Handheld computing power keeps getting cheaper and cheaper. Now Hewlett-Packard has introduced what may be the cheapest full-featured handheld device on the market: the HP Slate 7 Tablet. It will sell for $169.99. That is the manufacturer's suggested retail price, not a closeout special and not a discount. Best of all, it runs the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) operating system. It should be capable of running all of today's Android programs, including genealogy programs.
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The Slate 7 Tablet will play videos for 5 hours and should last even longer when running other applications. (Video drains the battery faster than most other apps.) It weighs 13.05 ounces (370g) and includes a fast ARM A9 Dual Core 1.6Ghz processor, built-in wi-fi wireless networking, Bluetooth wireless networking, a microSD slot for expanding the 9 gigabytes of memory included with the device, a 3-megapixel rear-facing camera plus a VGA front mounted camera for video conferencing, and a number of preloaded Android applications. It also includes software to print directly to a printer that is available on your in-home wi-fi network.
The 7.75 by 4.5 by 0.4 inch (197 by 116 by 10.7 millimeter) tablet features a 7-inch 1,024 x 600 pixel display. That is slightly smaller than an Apple iPad Mini at 7.9 inches and also has fewer pixels than the iPad Mini's 1024-by-768 pixels. The display of the HP Slate 7 tablet also isn't quite as bright as the iPad Mini. The rear-facing camera is 3 megapixels, not as high resolution as the iPad Mini's camera that is capable of recording HD video in full 1080 pixels. The included memory in the HP Slate 7 Tablet is also a bit less, 9 gigabytes versus the Mini's 16, 32, or 64 gigabytes, depending on the model selected.
Given the fact that the HP Slate 7 Tablet sells for about half the price of the cheapest iPad Mini, the specs seem to be quite acceptable. The HP tablet's memory also can be expanded by the use of inexpensive microSD memory cards, unlike the iPad Mini. HP also claims that the Slate 7 Tablet has the best sounding audio of any tablet on the market today.
The HP Slate 7 Tablet is not yet available in stores. It should start shipping on or about May 1st.
I think this is going to become one of the hottest handheld devices on the market. While it doesn't have top-of-the-line specs, it also doesn't have a top-of-the-line price tag. It is a very powerful handheld computer that sells at roughly half the price of the leading tablet computers. It certainly will store your genealogy database, including hundreds of photos, and allow you to keep your information with you.
I ordered mine today. I hope to write about my experience with the HP Slate 7 Tablet in a future newsletter article.
You can learn more about the HP Slate 7 Tablet at http://goo.gl/hePDX.