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.
Android-powered all-in-one PCs are all the rage... or at least that's what desktop manufacturers are hoping at CES. HP is the latest to enter this particular fray with the Slate21 Pro, an all-in-one design that runs any OS you want, as long as you want Android. The 21.5", 1080p IPS touchscreen hides a respectable NVIDIA Tegra 4 system underneath, with Android 4.3 and access to the Google Play Store.
This model is aimed squarely at businesses for a kiosk environment - think hotel business suites or elementary school computer labs.
HP's efforts in the Android tablet space haven't been all that inspiring so far, but they're hoping to change that with the late 2013 line. If you've been waiting on the HP Slate 8 Pro or the Slate 7 Extreme, it looks like Best Buy is the first American retailer to get its hands on the new tablets. You can pick them up for $329.99 and $199.99, respectively.
The Slate 8 Pro is HP's imitation of an iPad Mini.
To put it simply, HP isn't the most sought-after name in the tablet game. The company's first real Android tablet, the Slate 7, didn't work out quite like expected, while the recently-released Slatebook x2 managed to miss the mark when it came to the display. They say the third time's a charm, so HP decided to go all out with its third tablet announcement and drop four new Android-powered device on the world.
When it comes to Android tablets with detachable keyboards, one name comes to mind: Transformer. There's no denying that ASUS has carved out a pretty specific niche in the Android tablet/laptop convertible category. HP is looking to change that with the SlateBook x2, a 10.2-inch Android tablet with a keyboard dock that essentially converts it to an Android-powered laptop. It's small enough to fall into the "netbook" category, but that's a dirty word I try to stay away from.
HP's return to the tablet market hasn't exactly set the world on fire just yet, with only the budget-focused Slate 7 filling in the spaces on retail shelves. Today the company aims a little higher with the StateBook x2, a riff on ASUS' Transformer series with high-end specs and a high-end price to match them. The tablet comes bundled with a keyboard - there's no tablet-only option - for $479.
Few people probably saw this one coming. Microsoft Windows has long faced off with Mac OS X on the desktop, and while only a distinct minority adopted Apple's platform, the conflict has captured the interest of the tech industry for years. Open source advocates have even entertained the idea that Linux desktops would one day topple Microsoft's empire. Far fewer people speculated that it would be a mobile operating system that would start to replace Windows on desktop machines.
Hey HP, we know you're new to the Android game, so here's a tip: if you've got a hot new piece of hardware, the absolute worst time to announce it is a few hours before Google I/O. That said, the new SlateBook x2 might garner some interest thanks to its internals alone - it's one of the first devices after NVIDIA's own Shield to use the Tegra 4 SoC. Throw in a 10.1-inch 1920x1200 screen and a very familiar-looking keyboard dock, and you've got the makings of a serious competitor.
If only there was an affordable, powerful, and well-supported 7" Android tablet out there. Oh wait, there is exactly that. But HP thinks there is room for a cheaper, moderately worse tablet. So, meet the Slate 7. It's not bad looking at all; actually, I quite like how HP's designed this thing. It feels pretty nice (the back is a sort of brushed matte plastic), and is relatively light.
After the failure of the Touchpad, HP basically had three options if it wanted to get back in the consumer tablet game: Windows RT, Android, or another stab at WebOS. HP allegedly threw out plans for Windows RT hardware in June of last year, and WebOS is an open source husk of itself that hasn't been acknowledged by the company in months.