HP Unveils Slate 500 Tablet For Business Users

Hewlett-Packard on Friday rolled out a 9-inch touchscreen tablet targeting customers in the enterprise space.

The HP Slate 500 weighs 1.5 pounds and runs on a 1.86-GHz Intel Atom Z540 processor and Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system, which will allow users to work with the same software applications in the Windows environment.

The Palo, Alto-Ca. based manufacturer created very little fanfare around the product, offering a brief comment regarding the Slate 500 on its Website's product overview page. "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. The HP Slate 500 is also intended for those who use custom applications built for Windows," HP said in the overview.

The Slate 500 features an 8.9-inch, LED-backlit display and a 1,024 x 600 pixel resolution and comes with two cameras, a VGA webcam for video conferencing and a 3MP camera -- one advantage over Apple's popular iPad.

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It also includes 2 GB of memory, 64 GBs of storage, five hours of battery life and a digital stylus pen. Connectivity options include Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but no built-in high-speed wireless connection.

Next: A Delayed Release

The HP Slate 500 connects to a keyboard, mouse and printer via USB 2.9 port. Users can import photos and other files with an SD card. Applications for the Slate include Adobe Reader and Adobe PDF, as well as Evernote software for writing e-mails and taking notes, and pre-installed HP Support Assistant for maintenance and trouble-shooting.

HP over the summer delayed its initial plans to release a Windows-based tablet after acquiring Palm and its webOS software in April. The company is also developing a webOS-based tablet aimed at consumers for release next year.

Meanwhile, a number of manufacturers are preparing tablets for the business market, among them the 7-inch Android-based Cius device from Cisco. The Flare tablet from Avaya and the Playbook from Research In Motion (RIM) both introduced in September are also geared toward business users.

Apple has marketed the iPad as mainly a consumer device; a similarly successful enterprise-class tablet has yet to appear in the market.

While Apple only introduced its iPad this year, market research firm Gartner recently estimated total worldwide tablet sales of 19.5 million units this year and 54.8 million units in 2011.

Next: Lenovo Criticizes The Platform

However, Gartner's projections did not include tablets running Windows, focusing instead on lightweight operating systems such as Google's Android or Apple's iOS. Some in the industry, including Lenovo's newly appointed technology director, Howard Locker, have said that Windows 7 is not suitable to the tablet format. The China-based manufacturer released a Lenovo Think Pad Series X tablet running on Windows in February, and is now shifting to the Android platform.

The wave of tablets -- and the potential cannibalization of traditional PCs -- has also caught the eye of chip designers and manufacturers.

Although the HP Slate 500 is powered by an Atom processor typically found in lower-end notebooks, semiconductor giant Intel has recently turned its attention toward making new processors for tablets and other mobile devices.

As sales of Atom declined4 percent sequentially this quarter, according to the Santa Clara, Ca-based company's third quarter earnings call last week, and with rival chipmaker AMD announcing its interest in tablets, Intel is developing a line of processors specifically geared toward tablets, a href=" https://www.crn.com/news/client-devices/227900538/intel-preparing-oak-trail-processors-for-tablets.htm "> codenamed Oak Trail.

Currently available for purchase on HP's Website, the Slate 500 is priced at $799 and comes with the HP Slate Digital Pen, HP Slate Dock and HP Slate Portfolio.