There’s mounting evidence that HP, once the leading PC maker, does not know what it’s doing. After announcing plans to cut up to 5 percent of its work force, the company is basically throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks. Recent experiments include a luxury smartwatch, Chromebooks, a $199 Window notebook and now, a laptop running Android. Here’s the sales pitch, and bear with me if this doesn’t make sense: The SlateBook 14, according to HP, is for students and teens who already use Android on their mobile devices. In other words, they already own a Galaxy S5 or what have you, and they should have an Android laptop to match. The idea is that they might choose this over a Chromebook because it has more apps, and because it’s more familiar. Ditto for Windows laptops — except, you know, Windows actually has lots of apps too. Setting aside HP’s flawed logic (they never said Windows users should stick to Windows Phone): Why would you pay $430 for a laptop running an OS that was primarily meant to be used with the fingers?
Take what I say here with a grain of salt: The same way Vogue editor Anna Wintour is allowed to like a dress covered in futuristic space-snails, I’m allowed to like a laptop decked out in Lamborghini yellow. Personally, I kinda dig how the black lid and keyboard deck contrast with the bright hinge and sides. The only place where HP goes too far is the bottom side of the machine. It’s all yellow — right in your face. Ditto for the prominent Beats Audio logo, located on the right side of the hinge, right in your line of sight whenever you’re looking at the screen. In any case, whether you love or hate the yellow accents, I think we can agree on this: It’s insane that in addition to releasing an Android laptop in the first place — a niche product if ever there was one — HP chose the most polarizing design possible, and didn’t even offer any color options. Want that yellow to be cyan instead? Tough noogies, kiddos. You can have a yellow laptop running Android or… something else entirely.
It’s a shame, because this is otherwise a fairly well-made laptop, especially for $430. The lid is made of aluminum, and while the rest is constructed from plastic, those bits still feel solid; the thing never bends when you grab it by the palm rest. The 1080p touchscreen is sharper than almost everything else I’ve seen in this price range, and while the LED-backlit panel doesn’t provide the best viewing angles, the quality is still a big step up over every Chromebook I’ve tested. The keyboard is sturdy too, with well-spaced buttons that provide a decent amount of travel. And of course, Beats Audio offers better sound than what you’ll get on other budget notebooks. Still, I can see where someone might overlook all of that if they couldn’t get past the screaming yellow.
At 3.71 pounds, the laptop is on the heavy side. Not for a 14-inch laptop, mind you, but it’s still much weightier than a smaller Android tablet with a detachable case or keyboard dock. It’s also heavier than most Chromebooks, as well as some budget Windows laptops (I’m talking about the netbook-sized 11-inch models here). Considering Android isn’t that useful on a laptop, I have to question whether owning a relatively heavy notebook is worth it when you could just buy a tablet or Chromebook and call it a day.
It’s also not like you get that many more ports on a machine this big. As on some Chromebooks, there’s a full-sized HDMI socket, a headphone jack and a memory card reader to help offset the rather paltry 16GB of built-in storage. Incidentally, that slot actually takes microSD, not SD, cards — a normal spec for phones and tablets, but an oddity on a 14-inch laptop. All told, the main difference in I/O between this and a Chromebook is that you get three USB ports here instead of two, but I’d hardly call that a selling point.
Performance and battery life
Excuse me while I point out the obvious: Android was not designed to be used with a mouse. Personally, I use the Moto X as my daily driver. I spend more hours a day staring at KitKat than I’d like to admit. And yet, when I opened the SlateBook for the first time, I paused for a moment, unsure of what to do next. After a couple seconds, of course, I came to my senses and did what any reasonable person would do: I reached up and touched the screen. And so it went. Several days into using the SlateBook, and I’ve rarely touched the trackpad. It happens to be a very nice trackpad, and it comes in handy when I’m reading a website and would rather not reach across the keyboard to scroll down the page. Otherwise, though, I use my fingers, just as I would on my phone.
|HP SlateBook 14||NVIDIA Shield Tablet||Tegra Note 7||Samsung Galaxy Tab S|
|3DMark IS Unlimited||16,040||30,970||16,473||12,431|
|SunSpider 1.0 (ms)||685||463||586||1,109|
|SunSpider: Lower scores are better.|
The same way there’s only one color option for the SlateBook, there’s just one spec configuration. That would be the $430 model I tested here, which has 2GB of RAM, 16GB of built-in storage and an NVIDIA Tegra 4 chip — the same one used in the Note 7 tablet. But in a way, the performance is moot. I mean, of course you want the device to run smoothly. And it does. Apps launch quickly. The OS is quick to respond if I want to see a list of my open programs; closing and switching applications is a breeze. Web pages load quickly, albeit not as fast as most Chromebooks. The thing is, the SlateBook’s quad-core Tegra 4 processor can handle even more than that. You know, like games. But on a device like this, why would you even bother? Who wants to cradle a 14-inch, 3.7-pound laptop, all so that they can tilt their way through Need For Speed? Who wants to reach across the keyboard when you could rest a tablet in your lap? And if you’re content to only play browser games, why don’t you use your $430 to buy a proper laptop?
The more I use the SlateBook, the more I think Android users would be better served by a tablet that can pair with either a keyboard case or detachable keyboard dock; you’d get more portability, similar battery life (more on that in a minute) and greater versatility when it comes to gaming. And yet you’d still have that keyboard when you needed it. If you’re the sort of person who does a ton of typing — email, web surfing, office docs — you’d be better off with either a Chromebook or a Windows machine. At least those operating systems were meant to be used with a mouse.
|HP SlateBook 14||9:03|
|ASUS Transformer Book T100||10:40|
|Dell Chromebook 11||8:37|
|ASUS Transformer Pad TF103C||8:26|
|NVIDIA Shield Tablet||8:23|
|Samsung Chromebook 2 (13-inch)||8:22|
|Acer C720 Chromebook (Intel Core i3)||7:53|
|Acer C720 Chromebook (Intel Celeron)||7:49|
|HP Chromebook 11||5:08|
|Chromebook Pixel||4:08 (WiFi)/3:34 (LTE)|
The SlateBook 14′s 32Wh battery is rated for nine hours of runtime and indeed, I got exactly nine hours and three minutes of continuous video playback (that’s with WiFi on, fixed brightness and Facebook and Twitter set to poll periodically). On the one hand, that’s great for a laptop; it’s the sort of longevity you’d expect from a $1,000 Ultrabook, but not necessarily a bargain-basement notebook, especially not one like this with a bigger screen.
On the other hand, nine-hour battery life is only marginally better than what most Chromebooks are capable of, and again, those tend to be more portable than the machine we have here. It’s also on par with Android tablets, like the new NVIDIA Shield tablet or the ASUS Transformer Pad TF103C, which costs $299 with a keyboard dock. Even if you wanted a Windows system, you could find a low-powered laptop or hybrid that delivers long battery life. (There are plenty of options in the 11-inch range.) Have I made my point clearly enough? Long battery life is not a good enough reason to buy this.
Not that it matters — I’m recommending you don’t buy this — but the SlateBook runs Jelly Bean (version 4.3), with an upgrade to KitKat expected to arrive sometime in Q4. Thankfully, HP left Android as is; there are no skins here, no home screen panels that are impossible to remove. Nope, this is Android as Google meant it to be experienced. Really, the only mark HP left on the device is a handful of pre-installed apps. These include ones for Box.com, Evernote, Skitch, Skype, Hulu Plus, Splashtop, NVIDIA TegraZone, Kingsoft Office and CyberLink PowerDirector Mobile. You’ll also find some apps from HP itself, including Connected Drive, Connected Music, Connected Photo, ePrint, Media Player and File Manager. There’s also a “Games” app, which is really just a store for WildTangent titles. In any case, if none of this strikes your fancy, you can always uninstall them in the settings and free up a little bit of space.
The SlateBook is an interesting specimen. That’s why I wanted to review it: because I was curious about the idea of an Android laptop, and thought you might be too. And it is interesting. But by no means should you actually buy one. The SlateBook takes Android, an otherwise intuitive operating system, and manages to make it… cumbersome. It’s a pain to use with a mouse, and yet if you want to use your fingers, you have to reach across the keyboard. Because that keyboard doesn’t detach, the device is far heavier than a standalone tablet, and the battery life isn’t even that much better.
If you love the Android experience, just buy a tablet with a keyboard case. If the typing experience is paramount, there are Windows laptops that are less expensive and more portable. Even a Chromebook would make more sense than the SlateBook; at least Chrome OS was designed to be used with a mouse. Samsung’s 13-inch Chromebook 2, for instance, has just as sharp a display and costs $30 less, and there are loads of options that are even cheaper. Frankly, I’m not sure I’d recommend an Android laptop at any price, but for $430 the answer’s easy: Just don’t do it.
Microsoft has been pushing hard for extra-cheap Windows computers that can take on Chromebooks, and it appears that HP is more than willing to hop on that bandwagon. Mobile Geeks has posted a leaked data sheet for the HP Stream 14, an upcoming $199 laptop that’s clearly meant to fight Google-powered PCs. The base 14-inch system should cut corners by using a low-powered AMD A4 Micro processor, 2GB of RAM, a 1,366 x 768 screen and 32GB of flash storage; apart from the capacity, it’d be a step down from the company’s $299 Chromebook 14. You’d have to pay more for brawnier parts like an A10 Micro chip, 64GB of space and a 1080p touchscreen. Not satisfied with the limited drive options? HP would try to make up for the shortfall by giving buyers 100GB of OneDrive cloud storage for two years, matching what you get with many Chrome OS devices. There’s no word on when the Stream 14 would make its debut, although the deluge of information hints that we could see this budget portable fairly soon.
Source: Mobile Geeks (translated)
While Apple has teamed up with IBM to get more of its wares into the workplace, it seems Google is looking to do the same with partners of its own. The Information reports that Google is in talks with HP and others to leverage its card-based Now system for enterprise use. While the negotiations began a year ago, HP has moved forward with its own “Enterprise Siri” project to boost mobile search for businesses. Integrating Now with office-friendly apps will be a chore, as the search option doesn’t currently leverage data or abilities outside of Google’s suite — like Cortana and Siri do for certain applications. As you might expect, the conversations seem to be just that at this point, so there’s no clear indication of a timetable for a partnership announcement or product release.
Source: The Information
We already know HP is working on a (supposedly) handsome smartwatch of its own, but this isn’t the first time the company’s tried to glam up your wrist. Let’s flash back to 1977: Star Wars was lighting up the box office charts, Andy Gibb just wanted to be your everything and HP made the world’s first calculator watch. The HP-01 was a particularly garish monstrosity, its golden chassis festooned with teensy number and operator buttons, but it look at it! It’s the pinnacle of retro alpha nerd chic. Really, the only way to top one of those is if you owned some super-rare, unreleased version that languished behind closed doors for years. Well, now you can. It’s a prototype, it’s made of stainless steel, and it’ll only set you back $14,500… assuming you take this eBay seller’s word for it. Waste of money? A small price to pay for a bit of forgotten tech history? That’s up to you, but you’ve still got time to decide — the auction’s slated to run for another eight days at time of writing.
Via: The Verge
It is time to talk some Android with you folks. HP greeted us today with a smartwatch design that looks pretty sexy in my eyes. A sad story came about this week that resulted in a woman’s death because she couldn’t let her phone burn in her burning house. Your life is more important than your phone my friends. Enjoy the show!
The post HP Smartwatch Looks Quite Sexy! Leave Your Phones and Get Out! – The ManDroid Show appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
Today, we mull over James Cameron’s upcoming film, Deepsea Challenge 3D, get a peek of HP’s new smartwatch, watch Apple welcome Beats into the family and maybe order some MacBook decals. Read on for Engadget’s news highlights from the last 24 hours.
On August 8th, you can watch James Cameron pilot his custom-made submersible to Mariana Trench in 3D. Spoiler alert: The movie’s brief clips of deep sea life are incredible, but it sort of feels like an infomercial for the decorated filmmaker.
Just over two months after Dr. Dre claimed to be hip hop’s first billionaire, the $3 billion deal for Beats is finally done. Today Apple welcomed the audio giant into the family, complete with a tweet from Tim Cook.
Apparently Apple’s latest “Stickers” ad was pretty persuasive. Decal vendors are reporting a huge increase in sales since last week. Admit it, You bought some didn’t you?
What you’re looking at is a render of HP’s upcoming iOS- and Android-compatible smartwatch. There are few details about the device other than the involvement of American fashion designer Michael Bastian.
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With the release of Android Wear, the benchmark for style in the smartwatch world would seem, by popular consensus, to be Motorola Moto 360. Well, there may be a new challenger to the arena, and its from a manufacturer you might not be expecting a smartwatch to come from. That manufacturer is HP, who is teaming with Gilt, an online retailer, to create what is so far looking like a very intriguing device. Designed by U.S. designer Michael Bastian, the smartwatch apparently takes some of its cues from the interior of luxury cars.
It seems unlikely that the device will be running Android Wear as it is said the smartwatch will be able to be paired with both Android and iOS devices. There will also be a companion app that will allow you to customize the interface of the watch to your liking, though there’s nothing more specific about that yet. There’s also no word on pricing yet, though you can sign up for updates, however we’re assuming that level of style isn’t going to be cheap. Still, it looks like it’s going to be a thing of beauty, and it’s interesting to see HP enter the smartwatch market in such a unique way.
What do you think about the Michael Bastian smartwatch? Let us know your opinion.
The post Hello there: HP teams with Gilt to design “a Michael Bastian smartwatch” appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
Despite their utility, smartwatches remain a geeky niche item thanks to a certain lack of je ne sais quoi. However, HP is partnering with a retailer called Gilt to build an Android and iOS compatible smartwatch that may finally tick the style box, thanks to US designer Michael Bastian. He’ll take care of the design, which will feature a circular, 44mm stainless steel design and three swappable bands: black rubber, brown leather, olive green nylon and a limited edition black.
Bastian says the design cues came from luxury automobiles, namely interior features like the dashboard and trim. Meanwhile, HP will will add the watch’s smart features, which will reportedly include notifications like email, text and calls, along with user controls for music and other apps. It’ll reportedly arrive this fall, with no word yet on pricing — but we imagine it will be in the “if you have to ask” category.
It used to be that if you only wanted to pay $199 for a brand-new laptop, you’d have to try your luck on Black Friday or pick up a Chromebook. Not so anymore. Microsoft COO Kevin Turner outed a $199 HP Windows laptop called the Stream at the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference this morning, and it should see the light of day in time for the holiday season. Fine, it doesn’t sound like the biggest deal ever. There are already a few solid Windows laptops floating around there for less than $100 more, after all, and at this point no one’s sure what $199 will actually get you. That’s a fair point, but c’mon: on some level this move is all about symbolism. Microsoft is telling the industry — and the consumers that fuel that immaculate machine — that it’s not giving up low-end computing to Google without a fight.
Nadella and his crew are banking on the fact that Windows provides greater functionality and extensibility than ChromeOS right out of the box. When computer shoppers can own the full Windows experience (for better or worse) for the same price as committing to a Chrome-y connected lifestyle, they’ll have to mull that choice over. That’s exactly what Microsoft wants. Turner also confirmed that the next few months would bring at least a few full-blown Windows tablets priced to move at $99. That announcement wasn’t as much of a surprise since the folks in Redmond revealed that the OS would be free to manufacturers when its installed on device’s with screens under 9 inches. It was only a matter of time, but hey — that doesn’t make the gesture any less meaningful.
Source: The Verge