Consumer electronics and components manufacturer HP has officially revealed that the company will be re-entering the smartphone business, after Senior Director of Consumer PCs and Tablets for Asia-Pacific, Yam Su Yin hinted at thislate last year.
Ron Coughlin, Senior VP for the consumer PC business said in an interview that the company will be launching two smartphone models, the Slate 6 and the Slate 7 VoiceTab. Essentially both devices are tablets with voice dialling capabilities.
HP CEO Meg Whitman said in September last year that getting back into the smartphone industry is a priority for the electronics company. “We have to ultimately offer a smartphone because in many countries of the world that is your first computing device. We did take a detour into smartphones and we’ve got to get it right this time.”
In terms of specifications, both units will be running on Google’s Android 4.2 operating system, have a quad-core processor and will be available with 16GB internal storage and will support MicroSD cards of up to 32GB for additional storage.
The Slate 6 will have a screen resolution of 1,280 pixels by 720 pixels, while the Slate 7 will have a resolution of 1,280 by 800. Both units are pretty thin – Slate 6 measures under 9mm, while the Slate 7 is 9.5 mm. Both units will have front-facing stereo speakers, with a two-megapixel front-facing camera and five-megapixel rear camera.
No announcement has been made as to when the units will be made available in Africa, but users wanting to get their hands on a device will have to wait a while – HP will launch the units only in India for now.
“We see a need in India that we can meet. 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,” Coughlin said in an interview with Re/Code.
He did however hint that the devices will launch in other areas this year. “I won’t say where or when, but you can expect us to do more in the coming months. We’ll be talking about this in a more expansive way. But right now we’re focused on a successful launch in India.”
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor