According to DigiTimes,
everyone's favourite PC company looks to be preparing a very
inexpensive tablet for the back-to-school season, conveniently set
for sale at your local Wal-Mart. While one might at first glance
expect there to be an ARM-based chip inside, like the vast majority
of tablets in general out there, this HP device will apparently stand
out with the use of an Intel chip, specifically a single-core Atom
from the 'Medfield' generation.
Actually, this is HP's ~$170 Slate7 tablet, craftily modified by yours truly
Intel has been aggressively trying to
put its x86 architecture (which most, but not
all, full-size PCs make use of) into such mobile devices as
smartphones and tablets as of late, and has had only some success so
far. The Motorola
RAZR I and the Lenovo
K900, both expensive high-end Android phones, make use of
dual-core Atom models, for example. People seem to be liking them.
There are few other devices out there that go the same route, though.
But now we have HP's $99,
7”-display-toting wonder, which is also at the other end of the
price scale compared to those smartphones. This will probably be the
first el-cheapo tablet to be released with Intel technology. While
that may be good for Intel, a quick look at the
current single-core Atom lineup has me predicting there might end
up a 1.2Ghz part under the hood, one that lacks the HyperThreading
and Burst Performance Technology found in the more expensive
versions. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart currently
sells a tablet with a dual-core 1.5Ghz ARM chip, also at $99.
Hmmmm. Decisions, decisions. To Joe
Average, bigger numbers may mean faster, but it would be interesting
to compare the two products upon release of the HP and see what the
real story is. Unless this DigiTimes article turns out to be a hoax,
Anyway, despite having Intel hardware
as a backbone, I don't think any intrepid hackers have managed to
load a full-fat version of Windows 8 onto either of the two
smartphones I noted a few paragraphs ago. While that might be because
Windows would be all but useless on a phone, the reportedly
low price and similar Intel technology in this HP tablet might make
it a better candidate for such an experiment. Even if it ends up not
working right, I would like to see someone try it.
For everyone else,
expect HP to load a fairly recent version of Android onto its $100
bargain buster, complete with Play store and various Google apps.
Guess we'll see in a month how this all turns out.