HP has unveiled a consumer-oriented seven-inch tablet running Google's Android and an ARM processor instead of software and hardware from the company's traditional partners Microsoft and Intel.
Named Slate 7, the new tablet runs Android 4.1 on an ARM Cortex-A9 dual core processor at 1.6 GHz speed. It also features a 3 megapixel camera, HP's printing system and the full Google suite of services.
The screen has a 1024 by 600 pixel resolution and storage is 8GB internal, expandable with micro-SD cards up to 32GB in size.
Availability is initially in the United States where the Slate 7 goes for US$169.
An ex-Nokia executive, Alberto Torres is the driving force behind HP's Mobility Global Business Unit that developed the Slate 7. At Nokia, Torres worked on the now defunct MeeGo products.
The company already sells an Elitepad 900 tablet running Windows 8 on Intel Atom and with a 10.1" screen starting at around $900 for the lowest specification model, aimed at business and enterprise customers.
Competing vendors firmly in the Microsoft fold that are looking to release smaller form-factor tablets and 'phablets' running Windows may have to wait until later this year if a report (Chinese) from Win8China is accurate.
Win8China says a new version of Windows 8, code-named Blue, is about to reach public preview release stage.
Blue will come with improved searching capabilities, Internet Explorer 11 and importantly, support for 7 and 8 inch screen sizes.