HP lets loose Android-based Slate 7 tablet starting at $US169

HP's Slate 7 tablet will ship in April

Hewlett-Packard has reentered the consumer tablet market with the Slate 7, an Android-based device with a 7-inch screen that will start at $US169.

The Slate 7 will run Android 4.1, also known as Jellybean, and have 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 device 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 Wi-Fi capabilities.

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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