HP has finally launched the slate it demonstrated in January, bringing the weight of Windows 7 to the iPad fight.
Not that Microsoft's OS was a certainty; since HP's slate appeared on stage with Steve Ballmer in January the company has acquired Palm, sparking much debate about how well Palm's WebOS would suit the demo'd hardware. Current rumours are that we'll see such a beast next year, and for the moment have to content ourselves with Windows 7.
Not that the desktop OS is anything to be ashamed of, and the HP Slate 500 (as HP has monikered the thing) seems to run the OS at a decent clip despite weighing only 680 grams. CNET is quoting a price of $799, and has a video showing the Slate 500 in action, demonstrating the 8.9-inch screen along with both pen and finger interactions.
The use of pen and finger is unusual, and you can see the reporter taking care not to rest his hand against the screen when using the stylus, for obvious reasons. This isn't a device you're going to be writing on for any length of time, unless you have remarkable wrists.
The Slate also comes without the finger-friendly shell one might expect on a consumer device, which is fair enough as it's not really the market HP is aiming at. The Slate (the Windows 7 version at least) is aimed at corporate and vertical markets, where it will likely be running specialist software, leaving the consumer market open for HP to stick WebOS on the same hardware next year. ®