EVEN BUYING Palm did not stop HP from loading Windows 7 on its first tablet, as it revealed when it finally confirmed pricing for the device.
The Slate 500 was first held aloft at this year's CES by Microsoft CEO and showman Steve Ballmer, but since then numerous delays followed and HP's acquisition of Palm had led many to hope the firm would load a variant of WebOS on its tablet. Alas, the delays were not due to tweaking WebOS for the Slate, as the device has finally tipped up with an eye-watering price of $799.
Aside from the monstrous price tag and having to deal with Windows 7, there's more to the Slate 500 that makes it less than appealing. The thing weighs almost 700 grams, has a 8.9-inch 1024x600 screen and no 3G connectivity.
The cost can in some part be put down to the 1.86GHz Intel Atom processor that powers the Slate, along with its 2GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD. There's even HDMI video and audio output and a Wacom digitiser allowing users to write on the device, somewhat like Apple's legendary Newton.
HP might have done itself a disservice by labeling the Slate 500 a 'slate'. While the hardware is far from bleeding edge, more akin to a high-end netbook, it doesn't compare all that badly against Apple's latest Macbook Air in its most basic configuration. Perhaps this is the reason HP decided to stick Windows 7 on the Slate rather than WebOS, opting for a full PC-like experience for its users.
As a tablet device to rival the Ipad or the Galaxy S, the price, weight and operating system of the Slate 500 make alternative devices seem far more attractive. However viewing the HP Slate 500 as a touch sensitive netbook makes it look slightly more palatable.
HP will release the Slate 500 first in the US to see how the device fares in the sales charts before releasing it in other countries. µ