I woke this morning rather excited to see that HP and are now an official Android partner. Announcing the HP Slate 7 at Mobile World Congress in Spain over night. Upon hearing the news, two things sprang to mind:
- The fantastic support I have received from HP for my Media Centre PC. Your mileage may vary, of course.
- They didn’t do a Nokia! No offense Nokia fans, but Android is the hot ticket in town for Manufacturers to get on.
HP have the scale to really push out some differently designed hardware. Red is nice! Anyone? It’s a fairly moderate first effort aside from the colour, but if the HP Slate 7 is successful, I believe we have grounds to expect some more daring and interesting design from HP.
We know HP already makes a larger, more expensive, enterprise oriented Windows slate, the ElitePad. We also know that the larger sized WebOS TouchPad couldn’t find significant success in the 9-10 inch tablet range. *Cough, iPad, cough*. With these things in mind HP are wisely playing it safe with the Slate 7, sort of piggybacking on the success of 7 inch Android tablets, most notably Google’s Nexus 7.
The rather lightweight 370 gram Slate 7 is presenting itself to you as an alternative 7 inch tablet in a few different ways. Most notably, it’s price is only US$169. It also has Beats Audio™ built in to entice all those who have invested in those rather expensive headphones.
Unlike the Nexus 7, the Slate 7 has both front and rear mounted cameras. The rear camera in particular is a 3MP offering. We’ll have to wait and see what sort of results are possible with that. For those that already have a HP Printer, HP are promising “with HP ePrint, you can effortlessly print photos for easy sharing.”
The Slate 7 is powered by an as yet unknown ARM Dual Core Cortex-A9 1.6 GHz processor to keep things ticking along. Also, HP has included 8GB of local storage and 1GB of RAM which is pretty much the minimum for a respectable experience on an Android 4.1 tablet, as established by the first batch of Nexus 7’s.
HP have gone with a 1024×600 display. This is obviously to keep costs down so they can offer it up nice and cheap. If it’s on par with Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2 7 display it will be good enough for the average punter in my opinion.
Lastly, the version of Jelly Bean on the Slate 7 is Android 4.1.1. I think this is probably a good place to start for HP’s first go as this version of Android is for the most part a good performer. I’m prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt on future updates for the time being as they’ve shipped with a nice, stock version of Android as you can see in Android Central’s HP Slate 7 Hands On.
Australian pricing and availability are yet to be announced. We’ve reached out to HP Australia for these details and we’ll let you know once we get them. This is a fresh start for HP. We wish them all the best as an Android partner.
Design looks quite nice, and I am digging the red one hard, but 1024×600? Really, HP? Did you learn nothing from the TouchPad?
On closer inspection, the “Honeycomb tablet style” interface on the image above is completely wrong. The on screen buttons for home, back, recent apps, search, etc are in the same “Jelly Bean phone style” layout as the Nexus 7. This should be a relief if you were worried.
Those bezels, my eyes! Hey HP, it’s nice that you’re playing the price game but at what cost? At least match the N7’s resolution, minimise bezels a little and I might pay attention, even if the price was jacked up $50. What do you think will happen to this tablet when the inevitable N7 successor with full HD comes around in a few months?