Not content to simply blur the line between conventional smartphones and tablets like manufacturers around the world are already doing, HP has decided to completely erase any distinction between the two. This morning the company announced that its first smartphones since the ill-fated HP Pre 3 in 2011 won't be "phones" at all, but rather "voice tablets," competing with low-cost, big-screen models like the Galaxy Mega. Re/code reports that the two inaugural Android devices, the Slate 6 and Slate 7, will be introduced in India next month.


Why India? Because HP already has a significant presence in the Indian PC market with approximately one third of conventional PC sales, and the Indian smartphone market is more diverse - 800-pound gorilla Samsung only has a 15% share of sales, for example, compared to approximately 33% in the US. HP also sees potential in the way Indian consumers scorn the usual carrier subsidy model, tending to buy devices outright without a service contract. At the moment the company has not announced plans to bring the Slate 6 or Slate 7 to any other countries, though that could certainly change.

So what about the hardware? HP isn't being altogether forward with details, but both phones voice tablets will use quad-core processors (make and speed unknown), 5 megapixel rear cameras, 16GB of storage with a MicroSD card slot, and IPS-LCD screens (720p on the Slate 6, 1280x800 on the Slate 7). Software is Android 4.2, and if these devices are anything like HP's current forays into the tablet market, they'll be lightly skinned with some printing and business-focused apps on top of standard Android. Both will be relatively slim for devices this big at "less than 9mm" and 9.5mm, respectively. HP has not announced pricing for either handset.

A press render of the Slate 6 shows a big smartphone with virtual navigation buttons (oddly, the Recents and Back buttons are swapped), dual front-facing speakers, a tinted plastic ring around the edge, and a pixelated grey back. All in all, it's a conservative mix of Samsung and HTC design trends. There is no image of the Slate 7 at the moment.

Before purchasing Palm and its struggling Pre and WebOS brands, HP's last entry in the smartphone market was the Blackberry-style iPaq Glisten way back in 2006. Maybe it's not all that surprising that the company isn't eager to go toe-to-toe with Samsung and Apple in the more heated markets just yet.

Source: Re/code

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    Dual frontal speakers? i wonder who they copied that from.

    • nebula

      Nexus 10 amirite?

      • ken147

        Nah, must be the Oppo.

      • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

        Look at the design though... front is almost like a HTC One, Dual frontal speakers, and extended bezel at the bottom for the logo.

        • Fadakar

          Bottom bezel should be extended, use a phone that gives more space between the bottom bezel (like the One, N5, Lumia devices, etc.) and then use the Moto X, where the buttons are basically at the bottom.

          No contorting your thumbs to press the button when you're holding your device one handed.

    • Aaron Jaeger

      They copied it from Mr. Sense, Common Sense. Joking aside, the devices actually look pretty nice. Google Play edition?

    • Cesar

      Who cares if they copied it? It's a trend I'd like to see more manufacturers going forward with.

  • Tykin

    That phone looks like the Nexus 4 and HTC One's love child. But I think it looks pretty good!

    • Fadakar

      Yeah I absolutely love the design, props to HP to trying something new instead of just following the herd incredibly late.

      I would be interested if the specs were right and it launched in the US.

  • GraveUypo

    i like voice tablet way better than "phablet". hope that catches on

    • hot_spare

      In India, I have seen voice-enabled Tabs (from Samsung) sell like crazy. if priced right ($200 seems to be a good range), they will sell quite a few.

  • nebula

    It's a good looking phone, but the press render shows wlan communication errors (no connection to google services).

    • akshay7394

      or kitkat. or a theme. or anything.

      • nebula

        #33b5e5 battery icon and the navigation + status bar hasn't the new kitkat transparent shadow

        • akshay7394

          Transparency isn't a must for OEMs. Nor are the system colours compulsory for them to implement.

          It's still a bad render, but the WLAN comm. errors isn't why hahaha.

    • Hidetomaru

      They also show "Maill" and "Remenber the Tinme"

  • Carlos Rodríguez

    What's the point of OEMs having a freaking Android PDK to release phones in 2014 with Android 4.2???

    AFAIK, the reason of the PDK is to release devices with the latest android version if possible, or at least have a quick upgrade.

    I still don't get why OEMs release devices with an operating system of 2012.

    Yes, android 4.2 is not that outdated and many features are present but that also mean that those devices won't see many, if any, updates.

    Give me a break!

  • Jim

    Voice tablets. This exactly what they have been for a while. Tech media are a bunch of cows in a herd. Most of the world already started moving to voice tablets, but the media cant see it still. Ultra Z GPE, hello?? Am i still not connecting media

    • http://thegumshoe.com/ Michael Crider

      You're absolutely right. I can't believe how wrong I was. Just give me a few minutes to call up most of the world and confirm.

      • Jim

        And very professional "journalism" too. U r truly open minded. Look at the sales stats in Asia, voice tablets are quite considerable. Maybe its time for job more to ur bovine charm?

  • WORPspeed

    The bezel surrounding the bezel is its best feature :P

    All joking aside I think voice tablet is a horrible name. While from a technical perspective I really like it, but I can;t shake the feeling that they'' miss out on sales because some people won't look at it as a replacement for their phones (which I very much think it could be)

  • Sam Del Valle

    Good design. Not a big fan of phablets but I hope HP keeps the design when they make smaller phones

  • mac

    I suspect these are powered by Mediatek 6582 Quadcore. i hope they dont overprize these above 20K like Sony did with Xperia C.

    • Guest123

      word is it will be a Marvell quad-core.

      • renz

        yep. it is 1Ghz quad core. though i never heard much about it

  • Yogesh Laxman Raut

    I have doubts it will work in india. Phablets never worked here. Not even tablets.

    • Roh_Mish

      What are you talking about?? Phablets, especially the Note 2 (and now note 3) are very popular here in Mumbai. There are more and more people buying tablets (mostly iPad). So it may work. Atleast here. Dont know about other places.

  • Mathias Kenting

    Looks nice.

  • Keith Boror

    Surprisingly looks really good!

  • shadowx360

    Anyone else noticed that in the render it says "maill" and "Remember the Timne"? Seems like either fakes or someone at HP is about to get flamed.

    • jameebsc

      Its true dude .. WE got information from HP... its gng rocks its seems

  • Keanu

    Honestly this looks good, but I've promised to never buy HP product again, their after-sales service is horrible in my country.

  • DarrenR

    Very pretty, specs are kind of underwhelming though. But they arent meant for my market so who knows.

  • Matthew Fry

    Don't bring up PalmOS :( Speaking of which, I wonder if they've found any use for any of Palm's assets/ip. Was it a complete waste of money or are the old Palm divisions the ones that are making these devices/skins?

  • usaff22

    I love the wallpaper on that thing! I shall remind myself to search for it when the phone launches.

  • Ryan Lounsbury

    I like it... Part of me would be fine with a 4G Android tablet with mobile calling features. Mate it up with a good bluetooth headset and off I go. The problem, of course, is a 6" or 7" device is generally too large to carry around as a daily driver and use it in the car as a navigation device.

    That being said I like the design and would like to see this as an actual 5" phone Google Play Edition style.

    • Guest123

      tablets work great in the car as a navigation device, just need the proper holder. and 6" will fit in a pants pocket. . . won't sit with it, but walking is ok, unless you are a rather large person then no problem.

  • http://www.youtube.com/#/mrjlwilliams J. Williams

    That's actually a good looking device, if it's the correct render. I'd buy it, 6 inches is a nice place for phablets.

  • jonathan3579

    I'll just call them pieces of shit.

  • Ror

    Love how HP still managed to ruin it by swapping the placement of the back and multitask keys.

    • Anthony Tyson

      Nothing beats unnecessary modifications.

    • karthik nayak

      there's always rooting

  • wilber
  • wilber


    7 inch Tablet PC 3G Phablet GSM/WCDMA MTK6572 Dual Core 4GB Android 4.2 Dual SIM GPS Phone Call WIFI Tablet