HP Enters Android Tablet Fray With Slate 7

HP's consumer tablet, dubbed the HP Slate 7, comes with the Android Jelly Bean 4.1 operating system and a 7-inch display. But the device's most-talked-about feature may be its aggressive pricing; the HP Slate will start at $169, putting the device in head-to-head competition with other smaller and affordable Android tablets such as the Amazon Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7.

The HP Slate 7's technical specs are similar to those in competing 7-inch Android tablets. HP's device features a dual-core 1.6GHz chip based on ARM's Cortex-A9 architecture, plus 8 GB of storage, 1 GB of RAM and microSD support for expandable storage. The Slate 7 also comes in a stainless steel frame and packs a 3-megapixel camera on the back and a VGA camera on the front.

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The HP Slate 7 marks the tech giant's second attempt to win share in the consumer tablet market. HP first launched the webOS-based TouchPad in 2011, but the tablet was discontinued after just six weeks and HP ceased all development around webOS.

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HP returned to tablet market this year with the enterprise-focused ElitePad, based on Windows 8, but the consumer market remained elusive for HP until Sunday's announcement. For its part, HP sees the ElitePad and Slate 7 as complementary devices that address two distinct markets.

"To address the growing interest in tablets among consumers and businesses alike, HP will offer a range of form factors and leverage an array of operating systems," said Alberto Torres, senior vice president of HP's Mobility Global Business Unit, in a statement. "Our new HP Slate 7 on Android represents a compelling entry point for consumer tablets, while our ground-breaking, business-ready HP ElitePad on Windows 8 is ideal for enterprises and governments. Both deliver the service and support people expect from HP."

The HP Slate 7 is also another step for HP's broadening OS ecosystem, which has begun to take shape in 2013. HP released its first Chromebook, dubbed the Pavilion 14 Chromebook, earlier this month. Based on Google's Chrome OS, the HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook marked the first time in recent memory the computer maker made a significant commitment to a PC operating system other than Microsoft's Windows.

The HP Slate 7 will be available in the U.S. starting in April.