HP just blew up Android tablet pricing (with a printer)

HP just blew up Android tablet pricing (with a printer)

Summary: Officially, HP isn't in the Android tablet market. Unofficially, HP is going to be a real pain to Dell and its Streak and potentially Samsung's Galaxy Tab.

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Hewlett-Packard may have a very disruptive Android tablet on its hands courtesy of its eStation printer of all things.

Officially, HP isn't in the Android tablet market. Unofficially, HP is going to be a real pain to Dell and its Streak and potentially Samsung's Galaxy Tab.

I got to spend a few minutes with HP's eStation printer---actually it's the 7-inch print console that detaches and doubles as a tablet. A few key nuggets:

  • HP's eStation console runs on Android 2.1 and will be upgraded to 2.2. That fact makes the whole WebOS equation even more curious. Why did HP buy Palm exactly?
  • HP's stealth Android tablet gets battery life of 4 to 6 hours.
  • This "tablet" is connected to the Barnes & Noble e-book store.
  • The printer/tablet will be available by the holidays.
  • Yahoo has skinned the console for the most part. Gmail accessible via browser, but the Yahoo integration simplifies things a good bit.

Now there are a few limitations. For starters, HP's tablet/console isn't connected to the Android market, but any good geek can get around that one. And a print button is prominent everywhere. Meanwhile, the HP tablet is a bit clunky in the rear and seems slightly beefy.

Related: HP big printer plan targets living room, detachable tablets

But all of that said HP's Android tablet is good enough (assuming HP works out a few responsiveness issues). And since it rides along with a $399 printer it may be pretty damaging to rivals. Why?

  • HP's tablet is Wi-Fi only, just what some folks want. Samsung's tablet is tethered to the carriers and the data plans for now.
  • HP is subsidizing its tablet to sell a printer (and the ink that goes with it). It's quite genius. HP doesn't have to negotiate carriers subsidies because ink profits can cut the tablet pricing.
  • The tablet console is probably about $250 or so if you assume the actual printer part is $150.
  • In any case, HP's Android tablet works and a bundle with a printer may just move a few of these devices. The device itself had a few hitches---it was a prototype---but you could see your kid playing with it. In fact, you'll have to hunt them down just like you would for the remote.

Here's a video of HP's console/tablet:

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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22 comments
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  • RE: HP just blew up Android tablet pricing (with a printer)

    Pure genius! This is a very smart way to test the waters of the Android tablet market. I think HP will be very glad that it thought of it first.
    Linville79
    • Well Done Story for Larry too!

      @Linville79 So HP did put some of it's already well developed Android R&D to practice and smartly coupled it with a home printer to boot! That also provides recurring sales of ink cartridges, some ebook revenue from Barnes and Noble with some App revenue to sew it all up!

      How Genius is that? haha... We already know they will also be charging for more Apps as well. What Crafty little buggers those HP printer and gadget folks are! ...or is it the R&D department? :P

      Now hopefully HP was crafty enough to include newest Broadcom WiFi Direct along with pre-installing the ability to print from iPad and iPod Touch already claimed. We shall see, though!

      Because if they included the newest Broadcom WiFi chip with not only Dual Band WiFi Direct, but DLNA support, the Android to Android on Samsung's Galaxy Tab or even their phones would then be a piece of cake! :D

      So here's my scenario of what could take place. You have a mixed household... right? Your 16yo daughter wouldn't be caught dead with anything but an iPhone. Your 14yo son could care less that the household slate has HP on it. While you opted for the smart choice in a Galaxy Phone or Tab. It doesn't matter which Samsung Galaxy phone you buy from any of the top 4 carriers, you're just an App away from using it to print from wirelessly. Whether you're at home or not. Since they are also DLNA Direct compliant.

      So there you are sitting in a restaurant for a bite to eat with the wife. Suddenly you remember you forgot about printing out the kids chore list to do before going to bed. Top of the List is "DO YOUR HOMEWORK NOW"! Through the magic of DLNA (even though you are 10 miles from home and junior has commandeered the HP printer slate) that still doesn't prevent you from writing up that list in BIG Bold Letters and not only taking back the control of the HP Slate, but of the Printer it controls too. So as your front facing cam image and voice blast into view over it's GoogleTalk (Voice) App... and Flash in like some kind of God before him, he will succumb to your Command like something out of the Jetson's.

      Meanwhile you have Junior interrupt your daughter's (Oh so very important) phone call with her boyfriend. That prevented you from calling her on her iPhone, that she took off to prevent her other boyfriend from calling her and you to remind her to put the home phone back on the hook. Along with most definitely taping that printed list to her brother's forehead immediately! :D
      i2fun@...
  • RE: HP just blew up Android tablet pricing (with a printer)

    I have enough issues trying to hunt down remotes and other gadgets my kids find "neat".

    I would want this why?
    rhonin
  • Why HP is still here

    This same trick is why HP is still with us. Every single company that was a 'name' in computers when the microprocessor was invented is dead now... except HP and IBM. The mainframe guys? All gone. The minicomputer guys? All gone. IBM survived by embracing the PC and rushing to dominate the segment, which they did for years. HP survived by hiding on the shelves of the computer stores as a printer company. This is a good move by HP. It will keep them in the game until the smoke clears. Android, or WebOS, or Win 7? Now they don't care. They can afford to bide their time, subsidizing their (possibly) money-losing tablet sales with high-margin printer ink. until a winning direction becomes clear.
    Robert Hahn
    • Wasn't Apple selling personal computers before IBM?

      @Robert Hahn
      I think so so it would be Apple, IBM and HP.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • Yes, But Not What He's Talking About

        @James Quinn
        Yes, Apple sold personal computers before IBM. If you discount "kit" computers, then Apple started selling personal computers in 1977 with the Apple II (the Apple I was a kit computer, like the Altair 8800 which preceded it). This is the same year that both Radio Shack/Tandy Corporation (TRS-80) and Commodore (PET) first started selling personal computers. IBM didn't enter the personal computer fray until 1981 (IBM PC).

        However, Robert was talking about companies that predated the personal computer era that continued to be successful through it and up to this point. Apple didn't predate personal computers, but started with them. IBM and HP were both in the computer business before the microprocessor was invented, and IBM even before the switch from vacuum tubes to solid state circuitry (IBM stopped creating new vacuum tube computer designs in 1957).
        CFWhitman
  • It's just like 'Subscriber' pricing.

    The Dell Streak and Galaxy Tab are trying to recoup their costs by having you buy into an expensive phone contract.<br><br>HP is trying to make up the money by selling you 'toner cartridges'. Many printers are sold as discounted prices and the manufacturers make it up by selling ink.<br><br>The iPad rivals are struggling to match apple's iPad price and still make a profit. The 'cheap ripoffs' vs Apple has been changed to the 'expensive ripoffs' vs Apple.<br><br>Apple's $499 iPad with 10 inch screen is disruptive.<br>(the wifi Dell streak at 5 inch is 599)<br>Apple fanboy talking?<br><br>here PC World (note it's PC world not MacDailyNews :<br>"Apple iPad. Low price Leader?<br>No one will ever accuse Apple of being a bargain brand, but the company's iPad tablet may prove to be more affordable than the first generation of Android slates, particularly the Dell Streak and Samsung Galaxy Tab."<br><br>Computerworld : "RIP: Why the iPad 'killers' are already dead"<br><br>---<br>Apple's Strategy:<br>Feb 2010<br>Goldman Sachs: (why is the iPad so cheap?)<br>Tim Cook: Why so cheap? We didnt want to leave pricing umbrella for competition<br><br>The UI, hardware quality leader is now also the eco-system, app and price leader.
    Davewrite
    • who said Apple makes a profit?

      You know, Davewrite I find it odd that people cry that PC margins are barebones, while Apple's are great because of it's higher price.

      Yet here it's similar, so the numbers would indicate that apple may be losing money on the iPad, or more likely making "razor thin" margins.

      You can't have it both ways...
      John Zern
      • Or Apple being heavily into iPod and iPhone's already

        @John Zern
        the volume sales of the iPad's basic components is in Apple's favor and in theory they could be getting real good prices for said. While Dell does it even sell phones or MP3 players? Is starting up with those component prices from scratch. Now lets just clear the decks and say you are correct and Apple is selling at razor thin margins. OK well what is your opinion for this tactic. Have you ever argued against it or are you for it? Where do you stand on that tact? I've heard that this tact is a good one, but I must admit I prefer in theory that selling at a good solid margin is more likely to make a company last and continue to develop. Still if you keep making money that Apple seems to be making you might on occasion to do the low margin game, but I hope they don't make a habit of it:P

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
  • Note to HP: Get Froyo on it by default...and

    The Android Marketplace. Don't delay.. just do it... you can thank me later.
    condelirios
    • You should send that note to Google.

      @condelirios

      The Market Place restriction has nothing to do HP. Google is not "open" to that idea.
      Bruizer
      • RE: HP just blew up Android tablet pricing (with a printer)

        "Google is not "open" to that idea."

        Nice ;-)
        dave95.
      • RE: HP just blew up Android tablet pricing (with a printer)

        @Bruizer There are alternative marketplaces, so it doesn't matter.
        thombone
  • This could also be one way . . .

    for HP to test whether Cloud Computing is REALLY going to take off in areas other than the enterprise market . . .

    If cloud computing is where we're going, all you really need is an interface device (the Tablet) and a printer.

    This will be a fun one to keep track of . . .
    JLHenry
  • Cheapened experience

    I don't understand the point of a tablet without access to the market place and other goodies. What kind or teen would be using this without GAMES? IM App? Music/Media?

    Every question they asked him were important questions consumers would be asking once they hold this thing in their hands, before putting it back down. Let's not hype this to be anything more than a proprietary printer attachment device. If you're in the market for a tablet you're not looking at a printer from HP, you're looking at tablets. How many people are in the market for printers vs tablets?
    dave95.
    • RE: HP just blew up Android tablet pricing (with a printer)

      @dave95. It's android... it will be rooted, and hacked to heck... and life will be good.

      No worries.

      This is a homebrew dream machine.
      thombone
  • RE: HP just blew up Android tablet pricing (with a printer)

    I think that HP is a cunning company to give a user a small tablet computer with a printer at a ridiculous low price because they'ill get back production cost through printer ink purchases if this tablet someday shows flash
    websites videos than they will give the Ipad a run for the
    money because a lot of people will not buy Ipads because it does'nt display flash webpage content
    gregnewm7
  • Subsidizing a tablet to sell a printer.

    They usually subsidize a printer to sell ink.You can get a printer with a new notebook for a around $25.

    I guess you guys know where I am going with this one: $25 for a printer with a detachable tablet would be one heck of a deal, even if the ink cartridge costs a thousand or two. You just chuck the printer and keep the tablet. How about it HP ;-)
    Economister
  • RE: HP just blew up Android tablet pricing (with a printer)

    I have never been able to swallow the concept of selling printers at a loss and recouping the loss via ink/toner prices that equal the 'cost' of the printer. It is not 'genius' but corporate robbery. Selling printers to home users is a sheer waste of resources. I can imagine the consequences of selling printers at a loss. Large corporations (only they can afford to do this) come up all sorts of shenanigans to make consumers buy ridiculously extortionate priced ink/toner. These days you get only a 'demo' cartridge of ink/toner with the printer you buy. Shortly thereafter you are forced to buy a 'full' (which have over the years been reducing in quantity) cartridge of ink/toner at almost the price of the printer. So now HP has come up with the brilliant idea of selling a printer + tablet device at a loss and make up the loss by selling ink/toner at prices that we probably could not have even begun to imagine back in the 20th century.
    kmashraf
  • If it was windows powered.............

    It would be costing you a hell of a lot more.<br><br>Hurrah for a competitive market place.

    PS the irony of it having a Microyahoo interface did make me chuckle
    Alan Smithie