The HP Slate 500, the first tablet exclusively targeting enterprise users, has finally been released in the US.
The Slate was first demoed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. Key features include an 8.9in capacitive multi-touch display that accepts input from fingers or an HP Slate Digital Pen, and handwriting recognition.
The Slate also has Wi-Fi, USB and SD-card slots, and the full version of Windows 7 is included. But a lack of 3G could deter business users.
A VGA webcam is integrated into the front to support videoconferencing, and a 3-megapixel camera on the rear offers image and video capture.
The Slate weighs 680g, nearly twice that of the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy Tab, but is lighter than the 3G version of the iPad.
"We decided to target the business market with this product, and collaborated with beta customers to understand their needs," said Phil McKinney, vice president and chief technology officer for HP's Personal Systems Group, in a blog post.
"The HP Slate 500 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."
A video demonstration shows the device being used in a number of professional settings.
"Wouldn't it be great if, after a car accident, your insurance agent could take your statement, photograph and video the scene, and send all the information to the claims office on the spot? That's the direction we're heading for our business customers," said McKinney.
The Slate 500 is available in the US priced at $799, and includes a digital pen, dock and portfolio.
V3.co.uk contacted HP to confirm a possible UK launch date, but the firm said that it is in the process of evaluating possible markets for the device.
Meanwhile, Lenovo is gearing up to release a tablet device in 2011 called the LePad, according to reports, although details of the model are scarce.
Lenovo refused to confirm or deny the LePad reports, but told V3.co.uk that it is "currently engaging with its customers about whether a slate product makes sense for them in the enterprise".
"Typically, commercial customers have required a convertible notebook/tablet with a full-size keyboard and rotatable screen to create and consume content," the manufacturer said.
Lenovo has already taken the wraps off a hybrid laptop/tablet, the IdeaPad U1.
The device functions as a conventional laptop with an 11.6in screen running Windows 7. The screen can also be used independently as a slate-mode tablet, with its own ARM processor running the Skylight platform.
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