Microsoft tablet device aimed at business users, unlike Apple iPad

HP Windows Slate 500 hits the market

HP has finally officially launched its first Windows-based tablet, after first showing off the device at CES back in January.

According to the vendor Slate 500 is aimed squarely at the business market, unlike Apple’s rival iPad, which is primarily a consumer device.

It has an 8.9-inch diagonal LED multitouch screen, weighs less than 1kg and has rear and front-facing webcams.

The device, which accepts both digital pen and finger input, crucially offers USB ports, an SD card slot and support for Adobe Flash and Air – features the iPad lacks.

“We decided to target the business market for the Windows product. And we collaborated with beta customers to better understand their needs,” wrote Phil McKinney, vice president and chief technology officer for HP’s personal systems group, on the firm’s official blog.

“The new HP Slate 500 Tablet PC runs Windows 7 which supports a wide variety of business solutions, from retail point-of-sale to hospitality, banking healthcare or any custom business application.”

The targeting of the business market backs up what McKinney told PCR earlier this year: “We never positioned the Slate against [the iPad], the use cases are not the same, the things people do with them are not the same.”

HP also expects to launch a webOS tablet next year, following its buy-out of Palm in April.

“We saw huge potential in webOS as the foundation for a whole ecosystem of connected consumer devices… a webOS slate will reach the market in 2011,” McKinney wrote.

The HP Slate 500 is available for US customers to purchase for $799 from HP’s online SMB Store, Large Enterprise Store and Public Sector Store.

Global roll-out details have not yet been confirmed.

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