HP lets loose Android-based Slate 7 tablet starting at $169

HP's Slate 7 tablet will ship in April

Hewlett-Packard is reentering the consumer tablet market with the Slate 7, an Android-based device with a 7-inch screen that will start at US$169.

The Slate 7 runs Android 4.1, also known as Jellybean, and has a dual-core processor based on ARM's Cortex-A9 design. It will start shipping in the U.S. in April, HP said. It didn't provide availability details for other countries.

This will be HP's first tablet based on Google's Android OS. HP quit the consumer tablet market in 2011 when it killed off its WebOS-based TouchPad, but it's now back to take another swing.

HP already offers tablets and hybrids running Windows 8, including the ElitePad 900, that are aimed primarily at business users. Rumors of HP developing an Android device emerged earlier this month. The company has also adopted Google's Chromebook OS for its low-power laptops.

At $169, the tablet has a competitive price. It's lower than Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, which also runs a dual-core Cortex-A9 processor and is priced at around $199 on Amazon.

The Slate 7 weighs 368 grams and provides speedy access to Google services, HP said. Other features include a 3-megapixel camera on the back and a VGA camera on the front. The tablet has 8GB of storage, expandable with an SD card slot, and Wi-Fi capabilities. The display shows images at 1024-by-600 pixel resolution.

HP announced the product at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Spain. Earlier Sunday, Samsung announced a Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet running Android 4.1.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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