Remember the HP TouchPad? I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t. About a month after it was released, HP discontinued production of all devices running on webOS – including the TouchPad, which was struggling mightily in terms of sales. HP is reentering the tablet market with the HP Slate 2 Tablet, a follow-up to the Slate 500 Tablet PC from last year.
The key word (or two letters) there is PC. The Slate 2 isn’t running one of the many mobile OS currently available now, but on the 32-bit version of Windows 7. The main reason for that is the target audience – business professionals, and those who work in retail, health care, government, or education. Its primary purpose is to be a high-powered productivity device, something it achieves in a few ways.
The Slate 2 features an 8.9” multi-touch screen, and runs on an Intel Atom Z670 processor with mSATA SSM. The battery promises up to 6 hours of continuous use, which, for people who spend most of their time out in the field (ostensibly, who this device is to be marketed toward), might still be a little low.
Security features are another big way the Slate 2 differentiates itself from the rest of the tablet market. The Slate 2 has a TPM Embedded Security Chip, which protects data on the hard drive and can be controlled and made to increase secure user authentication, secure email accounts, and support protected digital certificate applications. BIOS support for Computrace Pro allows for remote deletion of any file.
Connectivity is enhanced with the HP Connection Manager, which controls Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, and 3G connections from one place. There is also a front-facing camera for video conferencing. A 3 MP rear camera takes images and video. There are two USB ports, and HDMI port, and an SD card slot.
There are a few different cases available for the Slate 2, which is a lot more interesting than it sounds at first. One doubles as a stand and includes a small but comfortable Bluetooth keyboard, allowing for desktop-like use. Another, specifically for retailers, includes a magnetic stripe reader and barcode scanner.
The HP Slate Digital Pen is a stylus that works with the Slate 2, and should go great with the virtual Swype keyboard on the Slate itself.
If you’re an entertainment junkie or an avid gamer, this isn’t the tablet for you. The Slate 2 is designed for people who need real multitasking (that a lot of tablets can’t offer satisfactorily yet) and a full range of professional tools. In that sense, it’s more in competition with the BlackBerry PlayBook than the iPad, or any Android tablet you can find on the market. The HP Slate 2 Tablet will retail for $699, and should hit stores worldwide later this month.