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HP Plans US$99 Tablet, Has Intel Inside

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 trulyActually, 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, of course.

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.

Rey M.L.
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