Hewlett-Packard Co.'s new tablet might look a little bit like Apple Inc.'s latest blockbuster gadget but it's not meant to be an iPad killer.
HP, the world's largest computer maker, started selling the Slate 500 on Thursday. It costs $799 and, like the iPad, has a touch-sensitive screen and no keyboard. But unlike the iPad, the device is aimed squarely at business users.
Apple sold about 7.5 million iPads since April, when the device first went on sale. Competitors have been scrambling to catch up, and the first consumer tablets running Google Inc.'s Android system have just reached the market.
HP is expected jump in, too. After HP acquired Palm, executives from the company have said that future consumer products, such as phones and tablets, will run Palm's webOS software instead of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows system.
Consumers will have to wait, it seems.
The Slate 500 runs Windows 7, the same operating system found on modern PCs. It has the kind of processor typically used to power smaller netbooks, but thanks to a graphics card by Broadcom Corp., the tablet should be powerful enough to play high-definition movies on its 8.9-inch display. Like a PC, it also has a webcam, memory card slot, ports to plug in headphones and a USB port for accessories such as a keyboards.
Like the iPad, the Slate 500's screen allows users to swipe their fingers across the screen to navigate _ for example, pinching to zoom out on a Web page. Users can also write on the screen with a pen and convert their scribbles to text using handwriting-recognition software.
Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer first teased the Slate 500 at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. At the time, it was unclear that it would be marketed to businesses.
Since January, few Windows 7 tablets have reached the market. None have garnered even a fraction of the attention paid to the iPad.
The Slate 500 is available in the U.S. now. HP has not said when it will go on sale elsewhere.
HP's stock rose 47 cents to close at $42.87.