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HP's Slate 7 tablet was announced at a press event just ahead of the start of Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona on Sunday. ZDNet went hands-on with the tablet to see if it would be able to measure up to the competition when it is released in April.
The low-cost device is the first from HP to use the Android operating system (rather than Microsoft Windows) and comes with 7-inch display that has a 1024 x 600 pixels resolution. In initial tests, the screen looked a little washed out but a spokeswoman said it was a very early build of the hardware.
"To address the growing interest in tablets among consumers and businesses alike, HP will offer a range of form factors and leverage an array of operating systems," Alberto Torres, senior vice president of the Mobility Global Business Unit at HP, said in a statement on Sunday.
HP recently announced its first Chromebook, showing that it is eschewing Windows altogether for some of its newest devices.
HP's Slate 7 runs the 4.1 build of Android Jelly Bean rather than the slightly newer 4.2 version found on a number of well-specced smartphones from manufacturers such as Samsung.
Unlike other vendors, the OS is stock Android meaning HP decided to avoid the manufacturer customisations found elsewhere. While it means there are no HP-specific features that we know of, standard builds of Android tend to receive software updates sooner than manufacturer or operator-customised versions.
It does, however, come with HP's ePrint application.
Under the bonnet there is a 1.6GHz dual core ARM Cortex A9 processor and 8GB of internal memory, which can be expanded using a microSD card.
At first glance, the Slate 7 is not unlike the Galaxy Tab or Tab 2, although it is a little thinner than the original Galaxy Tab and the chassis is stainless steel.