Just before Mobile World Congress officially kicked off in Barcelona, Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) announced that it was jumping back into the consumer tablet fray with a new Android device, the Slate 7. As far as strategic positioning goes, the Slate 7 is like a mix of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)‘s first-generation Kindle Fire and Google’s own Nexus 7.
Can the Slate 7 give Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) a bigger foot in the tablet door?
What would happen if a Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 hooked up?
From a hardware standpoint, the Slate 7 bears an uncanny resemblance to the first Kindle Fire, which was launched back in 2011. The display is the same size and resolution as the e-tailer’s device, and also carries a similar price point. The processor powering the Slate 7 is an ARM Holdings plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:ARMH) dual-core Cortex-A9 processor, but HP is not specifying exactly who is making this chip.
The software front is where the Slate 7 resembles the Nexus 7, since Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) has decided to ship its tablet with a mostly stock version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. I say “mostly” because HP is adding a couple of customizations, but the additions are nowhere near the level of software modifications that other OEMs are obsessed with adding.
HP is embedding Beats Audio in the device for improved audio capabilities, but also integrating an HP ePrint app to gently encourage consumers to keep on printing (and buying expensive printer ink). Incredibly, printing is still 21% of the business, with that segment generating $5.9 billion in revenue last quarter. Other than these two additions, the Slate 7 is mostly a stock Android affair.
Here’s how the Slate 7 stacks up against its two adopted parents.
|Specification||Slate 7||Nexus 7||Kindle Fire (first-generation)|
|Display resolution||1,024 x 600||1,280 x 800||1,024 x 600|
|Storage||8 GB||16 GB / 32 GB||8 GB|
|Cellular option?||No||Yes, $50 extra||No|
The device is about as entry-level as it gets, and it commands a commensurate price point. The Slate 7 has no illusions of competing with high-end devices in this market segment like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)‘s iPad Mini.