Lo and behold, here comes one of the earliest competitors in the tablet wars back to the ring to take another swing. Rising from the ashes of the HP Touchpad, a 10”, Palm OS based tablet known more for its $99 fire sale liquidation than any quality of the device itself, is the all new Slate 7.
Not taking any chances, the Slate 7 is a 7” 16:9 tablet that runs a stock version of Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean”. The announced model is equipped with 16GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, and powered by a ARM Cortex-A9 1.6Ghz dual-core CPU. HP’s Beats Audio sound processing is an intriguing inclusion as the audio quality on most tablets can be best described as “Horrifically awful”. Unlike most 7” tablets, the Slate 7 will come with dual cameras, a VGA quality up front and 3MP in the back. Slate 7 will be available at it’s April U.S. launch in two colors: Silver and red. The price? A very wallet friendly $169.
Priced $30 cheaper than both the Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD and Google’s Nexus 7 and a $70 less than Apple’s iPad Mini, the Slate 7 appears poised to be the perfect tablet for casual users. Moreover, HP’s long standing relationship with retailers will ensure this tablet finds a place in every retailer’s electronics department. The device may lack raw performance compared to the Nexus 7’s Tegra quad-core CPU, but many users will probably see the boon of some extra cash in their pockets compared to the extra processing power only unleashed by power hungry apps or games. The stock install of Android should ensure that system updates are delivered in a timely manner, still a sticking point for some Android devices.
HP has come back to the tablet market with a class of machine that made them one of the leading manufactures in the PC world. The Slate 7 looks like a ‘good enough’ machine with some sharp aesthetics at a reasonable price. Power users are sure to turn up their noses at the system specs (especially with Nvidia preparing to launch the next generation of their high performance Tegra chipset), but for a casual user just looking to surf the web, check email, and watch a video, the Slate 7 may very well make HP as much of a mass market juggernaut in the tablet world as it is in the PC one.