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H-P Preps $549 iPad Challenger: Rumor

PALO ALTO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Amid all the hype surrounding Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) iPad launch, more details are starting to emerge of rival Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ - Get Report) own tablet, dubbed the Slate.

Technology Web site Engadget, citing what "looks like an internal H-P presentation," reports that the Slate will cost $549 in its base 32-Gigabyte configuration. A 64-Gigabyte version will be available for $599, it added. Both devices will have a five-hour battery, two cameras and a dock connector for power, audio, and HDMI out, which is used for connecting devices to a TV.
HP Slate
HP Slate

H-P refused to confirm these details when contact by TheStreet Tuesday. "We can't comment on rumors or speculation," explained a spokesman in an email, although the computer maker gave users another glimpse of the Slate technology this week.

A 31-second video that appeared on the H-P Web site Monday describes the Slate as "Holistic Mobile Experience." The fast-paced video appears to show the tablet functioning as a video camera, a feature lacking on Apple's iPad, and also shows users video-conferencing, apparently via Skype.

"We know that you expect to be able to capture and share digital content on your mobile devices," explained H-P on its Web site. "And the HP slate device excels there."

Analysts are already starting to draw comparisons between the iPad and the Slate, notably H-P's decision to support Adobe's (ADBE - Get Report) Flash technology on its tablet, something that the iPad lacks.

Widely used for multimedia applications such as video, Flash has been touted as a crucial part of the Slate story in another demo running on the H-P Web site.

While H-P's Slate is unlikely to grab as many headlines as Apple's iPad, the computer maker can at least count on the support of software giant Microsoft (MSFT). The Slate will use the Windows 7 operating system, and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has already championed the device in his own inimitable fashion.
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