HP shows off a little more slate

HP is once again trying to steal some of Apple’s thunder by teasing more of its own slate device.

The company has posted a YouTube video and accompanying blog post, showing the slate in action. The video appears to show a computer-rendered model of the slate, rather than an actual product, but the applications look promising. HP’s slate takes pictures and conducts video chat (suggesting a two-way camera), and a USB cable and SD card are shown plugging into the device.

HP shows off a little more slate

Those are all clear shots at Apple, not unlike the Flash demo HP showed after Apple aired an iPad ad during the Oscars. The iPad doesn’t support Adobe Flash, reportedly because Apple thinks its a buggy platform that will ultimately be replaced by HTML 5. There’s also no way to connect cameras to an iPad via USB or SD card without a $29 dongle.

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“So far, almost everything we’ve shared showcases how you’ll consume media with the device … But we also believe that media consumption is only half of the ideal mobile experience,” said Phil McKinney, vice president and chief technology officer of HP’s Personal Systems Group.

The biggest question HP’s new video answers for me is in regards to the user interface. We know the slate is based on Windows 7, but HP appears to have created its own layer on top of the operating system, and it’s iPad-like. All the apps are arranged in a grid that occupy most of the screen, but there are some desktop flourishes in the form of a settings bar along the top and a contextual menu bar on the right side, which in the video handles photo and video transfer. A bit of Apple simplicity is lost in favor of flexibility.

It’s rumored that the HP slate will be ready to roll in June for roughly $500, but that’s only two months away, and we’ve yet to see a comprehensive demo of the actual product. Now that the iPad’s out, HP needs to step up its game and fill the much-needed role of iPad rival.

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