Although we’ve been hearing rumors for a while that HP is getting back into the smartphone game once again and this time with two new devices, dubbed as Slate 6 and Slate 7 VoiceTab, both handsets are Android-powered smartphones that will be available initially in India starting first week of February.
Originally, HP, which exited the smartphone market in 2011 has now decided to take the plunge again with a pair of voice-enabled phablets, HP Slate 6 and Slate 7 are powered by Android 4.2 KitKat. Initially be introduced into the Indian marketplace.
Both the 6 & 7-inch VoiceTab devices are billed as tablets, but will come enabled with voice features that will bring calling capabilities to the handset hardware system. The two VoiceTab devices will both ship running Android 4.2 and come with an internal storage capacity of 16GB with the ability to expand that storage through use of microSD cards.
They also support expansion via MicroSD cards up to 32 GB. Slate 6 offers a resolution of 1,280 x 700 pixels compared to 1,280 x 800 pixels in Slate 7. Both the handsets feature a modest 7-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. Both the 6-inch and 7-inch variants will feature dual HD camera modules, dual SIM-card slots and stereo speakers that should definitely appeal to the media conscious consumers in India.
While the 6-inch VoiceTab version will come equipped with a 720p display, and the 7-inch option will offer 1280-by-800 resolution, both of which will be powered by a quad-core processor. HP has clearly paid a lot of attention to the aesthetics of the two tablets and have opted for a rear design with “a premium pixilated, scratch-resistant back cover“.
CEO Meg Whitman admitted in an interview last September that her company would “ultimately have to offer a smartphone”. Yet another thing that HP has been touting is the devices’ form factor. Both Slate 6 and Slate 7 are less than 10mm thick.
Typically, new devices are launched first in the U.S. or the Europe. “We see a need in India that we can meet,” said Ron Coughlin, VP for the consumer PC business. “Consumers are looking for a way to consolidate devices. We think there’s an opportunity to enter a growing market where there’s an unmet need.”
Although, currently the phablet market is dominated by Samsung’s Galaxy Note line of gadgets, devices even as rivals such as Huazei, ZTE and Lenovo are trying to make inroads, HP with the Slate 6 and Slate 7 VoiceTab fits in a market segment called “phablets” that combine the functions of a smartphone in the form factor of a smaller-sized tablet.
The likes of Samsung and Nokia both have a relatively healthy share of the smartphone industry in the Indian marketplace, making things a little tougher for HP. Though, HP’s Slate 6 and Slate 7 will lock horns in India with established players like Samsung and local brands such as Micromax and Karbonn.