For a long time, most of us assumed that laptops and the smaller “notebook” computers would always run either the Windows or the Macintosh operating system. In the past few years, the Chrome has taken over the lower-priced laptop market, as shown by the list of best selling laptop computers updated hourly by Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Computers-Accessories-Laptop/zgbs/pc/565108. As I write these words, Chromebooks account for six of the top 15 laptops being sold today by Amazon.
Now there is a new contender: Android.
Hewlett-Packard has just announced the HP SlateBook. It runs Android, the same operating system used in millions of cell phones and tablet computers. The HP SlateBook will be available on July 20.
The lightweight Android-powered notebook will provide access to the more than 1 million Android apps and games on Google Play. Equipped with a 14-inch Full HD touch screen, the compact, 16-mm thin notebook reportedly provides up to nine hours of battery life, a rather amazing spec for a laptop with a 14-inch screen. Other computers have used Android but usually with much smaller screen sizes, typically 7 to 12 inches. The 14-inch display on the HP SlateBook should attract many who prefer a full-sized laptop but one that boots up quickly and never gets viruses.
Other features include 2 gigabytes of memory, up to 64 gigabytes of internal storage, a front-facing VGA camera, Beats Audio quad speakers, SuperSpeed USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and HDMI connections. It runs the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean operating system.
I suspect this will be good news for genealogists. The Chromebooks, although popular, have never had a good genealogy program written for the operating system. However, several excellent genealogy programs are already available today for Android. I would think these programs will either run immediately on the new HP SlateBook or possibly the producing companies may have to modify their programs slightly to take advantage of the SlateBook’s larger screen. If the HP SlateBook becomes popular, the genealogy vendors certainly will make the modifications in order to meet the demands of an expanded market.
The big downside, however, is the price: $429.99. That is higher priced than the Chromebooks and higher than some of the cheaper Windows laptops. Inexpensive Windows laptops, usually with slower processors, may often be purchased for as low as $300.
You can read a bit more about the Android HP SlateBook at http://www8.hp.com/us/en/campaigns/slatebook/overview.html.