The brand-new HP Slate7 launched today at the Mobile World Congress. SURPRISE! Two things make this a big deal for HP: For starters, we’re formally adding Google's platforms to more HP devices (in case you missed our Chromebook announcement). It also means that you can get your greedy little hands on this neat little tablet for a reasonable price – it starts at just $169.
Many of the aggressively priced tablets on the market cut corners to hit a price point. That’s not the case here. For your money you get a smartly-designed device, with smart features to match. As you can see from the pictures, this value-priced tablet looks anything BUT value-level quality.
Whether you opt for the silver or red-colored models, it’s still going to hinge upon what lies under the hood. Armed with an ARM Dual Core Cortex-A9 1.6 GHz processor, the Slate7promises a respectable amount of zip for your money as it powers through Android 4.1 (Jellybean). The Slate7 offers 8GB of on-board storage that you can easily work with by plugging into your PC via the micro-USB port….what I care more about is the micro SD expandable card slot so you aren’t limited to how much you need to store. For instance, I recently bought a couple 32GB micro SD cards for about $30 each. It’s like loading in extra hard drives!
A big part of any tablet is the screen and the Slate7 delivers nice, wide viewing angles – even in outdoor lighting conditions. Yep, no more hangers-on hovering RIGHT THERE to watch your Words with Friends prowess thanks to the 1024 by 600, High-aperture-ratio Field Fringe Switching (HFFS) panel. Go ask any tablet owner about when they want to watch something on-screen with multiple people – or how they have to duck for shade in order to use their tablet half the time. Speaking of time, I’m told that it’ll playback video for five hours on a single charge. THAT I’d like to see…
It’s also about portability. This Slate’s 7-inch screen, slim profile (measuring 10.7mm by 197mm by 116mm thin) and 13-ounce weight makes it easy to tote just about anywhere. Me? I like that I can jam this in my jacket pocket and not think twice about it.
Of course, being an HP product, you know that were going to pack in Beats Audio technology. There’s a three-megapixel camera on the back and a front-facing VGA camera for chatting, videos and photos. HP’s Slate offers another unique feature, great for those that need to print on-the-go. Just pull up HP ePrint to print directly from most applications without opening anything else. One less thing to sweat when you’re not at home – you’ve gotta love that. (I’ve also heard that there’s a raft of exclusive productivity software and games that will be available for the Slate7. I just don’t know what that exactly entails. Yet.)
Since we’re talking Android, you’ve got the Google tools you’d expect –Gmail, Google Drive and Google+ Hangouts for multi-person video chat to YouTube and access to apps in the Chrome Web Store.
But what does the future hold for HP products and Google working more closely together? Alberto Torres, Senior Vice President of HP Mobility puts it this way: “Android opened new avenues in the tablet segment. Toward the end of last year, we saw incredible growth with Android, to the point that it’s now exceeding iOS. So, of course, we’re excited to be working with Google.”
As a result, HP’s plan includes a three-tiered approach for the tablet market. Torres adds, “We’re looking at mobility in the enterprise commercial tier, where the ElitePad 900 is already getting traction in the marketplace. The Slate is coming from the consumer line, which is really about delivering a great entertainment experience. We also want to create a third tier for premium consumer products – a Bring-Your-Own solution for the SMB crowd. Think of a device built with a ‘work hard, play hard’ attitude.“
The way I see it, the HP Slate7 is a great starting point if you’re looking for something small in size that’ll offer ample performance with an affordable starting price. The HP Slate7 will be available in the United States in April via HPDirect.com. Want more information? Go to www.hp.com/slate.