HP and Microsoft crash Apple’s tablet party

Hewlett Packard has crashed Apple’s noisy tablet party by offering a detailed glimpse of its own shiny Slate device on YouTube.

According to ZDNet, the Windows 7-powered Slate was initially “conceived” five years ago as an e-reader prototype.

“As technology advanced, the ‘rich media experience’ became essential to the device’s mission, and only now has hardware (and price point) caught up with the company’s vision,” explained ZDNet’s Andrew Nusca.

It should be noted that HP’s Slate was recently touted by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at CES 2010, who described the device as being “almost as portable as a phone, and as powerful” as a PC running Windows 7.

In addition, senior Microsoft executive Robbie Bach was quoted byInformationWeek as confirming that the company had added tablets to its lineup.

“We started with desktops and laptops, but we added notebooks, now we’re adding tablets,” said Bach.

“At the high end you add all-in-ones, then you add game machines. I think the tablet phenomenon is an opportunity.”

However, Paul McDougall of InformationWeek emphasized that Redmond was likely to “attack the market” via Hewlett Packard and Acer, rather than introduce a native Microsoft-branded device.