It's been a rough ride for HP with the game of executive musical chairs that has continued even after HP announced it would stay involved in the hardware business. So with some of the confusion out of the way, they have decided to drop another Windows 7 tablet in our laps, the Slate 2.
The Slate 2 seems to be scaled up for enterprise applications and scaled down for everything else. The Atom Z670 single core 1.5Ghz processor is a less powerful than it's predecessor, the Slate 500, and is still limited to x86 operating systems and processors. The Slate 2 will also be sporting 32GB of storage and an 8.9" screen. Kyle Thornton, category manager for emerging products at HP, has talked about other perks that we can expect to see like easy integration into infrastructure and security and management features. The tablet can be traced if stolen with Computrace Pro, administrators can remotely access the device and remotely wipe it if the need should arise. Admins can even roll out a standard software image across hundreds of tables if they like. Find out more about the Slate 2 after the break.
The Slate 2's predecessor, the Slate 500, had an 8.9" screen and a faster processor, front and rear facing cameras, USB port and an SD card slot as well as Office 2010 and 64GB of storage space. Let's also not forget Windows 7 Professional. I would imagine the Slate 2 would also have the same hardware connections because it's aimed at businesses as well. However, since it's priced at $699, a whole $100 less than the Slate 500 and they have already made some noticeable concessions to keep costs down, we can't be sure.
With Windows 8 around the corner there has been no mention by HP about possible upgrades to the devices and while HP is committed to Windows 8 it's difficult to say if the Slate 2 will run smoothly if an upgrade to Windows 8 is offered through HP. The sales for the Slate 500 topped out at 9,000 units which is almost twice the 5,000 they expected but the Slate 500 was also sluggish and underpowered which may not be resolved by current hardware specifications of the Slate 2, even though it's running Home Premium instead of Professional. While I think everyone is glad HP stayed true to its calling, I'm not sure what they expect to gain from the Slate 2 except maybe to squeeze in some extra consumer sales this holiday season by releasing in late November.