Hewlett-Packard Co. jumped into the nascent tablet computing market Friday when it released its Slate 500, an $800 competitor to Apple Inc.'s 6-month-old iPad.
The Slate 500, which runs Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system and is aimed at workplace users rather than consumers, goes beyond the iPad in some places, and stays behind it in others.
The iPad has no camera, where the Slate has built-in front- and rear-facing cameras, including a three-megapixel higher resolution camera on the back. And unlike the iPad, the Slate has a USB port that allows it to work with a variety of plug-in digital accessories.
But HP's tablet, which is now available through its retail store and will ship in mid-November, is priced higher than Apple's entry-level $499 iPad, has half the advertised battery life (five hours instead of 10) and does not come with the option of a cellular wireless plan, like Apple's more expensive iPads. Instead, the Slate is limited to Wi-Fi Internet connectivity.
A press release advertising the device says it is "designed specifically for business, enterprise and vertical customers looking for the mobility of a tablet, the familiarity of Microsoft Windows 7 and the ability to run custom or corporate applications."
HP, which acquired Palm earlier this year, is also at work on a consumer device that will use the webOS operating system that runs on some of Palm's smartphones.