The touchscreen HP Slate is gearing up to go head-to-head with Apple’s iPad, according to the slick video demo and an allegedly leaked PowerPoint slide…
Waiting for a Windows-powered version of the iPad? HP looks set to be first out of the gate, with its anticipated Slate moving closer to an expected June release.
The company recently released a slick promotional video
for the Slate, and now Engadget
has snared what appears to be a page from HP’s internal pre-launch presentation.
Not only does the slide detail the core specs and model variations of the Slate, it also compares the Slate directly against the iPad – and even calls out the Slate’s strengths and weaknesses against Apple’s ‘magical and revolutionary’ device.
For example, the Slate’s estimated US$549-599 price tag is seen as a potential drawback against the iPad’s starting price of US$499, even though the entry-level Slate has a 32GB solid state drive compared to the iPad’s 16GB drive (the 32GB iPad sits in the same ballpark as the Slate with a US$599 sticker).
HP will also offer the Slate with a 64GB flash drive and optional 3G, although using a standard SIM card instead of the iPad’s microSIM format.
The processor is potentially the weakest link, as HP has opted for Intel’s Menlow-class 1.6GHz Atom Z530 chip (backed by 1GB of RAM) to drive Windows 7 Home Premium, with the OS also carrying a customised touch-friendly UI designed by HP.
We’ve got some doubts that this pairing can deliver the same smooth screen swipes and responsive motion as seen in HP’s demo video, let alone what Apple has achieved with the iPad’s A4 processor and iPhone OS.
HP reckons the Slate will support HD 1080p video playback, which indicates that Broadcom’s HD video processor chip sits alongside Intel’s inbuilt graphics.
Battery life is expected to top out at five hours, which is at least half of the iPad’s running time – despite the Slate using a slightly larger 30Whr cell compared to the iPad’s 25Whr battery.
At 8.9 inches the screen is also slightly smaller than the iPad’s 9.7 inch panel, and while the Slate supports multitouch it will also come with a stylus.
The basic config for the Slate includes Wi-Fi (but only 802.11b/g, not the iPad’s support for 11n), Bluetooth, GPS and front-facing webcam camera suitable for video chat sessions.
Expansion includes an SD memory card slot, a single USB 2.0 port plus a ‘docking connector’ which carries power, audio and HDMI output along with support for additional USB ports, so we’re expecting a pretty sweet desktop dock solution.
It’s hard to ignore the irony that HP was Microsoft’s first hardware partner for the Tablet PC back in 2001, and has since remained the most staunch supporter of the form factor... yet it took Apple’s entry into the market with this weekend’s launch of the iPad to make HP rethink the Windows-powered tablet, sex up the platform and take its best shot at turning the tablet into an exciting piece of consumer tech rather than a niche play for narrow industry segments and mobile professionals.
Indeed, there’s every sign that the iPad could have the same impact on the tablet computing market as the iPhone has on smartphones and the iPod on MP3 players – redefining an existing category and making manufacturers scramble back to the drawing board for another take at their products.