HP switches to Android for $169 Slate 7, phones planned too

Hewlett-Packard is making a tablet comeback, switching to Android and taking on the Google Nexus 7 with the HP Slate 7.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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BARCELONA, Spain -- Hewlett-Packard is making a tablet comeback, and it's learned a few lessons from the the failure of the TouchPad it seems. Not only is the new HP Slate 7 powered by Android, it costs a mere $169. It's the first in a planned line of tablets using different operating systems, with plans for HP smartphones too.

Taking on the iPad with the TouchPad didn't work back in 2011, so HP now has the smaller, cheaper Google Nexus 7 in its sights instead. The TouchPad used HP's own software, but the Slate 7 switches to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, with minimal of tweaks. More Android tablets will follow, with HP hinting that Windows tablets could be on the cards too.

HP already makes the ElitePad tablet for business use, so a consumer tablet powered by Windows 8 isn't too much of a leap. Previous HP Slates have been powered by Windows too.

The company is keeping mum on details of the promised smartphones, but it's a safe bet they'll be Android-powered too.

The new Slate 7 sports a stainless steel frame and 'soft touch' back, with a 3-megapixel camera and second camera for video calling. It's powered by a dual-core ARM A9 processor. HP has added some of its own features and apps, including the ePrint app to print from your tablet over Wi-Fi, and Beats audio software to boost your music.

The Slate 7 will be released in the U.S. in April, landing in Europe and the rest of the world soon after. Prices for the rest of the world have yet to be confirmed. It's being unveiled at phone trade show Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as you read this, so look out for our first take, as well as hands-on photos and video.