1.86GHz Atom processor and 2GB RAM won't set any speed records, but for the size, weight, and price, it's going to be hard to beat. It sports a capacitive multitouch 1024×600 screen with a digitizer, allowing both pen and finger input, twin cameras (front and rear), and up to 64GB of flash for storage. On the software side, it comes with Windows 7, and not much else. There's a note-taking application and an application to use the cameras, but that's the extent of it.
The result is a device for corporations to run custom Windows applications on—healthcare, point-of-sale, banking, that kind of thing. This point is underscored by HP's marketing video. In these environments, the ability to run existing Windows software like Office and Skype, as well as these custom applications, is a virtue. The hardware may be more or less the same as was shown at CES (leaked documents imply that its specification has been improved, but the basic parameters are the same), but the market positioning is completely different.
Compared to the iPad, this is a much smaller market, one where Fujitsu is probably the biggest player. In this context, the Slate 500 is smaller, cheaper, and lighter than its competitors, and so it may prove compelling. But it's not the consumer-friendly machine that HP was showing this year, even though it was the prospect of a consumer-oriented device that generated so much interest in the first place. The Windows slates may be coming, but if the HP Slate 500 is anything to go by, they're at no risk of ever troubling Apple.
Source: ars technica