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Leaked details on HP iPad challenger reveal tight fight

Swings, roundabouts and tablets

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Hewlett-Packard's Slate will be close to Apple's iPad in many regards except one: It'll be a lot cheaper at the high end, according to an apparently leaked HP slide.

The PC maker will offer a Slate with Wi-Fi capabilities and 64Gb memory with a top recommended retail price of just under $600 compared to a WiFi and 64Gb enabled iPad at just under $700, according the internal HP presentation Gizmodo says it has obtained.

HP will lose out at the low end, though: Apple's iPad with Wi-Fi and 16Gb of memory and a price of $499 undercuts the planned Slate that'll start at 32Gb and be $549.

These are recommended prices, and HP could undercut Apple. If the Slate is sold through the usual channel outlets, as are many of HP's PCs, then you cold see some substantial discounting. Apple controls the vast majority of its distribution and its prices are renowned for staying solid.

Another area where HP users will lose out is on battery life and memory. The Slate will deliver "five plus" hours compared to "up to" 10 hours from Apple.

The Slate will come with 1GB of DDR2 memory that can't be upgraded, according to the slide. Apple has not released the details of the iPad's memory, but the deconstructionists at IFixIT found a combined 2Gb DDR SDRAM from Samsung inside the iPad they took apart.

HP will be slightly ahead in other areas according to the leaked preso: the tablet will be smaller and slightly lighter than the iPad, and a little faster with a 1.6GHz Intel ATOM processor.

Also, as reported earlier, the Slate will feature two camera-webcam and VGA-SD expansion and USB ports.

The Slate, meanwhile, will run Microsoft's Windows 7 Home Premium optimized for touch input. The iPad runs Apple's iPhone OS 3.2.

The OEM has yet to officially provide any technical or feature details about the Slate, previewed three months ago. This week, though, the company tried to cash in on the iPad meme by releasing a video focusing on the camera, USB and SD features missing in the iPad that'll be offered in the Slate.

HP was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press. ®

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