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.
The AT&T Galaxy SII (i777) isn't the only Android device getting official CyanogenMod 9 nightly love today, as the first nightlies just went live for the HP TouchPad (codename tenderloin) and the LG Nitro HD (codename p930, also known as LG Optimus LTE on Bell Canada).
Remember back when an HP Touchpad was spotted running Android out of the box? Well, it would appear that after some cajoling, the CM team (in association with an attorney) have convinced HP to release the Touchpad's Android kernel source, along with a couple of other GPL components specifically modified for Android-powered Touchpads accidentally released to the wild. In addition to the kernel, HP released code to androidvncserver and i2c-tools.
The CyanogenMod team recently teased us with a video of CM9 running on the Touchpad and now it looks like their efforts have culminated in the first Alpha ("Alpha 0") release of CM9 for the WebOS tablet.
The earlier CM7 Alpha 1 and Alpha 2 builds were quite buggy and not really ready for primetime use, but the latest CM9 release is a whole "*two* CyanogenMods better", bringing Ice Cream Sandwich goodness to the Touchpad.
If you happen to own an HP TouchPad and have been waiting patiently for a proper Android port, you'll be overjoyed to see a sneak peek of what CM9 brings to the table. If you recall our announcements for the CM7 Alpha 1 and Alpha 2 builds, you probably remember an overwhelming indication that neither build was all too stable, and running them was not for the faint of heart. Alpha 3 is a bit better, but still has a laundry list of issues.