Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday made its long-awaited return to the market of smartphones. The new Slate VoiceTab devices, which are rather phablets, than smartphones, seem to be well-made and even have carbon-fiber cases. Unfortunately, they are not coming to the U.S. or Europe any time soon as they are designed primarily for developing markets.
The family of HP’s phablets consists of two models: Slate6 VoiceTab with 6” (1280*720) display and Slate7 VoiceTab with 7” (1280*800) screen. Hewlett-Packard positions the devices as the ultimate communication solutions for the developing world that combine voice calling capability with large displays suitable for Internet browsing, gaming, content consumption and other activities.
“Consumers are looking to consolidate their phones and tablets, which is propelling the voice tablet market. This is an exciting new category that represents a meaningful growth opportunity for HP. Our HP Slate VoiceTab provides consumers with a high-quality product at a great value,” said Ron Coughlin, senior vice president of consumer personal systems group at HP.
HP Slate VoiceTab phablets are based on unknown quad-core system-on-chip (presumably with four ARM Cortex-A5 or Cortex-A7 cores), integrate 16GB of NAND flash storage (up to 32GB microSD) and feature two SIM cards and 3G technology. Both products feature, Wi-Fi, a 2MP front camera and a 5MP auto-focus rear camera for photos and video. The HP Slate6 also sports an LED flash on the rear camera. The HP Slate6 and HP Slate7 also offer front-firing stereo speakers for top-quality sound. HP Slate VoiceTab family of hybrid phone-tablets is based on Google Android 4.2 “Jelly Bean” operating system.
The HP Slate6 VoiceTab is approximately 8.98mm thick, whereas the HP Slate7 VoiceTab is 9.5mm thick. Both hybrid devices feature premium pixilated, scratch-resistant carbon fiber cases, which is something new not only for developing markets, but a rarity even on high-end models on sale in Europe and the U.S.
Although HP has not released a lot of information about the Slate VoiceTab family of hybrid phone-tablets, it looks like the company has created rather powerful products. It is completely unknown why HP decided not to add some more capabilities and roll them out on the well-developed countries. Samsung Electronics, for example, successfully sells its phablets for consumers and professionals across the world.
The HP Slate6 VoiceTab and HP Slate7 VoiceTab are expected to be available in India in February. Pricing is unknown.