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HP Offers iPad Alternative

Apple won't have the tablet computer market to itself for long as Hewlett-Packard and others plan Windows 7-based slates.

HP and Microsoft unveiled the yet-to-be-named slate at CES in January.
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Hewlett-Packard doesn't want Apple to have all the fun when it comes to tablet-style computing devices.

HP said Tuesday it's readying a Windows 7-powered slate PC that it claims will offer a more complete computing experience than Apple's iPad.

"With this slate product, you're getting a full Web browsing experience in the palm of your hand," said Phil McKinney, HP's VP and chief technical officer for its Personal Systems Group, in a blog post. "No watered down Internet, no sacrifices," wrote McKinney.

And, unlike the iPad, McKinney said HP's yet-to-be-named tablet PC will support Adobe's Flash multimedia format. "A big bonus for the slate product is that, being based on Windows 7, it offers full Adobe support," said McKinney.

To prove his point, McKinney posted a video of the HP tablet in action. Similar to the iPad commercial that debuted during Sunday's Academy Awards broadcast, the video shows a user navigating his way around the device through a series of simple hand gestures.

Windows 7 screen shot
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It also shows it being used as a video player, an e-reader, and as a navigational tool. HP has yet to provide specific information, such as pricing and release dates, for its slate PC.

With HP, Acer, Microsoft and others planning tablet computers, Apple may not have the field to itself for long after it ships the iPad next month.

Indeed, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer demonstrated a prototype HP tablet powered by Windows 7 in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and promised that more such products are in the works.

"It's almost as portable as a phone, and as powerful as a PC running Windows 7," Ballmer said at the time. "This emerging category of PCs really should take advantage of the touch and mobility capabilities of Windows 7," said Ballmer.