It took them the better part of two years, but HP is finally ready to get back in the consumer tablet game, this time backing Android. Their first tablet will be the Slate 7, a small model that's light on price and even lighter on surprises. Roughly comparable to the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, the 1024x600 FFS+ LCD screen sits on top of a 1.6Ghz dual-core A9 processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of MicroSD-expandable storage. According to HP's promotional page, it will be available in at least two colors. The rear camera is a disappointing 3 megapixels, with the front a dismal VGA model, and it runs stock Android 4.1. Wait, what?

hp slate back hp slate front

You read that right: the Slate 7 will be running almost entirely stock Jelly Bean, with only HP's Beats Audio and ePrint apps added in. (A pair of stereo speakers, which seem to be integrated into the body TouchPad-style, help to take advantage of the audio processing.) That might be enough for HP to turn a few heads, at least among Android purists, and the competitive $169.99 price doesn't hurt. A soft-touch rubber casing that's a little chunky at 10.7mm rounds out the hardware.You could do worse for a 7-inch WiFi tablet, though with a little more dough you could do a lot better.


Still, if HP intends to buck the Android manufacturer trend with a hands-off software approach, we're game to see what they've learned since the TouchPad. The Slate 7 will be available starting in April.

BARCELONA, SPAIN--(Marketwire - Feb 24, 2013) - HP (NYSE: HPQ) 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.