ExoPC has developed a Windows-based tablet PC which is larger and more powerful than an iPad, is WiFi-enabled and supports Flash. The Slate will be available with 32GB and 64GB SSD storage, benefit from 2GB of memory and has a built-in webcam... but will this be enough to make it a serious contender in the emerging tablet computer market?

In the run up to, and subsequent release of Apple's iPad, it was clear that the tablet was going to impact on the way we use portable computers. But now that the baying has died down a little, a fair proportion of us are left wanting a little more from the iPad than it can give us.

Few will argue that the iPad, like many other Apple products, is utterly gorgeous and easy to use. However, its 1GHz processor, reported wireless connectivity problems, puny RAM, lack of camera and lack of Flash might lead you to wonder what else is out there.

One contender for the tablet crown could well be the soon-to-be-released Slate from ExoPC. The machine is powered by an Intel Atom 1.66 GHz Pineview-M N450 processor, supported by 2GB of DDR2 memory. Its 11.6 inch 1366 x 768 pressure sensitive, capacitive multi-touch display with accelerometer and ambient light sensor may well cast the iPad into shadow, while its Intel GMA500 graphics with BROADCOM Chrystal HD 1080p should provide a pleasant multimedia experience.

The half-inch-thick Slate runs Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium with an ExoPC user interface layer over top, meaning that it'll run Flash content. The onscreen keyboard's "stroboscopic effect" is promised to help reduce typing errors. The tablet computer comes with a couple of USB 2.0 ports and HDMI-out, a 1.3 megapixel webcam and a couple of 1.5W speakers. Wireless connectivity is catered to with 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1, plus there's also an SD/SDHC card reader.

The Slate is penciled in for a September release, at US$599 for the 32GB model. It's a little heavier than an iPad (at just over 2 pounds) and the battery life of just five hours is a little disappointing, but it's bigger, more powerful and brings a few new tricks to the table.

Should you happen to be in Taipei next month visiting Computex, be sure to let us know whether the Slate lives up to its manufacturers' claims.

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