The HP TouchPad runs HP (formerly Palm) webOS.
These slate tablets certainly have other features that set them apart and here is a photo showing them side-by-side so that you can compare the thickness of each device. The TouchPad is 0.54" thick (left) while the Slate 500 is 0.58" thick (right).
Other key differences:
- Screen sizes: the Slate 500 has an 8.9" screen while the TouchPad has a 9.7" screen.
- Digitizer: The Slate 500 supports an active pen digitizer that is powered by N-Trig. Plus, it supports capacitive multi-touch gestures. The TouchPad has no pen.
- Expansion: The Slate 500 has an SD card slot. No expansion slots on the TouchPad.
- Power: The Slate 500 requires a proprietary power plug. The TouchPad is powered by a standard micro-USB port.
- Battery life: The Slate 500 will go roughly 4-5 hrs on battery life. The TouchPad will go for 8 hrs.
Here, you'll see that the TouchPad is on the left and the Slate 500 is on the right. If you're mainly using your tablet in portrait mode, then the Slate 500 will have the tendency to cut off portions of most web pages. You'll need to scroll horizontally to view those sections.
I use my Slate 500 all the time. I mainly use it as my digital notepad and I scribble (literally) on it all the time. I also have an iPad at home, but I seem to be using it less these days. Maybe that's part of the reason why I didn't find myself using the TouchPad all the time. I already have a Slate 500 that I can use for web browsing, email, etc.
In short, these two HP devices are completely different gadgets, even though they're both made by HP. Both have a place in the professional setting. The Slate 500 is a mini PC that can run enterprise-level applications in Windows 7. Is this what you really need? If you're looking for a nice basic tablet that has strong battery life, then you'll want the TouchPad over the Slate 500. It'll be interesting to see what kinds of apps get developed for webOS. Will HP open this operating system up to other hardware manufacturers? Will companies like HTC, Samsung, and LG also create mobile devices running webOS?