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HP delays Android Slate while Acer preps two Android tablets

Jul 15, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

HP is postponing, if not cancelling, its Android-powered version of its Slate tablet, says All Things Digital. Meanwhile, DigiTimes says Acer will launch both seven-inch and ten-inch ARM-based Android tablets in the fourth quarter.

Hewlett Packard (HP) is working on a variety of tablet PCs, including WebOS, Windows, and Android, reports All Things Digital. However, citing "sources in position to know," the story says that an Android tablet originally rumored to be due in the fourth quarter will be delayed until next year.

All Things Digital speculates that the computer giant may be "reconsidering its multi-OS tablet strategy in light of the Palm acquisition," noting that HP execs have repeatedly said that the company is "doubling down" on WebOS. 

HP first dipped its fingers into the Android waters at January's CES show when it showed off an Android "smartbook" prototype running on Qualcomm's ARM-based Snapdragon processor. The netbook prototype (pictured), which seems to have disappeared from view since then, featured a ten-inch resistive touch display.

Also at CES, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled an HP-manufactured "Slate" tablet prototype (left) running Windows 7. At the same event, rumors emerged that Android and Linux versions of the Slate were also being developed by HP.

Fast forward to April when HP tipped more details about the Windows version of the Slate, and released a render of the device (below, right). The Slate would offer a 8.9-inch 1024 x 600 touchscreen, a three-megapixel camera, and support for 1080p HD video playback, said HP.

Yet, a rumor at the time doused the excitement when it was noted that the Slate ran on the original 1.6GHz Atom Z530 CPU and SCH US15W northbridge/southbridge. What's more, there was no word about an Android or Linux tablet. 

"Hurricane" takes precedence

All that seemed to change later that month when HP announced its intentions to acquire Palm for $1.2 billion, with the intention to push Palm's Linux-based WebOS smartphone operating system into a variety of devices. Immediately, it was speculated that the Windows version of the Slate (pictured at right) would be postponed, if not scrapped, and few even mentioned the rumored Android tablet.

In the following weeks, a HP Hurricane tablet based on WebOS was rumored, while it was suggested that the Windows-based Slate was heading back to the drawing board. This was said to be due in part to the fact that, in the words of one industry analyst, the Atom-based design was "slow as a turtle."

In late May, this storyline was reinforced by an HP earnings report conference call in which the company stated that it would expand WebOS into new smartphones, tablets, and printers, but not into netbooks. HP deflected questions about the Windows-based Slate, while one HP exec was quoted off the record as saying that a HP Hurricane tablet running WebOS was due in the third quarter.

In announcing the completion of the Palm acquisition earlier this month, HP reaffirmed an earlier statement that the company would use the Linux-based WebOS operating system to develop new tablet products. However, there was still no mention about Windows or Android versions.

Acer to add 10-inch model to its Android tablet line

Another major PC manufacturer said to be considering Android tablets is expanding its line-up, according to DigiTimes. Acer will launch both a seven-inch and a ten-inch tablet PC in the fourth quarter, both running Android on ARM processors, says the story.

Acer's Android tablet plans were first tipped in late May while the company was announcing an Android-based Stream smartphone and the LumiRead e-readers. At a company event, Acer briefly unveiled a seven-inch color tablet prototype that ran Android. HP offered no more details, however. 

Citing "sources from notebook players," the DigiTimes story says that Acer is talking with mobile carriers looking to market the two Android tablets. The story also notes that that the company will continue pushing its Linux-based LumiRead e-book readers, and that it is negotiating with Taiwan's Far EasTone Telecommunications to carry the e-readers. 

Availability

The All Things Digital story on HP delaying its Android tablet may be found here.

The DigiTimes story about Acer's Android tablet plans should be here.


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