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HP: Hey, We’ll Have a Tablet Too – With Flash!

Sure, Apple may be commanding a lot of mindshare in the tablet computing world with the imminent arrival of the Apple iPad, but tech giant Hewlett Packard wants people to know that it, too, is coming out with a tablet-based device dubbed the HP Slate—and, unlike the iPad, it’ll run Windows applications and offer a “a full Web browsing experience”—and by “full” HP means their tablet runs Flash. U

“With this slate product, you’re getting a full Web browsing experience in the palm of your hand,” said VP and chief technical officer for its Personal Systems Group Phil McKinney, in a blog post. “No watered down Internet, no sacrifices. A big bonus for the slate product is that, being based on Windows 7, it offers full Adobe support.”

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Apple has ignited an industry-wide debate about the ubiquity of Adobe Flash, since neither the iPhone nor the forthcoming iPad support Flash, which is widely used on the Internet to stream video and add interactive elements to Web sites. Although Apple has had little to say publicly about Flash, the technology is widely known to perform more poorly on Macs than on its Windows counterparts—for technical reasons that have a great deal to do with corporate politics. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has also characterized Flash as an inefficient technology that would several impact the battery life of devices like the iPhone and iPad. Apple favors alternatives like HTML 5 and H.264 video.

HP’s Slate, however, makes no such distinctions: the device aims to be a full Windows 7 experience, complete with Flash, and has now posted video of the HP tablet being used in similar ways to those shown during Apple’s iPad commercial that premiered during the Oscars. The device is shown playing video, being used for navigation, and as an e-reader.

HP has not announced a name for its tablet device, or any product specifications, pricing, or release date. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer did demo a prototype version at his keynote at this year’s CES show in Las Vegas; if nothing else, the demo showed that trying to use a touch-enabled version of Windows 7 on a small screen held upside down and backwards on a hot, brightly-lit stage isn’t a very intuitive experience.

In the meantime, the iPad goes on sale April 3.

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