Hewlett-Packard (HP) has, the Associated Press (via the Boston Globe) is reporting, announced that it has developed an Android based tablet computer that will be priced at just $169, which they note, is roughly half the cost of an iPad Mini. ZD Net says the introduction of the new tablet indicates that HP is not yet ready to give up on the computer market, but shows that it clearly understands the impact smartphones and especially tablets are having on the market.
The introduction of a bottom-basement priced tablet computer that runs Android, rather than Microsoft Windows, also shows that HP believes that Android is the wave of the future, while Windows, whether version 8, or RT, remains a question mark. ZD Net adds that despite the new release, HP is still very far behind the curve in developing hardware that fits the market-which the last two years has very clearly shown, is all about hand-held devices.
The AP notes also that despite taking tentative steps, HP is very clearly focused on hand-held devices now, and those that don’t take note are likely to be taken by surprise. HP is still, after all, the largest maker of computers in the world, and despite news of the death of the PC, sales still outnumber those for smartphones and tablets combined. Thus, while sales numbers have declined sharply, they haven’t fallen off a cliff, which means, HP, despite its slow response, is most certainly a company to be reckoned with once it gets its bearings. And with the introduction of a low cost Android tablet, the company is showing that it has begun to get its bearings.
ZD Net says that HP, for all its troubles, is situated the most strongly to take on Samsung, currently the world’s largest maker of cell phones and a company that has made clear its determination to become the largest maker of tablets as well (that title is still held by Apple).
The new tablet, called the HG Slate 7, has a 7 inch screen, making it similar in size to Amazon’s Kindle Fire. The AP spoke with Alberto Torres, head of HP’s mobile division, and he told them that HP hasn’t abandoned the idea of building a device to support Windows RT, but because of the current dominance of Android tablets on the market today, he said doing the same made the most sense for the company. He added that unlike other tablets, the Slate has a port for directly connecting a printer, in addition to the usual USB port, a reminder that HP is still the computer printer king too.