As first rumored earlier this month, HP has officially confirmed its intentions to re-enter the tablet market following the HP TouchPad debacle by officially announcing the Slate 7 Android tablet, a 7-inch Android tablet meant to undercut Google’s own Nexus 7 for $169.99 with the launch slated for April.
In terms of specifications, the Slate 7 features a soft-touch rubber body shell, a dual-core 1.6GHz ARM Cortex-A9 chip powering a 1024 x 600 resolution FFS+ LCD touch display, which HP claims will feature wide viewing angles and perform well in low light. Specifications consist of 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage expandable via microSD slot, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, and a pair of cameras, with one front-facing VGA webcam and a 3.0 megapixel rear camera. The tablet also features stereo speakers with Beats Audio processing, recalling the audio features of the TouchPad in a stainless steel frame 10.7mm thick.
While the Slate 7 will be the first Android tablet manufactured by HP for retail sale, it is not the first time the conglomerate has dealt with Android tablets, as it included a companion tablet with the high-end PhotoSmart eStation printer/tablet hybrid manufactured to show off its then new ePrint wireless printing technology and even used Android to QA test HP TouchPad hardware, as evidenced by the availability of such units when the TouchPad was discontinued and went through a fire sale, leading to legal wrangling, as the Android build used for hardware QA testing was not necessarily meant to be distributed publicly.
Also unlike the PhotoSmart tablet, the Slate 7 features Android Jelly Bean version 4.1 with full Google Apps certification and support with a modified build being deployed by HP in order to fully support both ePrint and the Beats Audio DSP throughout the entire OS, which includes access by third-party apps.
HP has yet to announce more specific availability details outside of the April launch date, including what territories the tablet will launch in during the initial April release. HP has also confirmed that the Slate 7 is only the first in a new line of tablets from the conglomerate, as it has also confirmed additional Android tablets in more sizes as well as Windows tablets.