Review: HP Slate 6 VoiceTab

After flirting with Windows Mobile for their maiden foray into smartphones and then pinning hopes on webOS before it got killed two years ago. HP is taking another stab at the smartphone market with Android this time.

HP Slate 6 VoiceTab

HP VoiceTab series – Slate 6 and Slate 7 – hit the crowded phablet market in India intended for consumers who prefer to have one device for calls as well as web browsing, media consumption, and games. Also, Slate 6 is a dual SIM device, and that appeals to a lot of users in India.

Design

The HP VoiceTab Slate 6 is a surprisingly nicely designed phablet. It’s just 9mm thick, making it one of the slimmest device in the category. Also, at 160gm, it is surprisingly light for its size.

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The slim chassis of the 6-inch device makes it easy to hold and grip despite the large size. Of course, phablets of this size aren’t made for one-handed operation despite what the marketing folks claim, but the Slate 6 is not unwieldy and is quite easy to carry.

The removable back cover has a grey checkered design pattern with matte finish that gives the device a premium feel despite being all plastic. The gold finish on the sides and the metal buttons also adds to the appeal.

While the build quality of the phone is pretty good overall, the plastic materials used are very average. When you hold it firmly and attempt to twist, you’d feel as you’d break it. The back panel too is pretty flimsy.

HP Slate 6 VoiceTab

Hardware

Powered by a not-so-popular 1.2 GHz Marvell PXA1088 quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM and Android 4.2.2, the Slate 6 looks good on paper for a mid-range device. The 16 GB internal storage with microSD expansion is at par as well.

However, the overall responsiveness of the device is a let-down. HP stays away from heavy customizations and skinning, and runs stock Android, but the optimizations seem to be missing. The UI has a noticeable lag and apps take a few extra, I won’t say seconds, but maybe milliseconds. It wouldn’t have been annoying for most users, but the performance is inconsistent and apps like the default browser would sometimes hang and require a force quit. Casual games work all well on the Slate 6, but graphic-intensive games like Asphalt 8 obviously struggle at high graphic settings.

The HP Slate 6 features a 6-inch IPS 720p display. While the display is good enough and colors are accurately bright, the viewing angles are below average.

Camera

The 5MP rear camera of the Slate 6 is a decent camera in good light. The contrast isn’t right there and you wouldn’t have a lot of details in the photo, but they are pretty okay and sharp. In low light and outdoors in evening though, the camera app takes quite a while to focus, and there’s too much noise in the photos. The camera optics and the software disappoint overall. The 2MP front camera though works well for video calls and those selfies.

Summary

HP Slate 6 VoiceTab

The HP VoiceTab Slate 6 works, but does not impress much. The design is surprisingly sophisticated, but the user experience is listless and the camera offers sub-par experience. The 3000mAh battery last through the day, which is pretty good for a phablet.

At INR 22,990, the Slate 6 is not a bad device, but the performance issues make it hard to be recommended, especially in a crowded market. A software update could take care of most issues, but that’s shooting in the dark. The HP VoiceTab Slate 6 is well-intentioned, but an average comeback from HP.

HP Drops Slate 7 Price To $139

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HP has dropped the price of its Android-powered Slate 7 budget tablet from $169 to $139.  This price change is showing right now on HP’s online store and all new Slate 7 orders will feature this $30 price difference. It’s not yet clear if this $30 price drop is meant to clear out inventory for the discontinuation of the tablet or is just a general price drop.

The Slate 7 tablet was released a few months ago in February at Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Spain. The tablet is meant to cater to the low-end Android tablet market and undercut the price-tag of the ever so popular Google Nexus 7 that comes in at $199. The HP Slate 7 is a 7-inch Android-powered tablet that is currently running Android Jelly Bean. The device offers a dual-core 1.6GHz Cortex-A9 CPU and 1GB of RAM. These specifications are lower than that of the Google Nexus 7, but with a price-tag of only $139, we’re expecting it to appeal to a totally different crowd.

Source: TalkAndroid
Image Source: Kārlis Dambrāns

HP Slate 7 Is A Sub-Par Budget Tablet That No One Is Going To Care About

Last night at MWC, HP announced its first Android tablet – the Slate 7. However, the 10.7mm thick Slate 7 fails to impress in every way. The 7inch tablet sports mediocre specs – a dual-core 1.6GHz Cortex-A9 processor, 1024*600 resolution, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, microSD card slot, Bluetooth 2.1, shooters in the front (VGA) and back (3.1MP) and Wi-Fi b/g/n.

The Slate 7 also packs in a couple of front-facing stereo speakers with Beats audio branding and is capable of providing up to five hours of video playback. The suggested retail price of the Slate 7 is around $169, and will be running on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box.

Compared to the Nexus 7, the Slate 7 may be slightly cheaper and sport a microSD card slot, but is inferior in every other way. Plus, the Nexus 7 successor is just around the corner, which makes the Slate 7 a not so tempting deal. If anything, HP’s Slate 7 is going to meet the same fate as all other recent offerings from HP in the mobile market.

Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013 Complete Events Schedule

The much-awaited Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013 is finally here. As usual, the event will be held between January 8 – January 11 in Las Vegas, United States. HP, Lenovo and Vizio are expected to launch a number of ultrabooks, while LG, Samsung, Sony and HTC will launch their flagship smartphones and tablets. Check out the complete schedule below. All timings are mentioned in PST (GMT -0800).

Monday, January 7, 2013:

  • 08:00 am – LG Press Conference
  • 09:00 am – Sharp CES Press Showcase
  • 09:00 am – AT&T Developers Summit
  • 12:00 pm – Fujifilm Press Conference
  • 12:00 pm – NETGEAR Press Conference
  • 01:00 pm – Huawei Device Press Conference
  • 01:00 pm – Intel CES Press Briefing
  • 02:00 pm – Samsung Press Conference
  • 03:00 pm – Casio America Inc. Press Conference
  • 04:00 pm – Ford Motor Company Press Conference
  • 05:00 pm – Sony Press Conference
  • 06:30 pm – Qualcomm Keynote

Tuesday, January 8, 2013:

  • 11:00 am – Audi Press Conference
  • 01:00 pm – Bang & Olufsen Press Conference
  • 01:30 pm – ZTE Grand S Announcement
  • 04:00 pm – U.S. Launch of Motörheadphönes
  • 04:30 pm – Verizon Wireless Keynote
  • 05:30 pm – T-Mobile Press Event

Wednesday, January 9, 2013:

  • 09:00 am – Pebble: E-Paper Smartwatch for iPhone and Android Announcement
  • 11:30 am – Official Launch of SendBoo Mobile Application
  • 02:00 pm – SmartKlear by LensPen launch: Remove Fingerprints from your iPhone Screen
  • 02:00 pm – TAIWAN Products Launch & International Press Conference
  • 03:30 pm – Synaptop: Living in the Cloud Announcement
  • 06:00 pm – Kenwood USA Press Conference

HP Envy x2 is Another Tablet-Laptop Hybrid

Samsung is not the only one who is trying to blend the notebook and the tablet. Hours after Samsung introduced the Ativ Smart PCs, HP announced its own hybrid device – the Envy x2.

HP-Envy-x2-Hybrid-Laptop-Tablet

The HP Envy x2 promises to deliver the power of a notebook and the freedom of a tablet owing to its innovative hinge with magnets that allows the display to be effortlessly detached from and reattached with the keyboard dock. The Envy weighs less than 1.5 kg with the tablet component weighing only about 700 grams. The detachable display unit features an 11.6-inch, multi-touch capable IPS display with a resolution of 1,366 x 768.

HP-Envy-x2-Side-View

Under the hood, the Envy is powered by a Clover trail based Atom processor. Both the display unit and the dock have a battery. When powered on, the battery embedded in the display unit gets charged first. Conversely, when running without power, the battery in the dock gets discharged first. The objective is to ensure that the tablet is ready to be detached and used as quickly as possible.

Other features include NFC, pen support, Beats audio, 8 megapixel rear camera, HDMI output, 2 USB ports, and expandable memory (SD in the dock, and microSD in the tablet). Launch date and price are not yet known, but HP is obviously hoping to have the Envy x2 ready for the holiday season.

HP’s Second Attempt at Mobile Headed by Alberto Torres

With every major IT giant out there going into the mobile business, HP could not stand back and enjoy the show. Although, HP has had a horrid experience with the mobile over the last few years, perhaps it has learnt from its mistakes and wants to get back into the mobile sector with a fresh start. It has already re-branded the Palm business (or whatever was remaining of it) to Gram attempting to give it a new focus. Palm could boast of software that was ahead of its time and some groundbreaking products (the Treo) too, but it never had strong foundation stones. With Gram, HP is starting over with Palm.

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That sounds good, isn’t it? But wait. Confusion started a few days ago, when HP circulated an internal memo talking about another mobile division inside its company, the only difference being that this one will deal with hardware instead. The group is being called the “Mobility Global Business Unit” and it will be headed by Alberto Torres, who was the head of MeeGo at Nokia. At this new unit, Torres will be the Senior Vice-President. According to HP, this group will focus on:

Additional segments and categories where we believe we can offer differentiated value to our customers.

Was it a wise decision to kill the existing Palm business and instead, bring out separate hardware and software product lines and teams? It is too early to speculate on the future prospects of this strategy. Surely, HP has something in mind when it is going through such a massive change, or is it just a shot in the dark?

(Via: The Verge)

HP Still Hinting Towards Tablets

Although HP’s investment in Palm went down in glorious flames with the TouchPad, they clearly haven’t given up in the tablet market yet.

At the end of July, HP posted the “Make it Matter” commercial on YouTube. While the video is an entire minute of inspirational crud, at the 35 second mark there is a whitecoat clad chap sporting a tablet. So HP still wants to make tablets? That’s inspirational. A closer shot of the device can be seen right at the end of the video.

He may not have a shadow, or a soul, but he definitely has what might be the HP Slate 8. Oh look at that, so does she…

Given the style of the commercial, and some more recently seen advertisements that include the same device, Hewlett-Packard is very clearly going after both the small enterprising business owner, and large corporate crowd.

HP hasn’t officially talked about the tablet, so no specification are available. Looking at the pictures we can clearly see the 3.5mm auxiliary jack, a power button, and silent switch on the right portion, and what might be a lanyard or lock spot on the left side of the device. It’s a bit thick, looks to be around 10″ and largely uncomfortable to hold. The upper black portion is likely where the WiFi and/or cellular antenna would be housed.

Rumour is that the Slate will be running Windows 8. Well, what are the other options? Let’s see, use their open sourced webOS platform? Nope. License Android? Highly unlikely. They’ll probably ship with Windows 8, which recently hit RTM status. Wait, yes, of course they will ship with Windows 8. Meg Whitman specifically said so. So did these slides.

 

So there we go. HP Slate 8. Windows 8. Coming soon.

HP’s WebOS Enyo Team is Joining Google

Earlier this year, HP released the Enyo framework source code as open source software under the Apache 2.0 license. This was done as part of HP’s bigger plan of open sourcing the entire WebOS platform. The WebOS open sourcing effort will reach a closure in August. WebOS was an excellent mobile platform and its UX has been appreciated widely. Popular mobile platforms like Android and Blackberry borrow heavily from it and this open sourcing would have helped HP create a competitive mobile platform. However, HPs plans have been disrupted with some latest development.

hp-webosThe Verge writes in an exclusive report saying that the entire WebOS Enyo team will leave HP to start working at Google shortly. This strikes a serious blow to the future of WebOS. It is not known what the awesome people in the Enyo team will do at Google. One of the best comments on the post was perhaps:

Google buys Palm for zero billion dollars.

Android took a major UX leap with design ideas from Matias Duarte and it showed in Honeycomb. Now, with the entire Enyo team and Matias Duarte under its belt, Android might just rock the mobile segment.

Google can either borrow their mobile expertise for improving the Android user experience, or leverage their HTML5 expertise to create a better ecosystem for Google Chrome and Chrome OS. Looking at the technology stack that the Enyo team worked on, the latter seems more probable. Either way, Google has gotten hold of a golden goose, which will lay golden eggs. What remains to be seen, is which way the eggs roll.

HP To Get Back In Tablet Business With Windows 8

Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard, wants HP to get back into the ever booming tablet business, reports Bangkok Post. Having burnt their hands with WebOS powered TocuhPad tablets, this time HP will be bringing tablets in the market with Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system.

After acquiring Palm for $1.2 billion, HP launched their first WebOS based TouchPad tablets in the market. However, due to poor response from the market, HP decided to shut down TouchPad tablets and sold the available stock for $99, which sold like hot cakes. HP then shut down their smartphone business and was looking to sell WebOS. However, since it didn’t find any buyer, HP decided to open source the OS.

Now, HP is ready to start production on its tablets based on Windows 8. HP’s Windows 8 based tablets will come with cloud-based integration that will allow users to sync files between multiple devices.

Meg Whitman, after taking charge of HP,  reversed the decision to spin off the PC business. Under her leadership HP gain its foothold again in the market.

During a surprise appearance at the Global Influencer Summit 2012 in Shanghai, Whitman said that, as the world becomes more digital, HP’s PC and printing franchises continue to increase in importance. She said that, “PCs are a part of how we create and access digital information. We’ve found that we can differentiate our products through design and innovation. As the only player with leadership positions in both the consumer and the enterprise markets, we can bridge that gap that is being created by the consumerisation of IT,” reports ARNnet.

Apple still remains the darling of consumers when it comes to tablet market share with Apple’s iPad capturing 68 per cent tablet market share in the first quarter of 2012, according to IDC.

 

HP Throws a Hail Mary, Combines Two Dying Business to Revive Both

HP, the personal computing giant of yesteryear, which has seen sales of its PCs decline over the last couple of years, is planning to restructure its business in order to make it more cost efficient and reduce costs, according to a report by AllThingsD.

It will be moving its Imaging and Printing Group (Printers) under its Personal Systems Group (Personal Computers), with the new larger division reporting to a single head.

HP’s printer business was one of its most profitable ones, but had seen sales decline over the last couple of quarters. Its PC business has also not been doing very well, as worldwide desktops sales have slowed down and are expected to decline going forward. Both businesses combined added up to more than 50% of HP’s total revenues in 2011.

HP was planning to spin off the PC division or sell it to someone like IBM under its previous CEO Apotheker’s management, but the new CEO, Meg Whitman scrapped that plan.

HP’s printer business has much higher operating margins than its PC business, but given the product synergies and the overlapping target customer base, it may actually be a good call on its part to combine the two to cut costs, improve margins and maybe improve sales.

The future of HP’s PC business depends on how well it capitalizes on the ultrabook and tablet trend, following the launch of Windows 8 in late 2012.