Hewlett-Packard is moving full steam ahead with tablet-notebook hybrids.
HP Wednesday unveiled two hybrid models -- one for Windows 8 and one for Android -- for its budding x2 product series. Both are slated to be available this summer. The HP Split x2 for Windows 8 and the HP SlateBook x2 for Android follow HP's first major hybrid product, the Envy X2, a Windows 8 tablet-notebook released late last year.
Tablet-notebook hybrids appear to becoming more popular as HP joins major vendors such as Lenovo, Acer, Samsung and Microsoft, which have all released or announced new hybrid models this year. Some industry watchers believe 10-inch tablets will soon be overshadowed by hybrids as more consumers and business users look for full PC functionality in their mobile devices.
HP's new x2 models have detachable displays that act as stand-alone tablets and can be re-attached to the keyboards through magnetic hinges. HP said the consumer-focused products are designed to deliver notebook and tablet experiences in one package.
The HP Split x2 for Windows 8 is a 13.3-inch high-performance notebook with a detachable tablet display that runs either Intel's third-generation Core i3 or i5 processor. The device starts with 2 GB of RAM and can hold an SSD with up to 128 GB of storage, plus an optional hard-disk drive with up to 500 GB that goes in the keyboard base.
The HP Split x2 also features a LED-backlit IPS (In-Plane Switching) display with a resolution of 1,366 x 768, plus an 8-megapixel rear camera and a front camera that supports HD video recording. With the screen attached, the Split x2 weighs 4.12 lbs and measures 0.92 of an inch thick.
The HP Split X2 represents a step up in both size and performance from the previously released Windows 8-based Envy x2, which has an 11.6-inch display and runs on Intel's 1.8GHz dual-core Atom Z2760 processor.
The HP SlateBook x2 for Android, meanwhile, is HP's second foray into the Android market this year, following the new HP Slate 7 Android tablet.
The HP SlateBook x2 is smaller and lighter than its Windows 8 counterpart, weighing 3.08 lbs and featuring a 10.1-inch detachable display. The SlateBook x2's IPS display actually has a higher resolution that the Split x2, supporting a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution.
The Android hybrid runs on Nvidia's Tegra 4 1.8GHz quad-core processor and starts with 2 GB of RAM and supports SSDs with up to 64 GB. The SlateBook x2 also features a dual battery system, with one battery in the display and one in the keyboard base, plus a 1,080p rear camera and a 720p front camera.
Both the SlateBook x2 and Split x2 come with USB and HDMI ports and an SD card slot, but the Windows 8-based Split x2 also ships with a USB 3.0 port and a microSD card reader.
HP said the SlateBook x2 and Split x2 will be available in August starting at $479.99 and $799.99, respectively.
Kirk Skaugen, vice president and general manager of Intel's PC Client Group, believes hybrids will become a dominant form factor. Speaking at Intel's Solution Summit 2013 in March, Skaugen said the stand-alone 10-inch tablet will "rapidly erode" this year in favor of smaller 7- to 8-inch tablets, while convertible notebooks and hybrids with detachable screens increase in popularity.
Jeff Davis, senior vice president of sales at D&H Distributing, said he sees a similar trend. "The smaller 7-inch tablet models have been very popular," he said. "And we're seeing a lot of the 10-inch tablets sales turn into convertible notebooks or hybrids."
PUBLISHED MAY 15, 2013