updated 07:40 pm EDT, Thu October 21, 2010
Formal unveiling expected Monday
HP has finally confirmed launch information and specs for its forthcoming Slate 500 tablet, which has already been detailed in several recent leaks. As expected, the Windows 7 device will be powered by Intel's 1.86GHz Atom Z540 processor and Graphics Media Accelerator 500 chip. It relies on an 8.9-inch, 1024x600 display as its sole interface.
Users will be able to purchase an optional keyboard and optical mouse, along with a digital pen. The device also integrates dual cameras, including a three-megapixel sensor on the back. All of the hardware is built into a package that, despite the smaller size, weighs the same 1.5 pounds as the Apple iPad it has frequently been compared against.
A special HDMI dock is available to output video to TVs, as is a pen that will work with the capacitive screen and a portfolio case.
The Slate 500 should be formally available on Friday. It will only sell online in the company's US business and enterprise online stores and, at $799, has been effectively ruled out of contention with most iPad models despite initial hopes of a price closer to $549. International expansion will come later, and no mention has been made of a rumored consumer version.
HP's design has had a long history and has been emblematic of Microsoft's problems trying to supply a Windows-based rival to the iPad. It was unveiled at CES in January in prototype form, but apart from brief leaks and teasers never received any details for the past 10 months. It was shunted to business use after the acquisition of Palm and a decision that following Apple's strategy of using a mobile platform, such as webOS, was better for mainstream tablets than the less touch-oriented and battery-hungry Windows.