HP has announced that it’s back in the smartphone business with two enormous new Android handsets, set to launch next month in India.
It’s been a while, but HP is back in the mobile game with two new phablet-sized mobiles, the Slate 6 and Slate 7 VoiceTab, both with 3G dual SIM support. However, HP will initially launch the Slate VoiceTab range only in India, with UK availability to be confirmed.
The VoiceTab handsets are relatively slender for their size. The smaller Slate 6 will be clad in a 9mm carbon-fibre case, while the Slate 7 model will be slightly thicker at 9.5mm. Both phones run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on a quad-core processor, with 1GB of RAM and 16GB storage (expandable up to a further 32GB via microSD). The Slate 6 and Slate 7 phablets also pack a 1280×720-pixel IPS touchscreen, as well as stereo speakers on the front. Camera-wise, you get a 5-megapixel rear lens with LED flash and 2-megapixel front camera.
HP hasn’t had much success with smartphones to date, testing the waters with both Windows Phone and the Palm WebOS it famously bought and then redeployed as a printer interface. Nonetheless, back in September HP’s CEO Meg Whitman stated that the company was interested in returning to the market, stating that “HP has to do a smartphone.”
A launch in India makes sense given HP’s dominance there – it maintains a 32 percent share of the Indian PC market. Larger smartphones that double as tablets are becoming more popular worldwide, with lower priced-devices selling particularly well. The handset was being shown off privately at CES last week, according to re/code, which was first to report on HP’s latest smartphone plans. The site also reports that new HP phablets have been rumoured for the Indian market for several weeks.
In India, phones and tablets are usually sold separately from mobile contracts, so no operator announcements have been made. Both phones will release in February, but the price has yet to be announced.