updated 03:05 pm EDT, Fri August 13, 2010
HP's Zeen tablet with Android seen imminent
HP's entry into the mainstream tablet arena through the Zeen tablet could come quickly if supplier leaks to Digitimes Research analyst Luke Lin are accurate. It may ship as soon as September and would be on the low end of the catgory. While it would have a seven-inch screen, the Zeen would have the same 800x480 resolution as much smaller phones and would have just 4GB of internal storage.
Freescale is reportedly supplying an unnamed ARM processor tied to 512MB of RAM. Wistron is making the companion Zeus printer, which will have a dock for the Zeen to offload content.
The decision to produce an Android tablet even after HP's acquisition of Palm is owed to timing, according to Lin. As it was outsourced to an unnamed Taiwan-area PC builder, it was too late to reverse course and engineer both the printer and tablet for webOS.
Both Lin and others see the Zeen as HP testing the waters for a media tablet before the PalmPad arrives early next year. HP's tablet strategy has been in major flux this year and has shown one of the first clear breaks from its once near-exclusive devotion to Microsoft. It at first had been held up as a showcase for Microsoft through the Windows 7 Slate, but repeated delays and the success of the iPad are widely recognized as having upset HP's plans.
The Slate has since been consciously marginalized as an enterprise device in favor of Palm's platform, which should get much longer battery life than the Atom-based model while having an interface built for touch and a lower price.