Apple's iPad is provoking many players in the hardware and software industry to respond with new devices that could compete with Apple's move into the market.
HP has already given tiny glimpses of the HP slate device coming out later this year. The first video
showing the new device was released during CES last January. According to HP, the slate essentially represents a brand new product category that sits between smartphones and netbooks, which the company call minis. Slates are thin, light, touch-enabled multimedia devices with a screen size somewhere between 6 and 10-inches. Think of something the size of a magazine - but better than just a tablet PC with the keyboard removed. The device will be able to play digital content, whether it's a story from a major news outlet or videos and photos. It will also offer internet connectivity and easy access to social networking sites, USB and SD card ports and a web camera. The slate computer is expected to be released by midyear.
Nokia is also planning its own entry to the digital book reader market, according to a recent NYTimes
report. The phone maker has already entered the netbook market with the release of its Booklet 3G model
last August. According to Nokia, Booklet 3G had been "well received," encouraging the company to explore new types of devices.
Microsoft also plans to release its own version of HP's slate. Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer unveiled the new HP tablet computer at the end of his keynote speech at the CES technology show in Las Vegas last January. Videos of a Microsoft's prototype dubbed " Courier" have already "leaked" on the web. According to these videos, the Courier is not bigger than an ordinary paperback and folds out to reveal two screens. Ballmer said that the device would be available later this year, without detailing pricing or when the device would hit stores.
Finally Google, is also expected to begin selling its version of a computer like Apple's iPad. Eric E. Schmidt, chief executive of Google, told friends at a recent party in Los Angeles about the new device, which would exclusively run the Android operating system, the NYTimes
reports. People with direct knowledge of the project said the company had been experimenting with a few publishers to explore delivery of books, magazines and other content on a tablet.
All these products will generally cost less than $600.