LAS VEGAS -- Remember the days of the simple, old-fashioned Windows PC? Those days seem long behind us, as major PC manufacturers continue to explore alternatives in an ever-fragmenting computing landscape. At CES 2014, HP’s prime offering serves as a clear indicator of the sea change: the HP Slate 21 Pro, HP’s headlining product, is a business-targeted update to the HP Slate 21. But this time, the 21.5-inch Android all-in-one desktop tablet doubles as a PC monitor.
The HP Slate 21 Pro adds some extra oomph to the last version, with 16GB of onboard storage, 2GB of RAM, and Android 4.3 along with a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 4 processor. It’s not tremendously exciting hardware-wise, but this large 1,920x1,080 IPS display tablet still only costs $399 and comes with a keyboard and mouse in the box.
The far bigger deal is that this all-in-one also doubles as a monitor: yes, there’s an HDMI input, so this effectively is also a 1080p optical touchscreen IPS monitor, too. There are also 3 USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet, audio/mic out, and a USB 2.0 upstream port for Windows touch display compatibility.
802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, a 720p webcam and microphone, stereo speakers, and an SD card slot mean this could be — and is intended to be — a stand-alone system. But for who, exactly? Perhaps small businesses, or educational markets, or kiosks, as HP envisions. Android 4.3 allows for easier multi-user access. Also included are some business-friendly tools: pre-installed Kingoffice software, Citrix XenMobile and Receiver support, and Skype / HP MyRoom for video conferencing.
Matte black and boxy, the HP Slate 21 Pro looks like what it costs. But the additional perk of being a plain old monitor could help add a lot of appeal. The bigger question is, do small business and education markets want a large-screen Android PC at all?
The HP Slate 21 Pro is available now for $399.