Hewlett-Packard is making a bold move into tablets, jumping on the Android bandwagon with the hot new entry-level HP Slate 7, which will hit stores in April at only $169. It’s a low-end tablet, so the specifications aren’t exactly mind-blowing, but the fact that they’re entering the space with and Android quickly became big news in the blogosphere.
The Slate 7 is a 7-inch tablet running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It has a soft-touch exterior for easy grip, a dual-core 1.6GHz ARM Cortex-A9 chip and a 1024×600 FFS+ LCD touchscreen. With just 1GB of RAM and 8GB of solid state internal storage (expandable with microSD, of course), though, it’s not exactly an iPad killer. It’s meant for the lower-end market, however, and there will likely do well with its dual cameras (3MP rear, VGA front cam), WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1, stereo speakers with Beats Audio, and a weight of under a pound. It has about five hours of video playback battery (roughly 8 hours of “normal” use) and is meant to compete with other 7-inchers like the Nexus 7 – a tablet which outclasses it in many respects, but has the huge disadvantage of not having a micoSD port).
For the low-end business user, HP threw in a couple of additional bonuses, which hinge around integrated ePrint for direct-from-device printing to HP printers with WiFi or Bluetooth enabled (including on a network).
Further, this is just HP’s first release in its tablet foray. The company has made it clear that this entry-level Slate 7 is just the first of several Android-based tablets to come. Expect them to re-enter the iPad war sometime this year with a higher-end entry to take over where the failed TouchPad lost in 2011.
Whatever your view of the Slate 7, it’s exciting to see more entries into the tablet market as competitiveness always brings on better products and pricing.