Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) has become the first computer manufacturer to release a tablet running Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows 7 operating system, releasing a model aimed at U.S. business users on Friday, more than six months after Apple's (AAPL) iPad launch.
Microsoft's Steve Ballmer brandished a prototype HP tablet at a technology conference in January, but the top computer company wavered after it bought smartphone maker Palm, which owns the webOS operating system.
In spite of concerns inside HP about the touch-screen functions of Windows 7, the company later committed to deliver both Friday's Windows tablet and a webOS slate, which executives said will ship early next year.
While a relief to Microsoft, the debut of HP's Slate 500 is coming with little of the fanfare that heralds a significant challenger to the iPad.The device is designed for companies wedded to Windows elsewhere, especially those that might want to install their own applications, HP said. "Businesses really wanted to have something in common with the rest of their environment so they could have one
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