At least as far as I’m concerned, HP hasn’t really released any interesting hardware since the HP TouchPad (with the Android-powered Slate a possible exception). However, as of late the company has been working to reinvent itself, and has been working more with Android on the mobile side in an attempt to become more relevant – its standard desktop and laptop business aside, of course.
Apparently a part of that new direction, the company today unexpectedly announced an interesting fusion of its desktop and mobile arms in what is called the HP Slate 21. The HP Slate 21 is an all-in-one, touchscreen desktop computer, which isn’t a particularly new idea. What makes this desktop different, though, is the operating system behind it. The Slate 21 runs a lightly modified version of Android 4.2.2, which has only been installed on a handful of other desktop devices.
The Slate 21 is powered by the impressive Tegra 4 processor, which should be fast enough even for the large IPS “Full HD” display, although no specific resolution was given. Interestingly, the desktop has only 8GB of built in solid state memory, but includes an SD card slot and USB ports. It also has a folding kickstand on the back, which theoretically allows it to be used as a tablet as well, although I doubt anyone will want to use a 21.5-inch tablet very regularly.
Using Android with a mouse and keyboard is not new, as the Nexus 7 works wonderfully with a Bluetooth keyboard and USB mouse. What remains to be seen is how well applications will actually scale up to the 21.5-inch display, since many don’t work very well even on standard tablets. Even more interesting is HP’s choice of Android instead of Chrome OS, which would seem better suited to this sort of application than a truly mobile OS like Android. Whatever the motivation, HP must have had some reason to avoid the browser-based operating system.
The Slate 21 is a very interesting product, but not one that I would at first expect to sell very well. Once I saw the price, however, I had to reconsider. While still a bit high for a basic desktop, the Slate 21 will retail for $399, making it HP’s cheapest all-in-one and a viable option for the few users who may want a computer just for browsing the internet and playing basic games. Then again, that is what Chrome OS is supposed to be for. Still, for some strange reason I actually find this desktop quite interesting, if only because a huge touchscreen Android device sounds pretty cool.[CNET]