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HP could bury TouchPad fiasco with $169 Slate 7 tablet

Agam Shah | April 26, 2013
Hewlett-Packard in the next few days will ship the US$169 Slate 7, the company's first product for the consumer tablet market since the spectacular failure of the WebOS-based TouchPad in 2011.

The Slate 7 has a "pretty sweet price point," said Lorrie Jollimore, a creative designer in Canada who has an Android tablet and an iPad.

"Using Android still bothers me. I just don't think the user interface design is intuitive. Not one for me, but it should give Samsung a run for its money in the same category," Jollimore said.

The 7-inch tablet is a very hot commodity right now, so the company chose an easy entry point, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

HP put a lot of research and development into the TouchPad, but took a lightning approach and spent less time and money on Slate 7.

"A guerilla development and marketing model -- throwing products out there and seeing whether they stick -- is a valuable approach for them to take," King said.

An aggressively priced product is an indication that HP is hungry to get back into the space, but it will make less money per each Slate 7, King said. HP is not shipping tablets in volume like Apple, so it also may be spending more on components and distribution.

The Slate 7 is also important for HP to retain existing customers and attract new buyers, analysts said. Much like Apple, HP can build a set of services and content around its tablets. However, HP has said it will not offer cloud services with the tablet, though it has the infrastructure in place to offer such a service.

"If you are trying to establish yourself, you should expect to take some lumps for a few months or years and see how things go," King said.

 

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