It’s also among the most expensive: Slate checks in at $799, which is $200 more than the Samsung (005930.KS) Galaxy and $300 more than the cheapest Apple (AAPL) iPad. Slate is even $100 more than the most expensive iPad (non-3G) with the same amount of memory.
However, according to HP, the tabs are for different markets and perform different functions. HP envisions Slate as a replication of the PC experience and primarily aimed at businesses. The way the company explains it, Slate is a laptop that happens to have a tablet for a body. It runs the same brand of Microsoft (MSFT) Windows 7 that appears on standard PCs.
Slate still includes a few of the same ubiquitous features of the iPad. Chief among them is the camera on the front and back of the tab for video communications. Slate carries an 8.9-inch screen (bigger than Galaxy’s 7”, smaller than iPad’s 10”), 64-gigabytes of SSD memory and 2GB of RAM. It comes Wi-Fi-enabled, but there is no 3G version of the tablet. HP has included a pair of USB ports and will sell its tab with a docking station and case as well.
The advantage should go to Slate when considering processing power. The tablet runs the Intel (INTC) Atom processor, which is comparable to mid-range laptops. Meanwhile, iPad and Galaxy are running on the lower-power processors found in smartphones.
From the sounds of things, though, it seems HP doesn’t expect to compete with iPad on its home turf – casual and mobile computing – which is interesting. Slate, in a lot of ways, is a more capable machine than both the iPad and the Galaxy, but it definitely is built for an entirely different purpose.
Still, iPad has been spreading into the business sector quite a bit, and some analysts think its increased use by businesses will be what pushes iPad sales in the future. That’s where Slate hopes to be a contender, and HP is using its direct sales staff to pitch the tab to businesses right now. USB ports, Windows 7 and more powerful guts are all currently all in Slate’s favor.
But iPad’s price tag and its ability for 3G connectivity are going to be hard for Slate to beat, on any playing field.