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HP Delivers a Big-Name, 7-inch Android Tablet For $100: Comes With Compromises 182

Posted by timothy
from the good-thing-about-races-to-the-bottom. dept.
Ars Technica reports that HP is back in the $100 tablet market, and this time with a tablet that's intended to be priced there instead of just a fire sale. The new offering lacks Bluetooth and GPS, among other features you might wish for in a tablet, and the screen is surrounded by a hefty bezel, but manages a pretty good list of features. Ars summarizes: "For $100, you can't expect much of the spec sheet. The HP 7 Plus has a 7-inch 1024x600 IPS display, a 1GHz quad-core Cortex A7 processor (made by a company called "Allwinner"), 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, 802.11 b/g/n, a microSD slot, and a 2800 mAh battery. The biggest downside HP could have fixed at this price point is the software: it's only running Android 4.2.2. Android versions are free, HP." Having an avaialble microSD slot beats some more expensive options, too.
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HP Delivers a Big-Name, 7-inch Android Tablet For $100: Comes With Compromises

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  • No bluetooth? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Slick_W1lly (778565) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @04:11PM (#47088837)

    I'm wondering how much it costs to add bluetooth to a device. I mean... them bluetooth headsets have it in, hell even the dinky little $12 'bluetooth speakers' you can park next to your iThing have it in...

    What in the world possessed them to release a device that doesn't have bleutooth?

    • Re:No bluetooth? (Score:5, Informative)

      by gl4ss (559668) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @04:31PM (#47088935) Homepage Journal

      it's not clear if it has bluetooth or not, or gps. the article says that the article writer doesn't know if it has those or not.

      (they wouldn't add significantly to the cost and if it lacks gps that's a bummer)

      however whoever submitted the article doesn't seem to be up to speed about the fact that Allwinner provides the design for a shitload of soc's for all the cheapo devices(they are the biggest provider, but they don't fab them themselves. but since they're the biggest somehow referring to them as a company called "Allwinner" as if it were an unknown is not right).

      Asia is full of sub 100$ tablets. can pick one up for under fifty too(iirc I saw a quad core for 200 baht) - and almost all of them Allwinners.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Who the hell would buy that thing? For just 50 bucks more you could get this [slashdot.org]

      Intel dual-core Atom Z2560 @1.6GHz
      2GB RAM
      7" 1280x800 IPS capacitive touchscreen
      16GB storage with microSD expansion slot
      Bluetooth 4.0
      GPS with A-GPS support
      3MP rear camera, VGA front camera
      • and a 6 hour battery life [laptopmag.com]

        When you expect ten, that's a real letdown.

    • by Larryish (1215510)

      This HP tablet is specced identically to my $80 Chinese tablet, with the exception of Bluetooth and GPS. Those features would be worth the extra $20.

      May purchase one soon.

    • What in the world possessed them to release a device that doesn't have bleutooth?

      Market segmentation. Same as you'll buy a six-core CPU with two of them disabled. HP can't be expected to have only one entry in this market. Heck, the Touchpad I had was quite a nice device, so they have potential.

      I tried for a while to get the 'hidden' bluetooth on my Nook Color working a few years back and, while it could turn on and pair with something 6" away from it, the fact of the matter was that there wasn't a good

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I tried for a while to get the 'hidden' bluetooth on my Nook Color working a few years back and, while it could turn on and pair with something 6" away from it, the fact of the matter was that there wasn't a good antenna connection because even though the chip had it, it wasn't in the system spec so the rest of the system wasn't designed around it.

        This seems like the sort of problem you could solve with an xacto, a soldering iron, and a small piece of wire.

    • The lack of an OTG-enabled USB port is usually a bigger issue than a lack of bluetooth.

      I bought four uber-cheap Chinese 7-inch tablets, and none had bluetooth...which never really bothered me. Though it was a shortcoming on the one I gave to my father; It had poor sound (Badly-placed speaker or something), and he would've preferred to be able to use bluetooth headphones like he does with his PC.

      Mostly it was the fact that two out of the four didn't have OTG functionality on their USB ports that was the real

    • by mcrbids (148650)

      If you are going to cut cost, Bluetooth isn't a terrible place to start. Especially if you have 1 or 2 USB ports. (I didn't see that in the article)

      GPS is also not so meaningful in a tablet; in a car you'll more likely use your phone.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      I'm wondering how much it costs to add bluetooth to a device. I mean... them bluetooth headsets have it in, hell even the dinky little $12 'bluetooth speakers' you can park next to your iThing have it in...

      What in the world possessed them to release a device that doesn't have bleutooth?

      The Bluetooth hardware is cheap, it's Bluetooth certification that gets expensive.

  • by cb88 (1410145) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @04:20PM (#47088885)
    Allwinner is the king of tablets ... http://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?section_id=36&doc_id=1287293

    The Cubieboard is also a popular RPi alternative with faster CPU (and sweet sweet SATA :D ) and such for similar price.

    In my opinion Allwinner is more credible than HP these days since they actually seem to believe in their own market... whereas HP is practically at the point of execs jumping out of windows (Or the modern equivalent of selling the company out for peanuts).
    • by Torp (199297) on Monday May 26, 2014 @01:35AM (#47090823)

      Allwinner is making gazillions of cheap tablets. For this particular one, I guess they slapped the HP logo on one of their existing models. I strongly doubt anyone at HP worked on that tablet :)
      As for the complainers about an old Android version, I do work on Android ports. Even though Android doesn't change much externally, the internal differences are big enough that no one's going to pay for porting a newer Android version for a cheap device (or even an expensive one, I'm looking at you Samsung); they'll go for whatever version their SoC vendor provided.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 25, 2014 @04:24PM (#47088899)

    The problem with these tablets and other computing devices is all of digital restrictions, proprietary drivers, and similar that they are being shipped with. You can't replace the wifi chip even if you wanted to and if HP uses a particular chipset that there is no driver for the latest version of android your shit out of luck. There is no source code. You can't fix the problem yourself or depend on a community to do so for you.

    I'm going to call out the companies we should all be boycotting for these types of practices:

    HP, Dell, Lenovo/IBM, Toshiba, Apple, and Sony.

    These companies are including digital restrictions on the wifi card slot (laptops), locking boot loaders (tablets), and/or using proprietary technology (such as non-standard wifi cards, etc), etc. These practices are preventing people from switching operating systems, upgrading to the latest release of an otherwise supported OS, and much more.

    See fsf.org/ryf for a list of products that aren't crippled. The list is small, but growing and you can find a lot more non-crippled devices from ThinkPenguin as well (not all RYF certified, but not crippled in any way either, and completely free software friendly/RYF'able).

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @04:47PM (#47088997) Homepage

      Really? Aren't you barking up the wrong tree? This isn't a hobbyist machine - its' a bottom barrel consumer device. The customer that HP (and Allwinner) is going for doesn't know a driver from quantum superposition. It's cheaper to just throw stuff together that works at time of shipping and not worry about what happens next week.

      Think one step up from disposable.

      Yes, in your Richard Stahlman utopia, we would be able to upgrade these pieces of crap until Unix integer overflow but that's not a realistic commercial solution. Not that these things are, but you're acting as crazy as an HP exec and that is NOT a complement.

      • Arguably, the bigger problem with devices like this is going to be that anything that screams "We Don't Care!", is born with an outdated version of Android, and is probably beyond easy 3rd-party remedy (unless HP has relaxed a bit since I picked up a cheap refurb of theirs to play with x86-android on, it'll be locked up fairly tight and without even an ADB or fastboot driver), is that it'll be obsolete fast.

        On the PC side, it offends the purists; but you can reasonably expect ages of support and at least
        • by jonsmirl (114798) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @06:37PM (#47089573) Homepage

          Maybe do some fact checking first...
          http://linux-sunxi.org/Main_Pa... [linux-sunxi.org]

          All of the Allwinner CPUs will boot from an appropriately formatted SD card and ignore the OS in flash. Don't know what wifi is in there but 75% of Allwinner A31 based tables out of China have Broadcom Wifi in them and the drivers are in the mainline kernel. I believe Kitkat is already available for the A31 and given how standardized these tablets are I don't foresee major problems upgrading.

          Allwinner devices are far more hackable than Nvidia based ones. Most features of the Allwinner CPUs are documented except for the usual suspects -- graphics. A31 uses an Imagination PowerVR GPU. And it is not Allwinner that is keeping that GPU secret, it is Imagination.

          $85 (with Slickdeals coupon) with free ship is an excellent price for this set of features. Anyway it is already sold out until they can get more from their OEM.

          BTW - I do think there is a CPU security feature that can encrypt the boot, but I've never seen an Allwinner device that has turned it on.

      • It is a reasonable warning, and you don't even have to be a tinkerer to be annoyed if the device eventually turns into a paperweight.
        It is a computer, and a networked one at that. People don't expect and shouldn't expect it will be so flawed only three years down the road that it should be thrown out.. If there's a critical ssl or tls flaw that stays unpatched forever, it means you can't use it anymore for any service that requires a login (say, checking mail and bank account balance). You can but it would

    • bought a lenovo business grade laptop (t420) and found out the hard way that they lock the pci-e slot and you cannot install YOUR wifi card there unless its lenovo PN'd.

      of course, I found a hacked bios and that disabled the blacklist ;) I now can run the 802.11ac card of my choice and not have the bios refuse to boot (like before).

      HP and lenovo are known for this in their business class lappies. I didn't know that going in, sigh.

    • by NoKaOi (1415755)

      The problem with these tablets and other computing devices is all of digital restrictions, proprietary drivers, and similar that they are being shipped with.

      If you honestly believe that's a problem, then you're delusional. If it's a problem for you then you are not the target market. We're talking about a $100 device. If you can use it to stream Netflix and Hulu to any room of your house, or play Clash of Clans and look up recipes from your kitchen, then what you are talking about doesn't matter to 99+% of potential users. And really, why should it matter to them?

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @04:29PM (#47088923)

    last Christmas.

    It's similiarly specced to the HP. Something like this:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.u... [huffingtonpost.co.uk]

    To be honest, it kinda sucks compared to an iPad but makes for good presents. What makes it suck is android more than the hardware, tbh. Android and software bloat by the manufacturer. HP won't be any different going by past computer purchases.

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      thinking the same thing, 100 buck tablets with similar specs are all over the place, and having just bought bottom of the line HP laptops I am not sure that having that logo silk screened on a generic Chinese table means anything

  • by Hadlock (143607) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @05:01PM (#47089061) Homepage Journal

    Allwinner is the Intel of ARM chip these days, they're a Chinese National ARM chip manufacturer, they produce in volumes that allow them to get the chip in under $7 for the dual core models. The quad core models are pretty competitive as well. They're in pretty much every Hobbyist robotics kit (check out the PC Duino) and are quite reliable, and have been for years... I won't disagree that it's a silly name, but they did win basically the entire (all) of the low end Android market. So it's pretty accurate. Nobody else can compete on price.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      Allwinner is the Intel of ARM chip these days

      The difference is that Intel makes the fastest and often (though as we all know, not always) most reliable chips around, and Allwinner... doesn't.

  • Apparently someone at DICE forgot to put a check in the mail
    Is anyone else seeing this?

    slashdot.org uses an invalid security certificate.
    The certificate expired on 5/23/2014 6:49 PM.
    The current time is 5/25/2014 5:13 PM.
    (Error code: sec_error_expired_certificate)

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      I've been seeing this all of a sudden, and was wondering - did our office IT have a fallout w/ Slashdot? Would be strange, since we are a Dice customer
    • They're aware (one of the editors replied on Friday). However it's a long weekend in the US, so don't expect anyone to be around to replace it until Tuesday.

  • I have a huge problem with the fact that Android Tablets and by extension Chrome Books, require the use of Google Services. I have a Domain controller, and VPNs. I have Internal, CalDAV supported Calendaring, Tasks, and Contact distribution list systems. I have Samba File servers, and WebDav Shares with my data. But My data needs to stay My Data. Not Google's Data. When I buy an Android Tablet, I should NOT have to register for a GMAIL account. I don't want a GMail account. I want to log in to my Domain, a

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      Fine, just get a surface. Or buy this one, and try replacing Android w/ Replicant
    • by symbolset (646467) *
      You don't need a gmail account to use an Android tablet. They work fine without it. Of course if you want Google Play, Gmail or other Google services then you would need an account.
      • In the Android 2 era, you needed a Gmail account to use Android Market. A Google account can be tied to any e-mail address, but using a non-Gmail Google account would result in a message "chester@example.com does not use Gmail" followed by a Gmail sign-up form. But as of Android 4, any Google account works with Google Play Store.
    • by Pop69 (700500)
      All our company smartphones are Motorola Moto Gs running latest Android.

      Not one single phone has a Google account, they all connect to the company exchange server via activesync for email, calendar and contacts
    • And the funny thing is: Google has an internal policy that prevents their employees from using software that "phones home".

    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday May 26, 2014 @08:34AM (#47091671) Homepage Journal

      I have a huge problem with the fact that Android Tablets and by extension Chrome Books, require the use of Google Services.

      I have a huge problem with your spreading FUD and ignorance. First, chrome books are not an extension of Android, they do not run Android. So that basically invalidates your entire comment right there, as the reader has discovered that you have no fucking idea what you're talking about. Second, you do not have to use Google services (Not Google Services, it is not a proper name, you are confused) with your Android device. Right out of the box you can add third-party sources, enable debugging, and sideload another market.

      You have no idea what you are talking about and no one should pay attention to what you are saying.

  • by PsychoSlashDot (207849) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @05:33PM (#47089227)
    Android 4.anything will do just fine. What makes this almost a joke device is the screen resolution of NotEnough x NotEnough. Seriously... 1024x768 was a reasonable desktop resolution fifteen to twenty years ago. 600 vertical pixels in 2014 is an unforgivable sin unless you're putting them on a watch or a contact lens or the head of a pin or something else uselessly small to start with.
    • by fermion (181285)
      Android is still in it's infancy. I suspect the old version might be used because new version might require more horsepower, Android is not yet at the point where newer versions are irrelevant, especially since there is no way of knowing if the tablet can be upgraded to a more stable more secure version.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Android is still in it's infancy. I suspect the old version might be used because new version might require more horsepower,

        But you're wrong. The new version actually has lower requirements.

  • I have two tablets just like this. 1024x600 IPS screen. Large bezel. uSD slot. No BT. No Cameras. No GPS. But, they have a well supported SoC (they are fully supported by CyanogenMod), twice the internal memory, and cost me just $89 (each) two years ago.

    Heck, for $109, you can get the Nook HD which has a vastly better processor, screen, and has BT. Why not step up to the Nook HD+ for $129? It's got an amazing screen.

    Who would buy this thing?

    • by timeOday (582209)
      The Nook HD+ is $179.
      • I've seen it for $129 also. $179 is the retail price, but it sees to go on sale an awful lot.

    • That was my thought... my Dell Venue 8 (the 'droid) versions beat this HP POS seven ways from Sunday - and only cost $179 from Amazon. Not quite twice the money for easily ten times the machine.

  • Too expensive (Score:5, Informative)

    by paugq (443696) <<pgquiles> <at> <elpauer.org>> on Sunday May 25, 2014 @06:34PM (#47089559) Homepage

    Why would I buy a weak HP tablet for $100 when I can have a better tablet for $90?

    http://www.pandawill.com/cube-... [pandawill.com]

    Cube (well-known Chinese manufacturer) tablet with same features as HP plus: built-in BlueTooth, GPS and 3G. Only $90, shipping included.

    • by Nemyst (1383049)
      Just like everyone else who posted something similar to this, you're missing the point: you are not the target market. The people that HP's thinking of when they designed this tablet don't know Cube (I don't either and I'm far from the target market). They don't know Allwinner. They don't know stores like PandaWill or DX. They want to get a cheap tablet at Walmart or Best Buy that comes from a brand they recognize.

      Simple, no?
  • That's a dealbreaker right there. How are you going to connect a wireless keyboard to it?

    • Can't you just use the onscreen keyboard?

      • by jhylkema (545853)

        Ever typed a multi-page word processor document with an onscreen keyboard?

        • Perfect use for a tablet. I also attach pontoons to my car and go boating.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Perfect use for a tablet. I also attach pontoons to my car and go boating.

            That's wicked cool! What are the pontoons made of? How did you design the attachment points?!!

            Oh, you were just being an snarky asshole? That fucking sucks. I live in a town with a big lake and I sure could have used some help amphibizing my car. Too bad you're just another typical naysaying dildo and not someone worth having on slashdot.

    • Connect a usb keyboard to it if you need that. Bluetooth is not a dea lbreaker for everybody by any means, especially at $100 for a device that in several important ways out-specs the ipad 3 (still being sold for about $500).

      • by Pieroxy (222434)

        Please name "several important ways" in which this crap out-specs the iPad3? Are there more than the important ways than those for which the iPad3 out-specs the HP one?

  • So HP has a crappy, crippled $100 tablet? So what? It sounds like a real turd designed by the company penny pinchers, not a nice tablet at a bargain of a price. Boooooriiiiing... I wonder how much this one will go for in a couple months when they discontinue it.
  • Wow, finally. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by John Pfeiffer (454131) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @11:50PM (#47090569) Homepage

    These sound remarkably like the cheap Chinese tablets you can find on DealExtreme. I was wondering when a big brand was going to start slapping their name on them.

    The $100 price-point is actually a bit of a deal, since that's basically what that 'tier' (The quad cores and 1024 displays) costs from DealExtreme, but I presume you're getting HP warranty and support with these. So not bad!

    I bought four different 7-inch tablets in their $65-$80 price range during a half-off sale last May. My favorite is the ICOO ICOU7W.

    Its specs:
    800x600 screen, the 4:3 aspect being one of my favorite features, because I use it primarily for reading.
    1.0GHz Allwinner A13 (Single core)
    512mb of RAM
    Mali-400 GPU @ 350MHz
    8gb of internal storage, plus a microSD slot. (They all have microSD slots)
    802.11b/g/n
    Front-facing camera
    Android 4.0.4 (I could probably update it, but haven't felt the need.)
    3000mAh battery, 2A DC fast-charge jack*

    On sale, I paid a whopping $36.45 for it. ;)

    Only bad things I can say about it are no OTG on the USB port, and no bluetooth...but mostly it's the missing OTG that's a letdown. There's also no GPS which is a little bit of a bummer. Only one of the tablets I bought had GPS; the Erani E70. For some absurd reason, the MK808 'Android TV' stick I bought for $25 also had GPS. (I mean, really?!)

    *It's funny, because under full load-- playing HD video, screen brightness up all the way, using the wifi, etc. --normal USB can't actually charge faster than you're discharging... So the 2-amp DC jack is handy for when you're using it in bed or something. I have no idea if the USB port is capable of fast-charging from fast-charge capable ports... I haven't tried it, but I just got a 10,400mAh portable USB battery from Jackery... If it can't, I'll have to make a USB to DC jack, so I can fast-charge through the DC jack using the 2-amp output USB port on the Jackery battery.

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      > I was wondering when a big brand was going to start slapping their name on them.

      ...and when it happened, you know what big brand would be first on the bandwagon.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The $100 price-point is actually a bit of a deal, since that's basically what that 'tier' (The quad cores and 1024 displays) costs from DealExtreme, but I presume you're getting HP warranty and support with these. So not bad!

      You have this completely backwards. DX offers better support than HP, and typically the same warranty. When my Elitebook started giving me free reboots due to a known Quadro die bonding failure it took me over 24 hours total on the phone with HP support (three techs and a customer care engineer or whatever they call them) in order to get the machine replaced even under a corporate warranty. Fuck HP. Never again. If I have a problem with something from Dealextreme they just send me another one. Done and done

  • I read: "HP blah de blah de blah" not interested.

    Had they reversed the order I would have read: "A big name 7 inch tablet for $100 from HP blah de blah de blah" not interested.

    Seriously, why would anyone buy anything from HP these days who, like, didn't have to?

    • Seriously, why would anyone buy anything from HP these days

      Perhaps people without a lot to spend, like, for instance jobless people (e.g., those laid off by HP recently).

  • but recently mainly for low-price products. i dont complain, i bought a HP low-cost notebook 3 years ago, and i am happy - despite the obvious drawbacks, since the price was more than ok.

  • by DrXym (126579) on Monday May 26, 2014 @07:31AM (#47091489)
    Go to Alibaba.com. The place is FILLED with similar specced tablets in the sub $100 bracket. Most of them are Allwinner devices with a similar res screen and form factor. I suspect that all HP is doing is bulk ordering a bunch of these, putting its badge on the front, applying some quality control and polish to the product and throwing it out at a higher price.
  • So HP has had to lay off 50,000 due to its race to the bottom with other PC vendors.

    So their solution is to go as-low-as-possible in the new tablet market.

    What could possibly go wrong?

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