American computing giant HP had made the headlines when it very publicly killed the TouchPad, effectively said farewell to the $1.2 billion it paid for Palm, and announced the offload of its massive PC making business. The company has reversed the latter decision, and is now ready to get back at making tablets (non-Windows), with a pioneering Android model dubbed Slate 7.
Announced today, the Slate 7 will be available for $169 starting this April. The red-clad 7-inch tablet is a budget offering, with unimpressive specs even for 2012. Clearly, HP has taken note of the success of cheap devices like the Nexus 7 and the Amazon Kindle Fire, and chosen to start small its venture into the Android ecosystem.
The HP Slate 7 is powered by a dual-core Cortex A9 chip, features 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage (expandable) and a 1024 x 600 FFS (Field Fringe Switching) LCD display. HP extolled the virtues of the FFS technology, which supposedly provides “wide viewing angles that provide easy viewing of documents, games, photos and videos-even in outdoor lighting conditions.”
Like the 2011 TouchPad, the Slate 7 is running Beats Audio sound enhancement software, which most recently made an appearance on the new HTC One. HP has modified the Android implementation on the Slate 7 to run Beats Audio at system level, meaning that all apps will be able to take advantage of the technology.
The HP Slate 7 comes with a front facing and a rear-facing camera, although the shooters are nothing to write home about. Somehow curiously, HP has built into the OS its ePrint technology, which lets users print documents wirelessly by connecting to a compatible HP printer. We are not sure how many customers will be swayed by this feature in this day and age, but you can’t blame HP for trying.
On the software side, the HP Slate 7 runs a mostly stock version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, with some modifications applied to accommodate Beats Audio, ePrint, and some other HP features.
Check out the press release for more details and the full HP Slate 7 specs.
HP Unveils Android Consumer Tablet
HP today announced the HP Slate7, an affordable Android Jelly Bean consumer tablet that provides customers with easy access to Google Mobile services.
With a 7-inch diagonal screen and weighing 13 ounces, the HP Slate7 is an ideal trusted personal companion, featuring a stainless-steel frame and soft black paint in gray or red on the back. It also is the industry’s first tablet to offer embedded Beats Audio, for the best-sounding, richest audio experience available on a tablet.
The HP Slate7 delivers the Google experience with services like Google Now, Google Search, Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive and Google+ Hangouts for multiperson video chat as well as access to apps and digital content through Google Play.(1)
“To address the growing interest in tablets among consumers and businesses alike, HP will offer a range of form factors and leverage an array of operating systems,” said Alberto Torres, senior vice president, Mobility Global Business Unit, HP. “Our new HP Slate7 on Android represents a compelling entry point for consumer tablets, while our ground-breaking, business-ready HP ElitePad on Windows® 8 is ideal for enterprises and governments. Both deliver the service and support people expect from HP.”
The HP Slate7 joins the recently introduced HP Chromebook as part of HP’s push to offer access to the Google experience.
HP’s tablet offerings reside in the company’s newly formed Mobility Global Business Unit, established in September 2012 with the hiring of Torres. Torres joined HP from Nokia, where he was executive vice president and oversaw the MeeGo products and platform.
HP Slate7 makes computing easy while on the go
Powered by an ARM Dual Core Cortex-A9 1.6 GHz processor, the HP Slate7 is fast and responsive. Integrated wireless allows customers to access email, the internet and key applications, while the High-aperture-ratio Field Fringe Switching (HFFS) panel offers wide viewing angles that provide easy viewing of documents, games, photos and videos-even in outdoor lighting conditions.
The HP Slate7 includes a 3-megapixel camera on the back and a VGA camera on the front for chatting, videos and photos.
With the HP ePrint (2) application, customers can easily print while at home or on the go, and the exclusive native printing capability enables customers to print directly from most applications. A micro USB port allows customers to easily transfer files, and a suite of applications from HP spans exclusive games to productivity tools.
HP will provide an array of simple and easy-to-access support tools and resources to help customers take full advantage of all of the features the HP Slate7 has to offer. In addition to extensive phone and online support offerings included with the HP Slate7, HP is offering customers the opportunity to add to the standard product limited warranty with its HP Care Pack services. HP Slate7 customers will have the option to protect their investment with a two-year HP Care Pack for $29 or a two-year HP Care Pack with Accidental Damage Protection (ADP) for $49.(3)
Pricing and availability(3)
The HP Slate7 is expected to be available in the United States in April with a starting price of $169.
Additional information about the HP Slate7 is available at www.hp.com/slate and The Next Bench.