On Monday HP introduced a new all-in-one (AIO) desktop PC (opens in new tab), a device it dubs as a "central command center for home entertainment and productivity." It's labeled as the HP Slate21, and despite the "slate" name, it's not an oversized tablet with a wireless keyboard, but a 21.5 inch device that could theoretically be carried around the house if you're feeling frisky.
However, its operating system and central processor easily blends it into the tablet family -- Android 4.2.2 "Jelly Bean" and Nvidia's Tegra 4 SoC. Like Razer's Edge gaming tablet, HP's new solution seemingly creates a form factor of its own; cram a tablet-like configuration inside an AIO setup. Even more, the starting price is a long way from your typical AIO price range: $399.
"The HP Slate21 All-in-One expands upon HP’s portfolio of multi-OS products and is ideal for family activities, providing easy access to entertainment and productivity features, plus fun Android apps," the company said. "Through Google Services, customers can reach shared content such as calendars, email, notes and documents, which can be created with the built-in productivity apps. Users also can print wirelessly from anywhere in the house, organize content and connect to other devices."
As stated, the AIO PC will sport Nvidia's Tegra 4 quad-core SoC and a 21.5 inch touch screen with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. HP's Eric Wiggins said on a blog that HP chose to use Android so that the AIO could replace up to two mobile devices that are already in use in most homes (opens in new tab). "Creating a large-screened device with touch functionality, we thought we could unlock more uses," he said.
The comment seems to tread lightly around the fact that HP typically produces AIOs with Windows. Thus, this new solution doesn't replace the consumer's main desktop computing, but rather serves as a central entertainment center for more than one user to share.
"We definitely see this as the next big thing," he said. "The vision of the future we see is that you’re accessing you’re data and we want to give you a choice. This is just the next step in connected screens."
The Android AIO will sport built-in DTS Surround technology, a TrueVision HD Webcam, dual-band Wireless N and Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity, and support for Wireless Direct. It will also have a "memory hinge" that allows the user to adjust the device between 15 and 70 degrees just by using his or her hand.
As for internal storage, there will only be 8 GB (around 6 GB free after Android). The company has thrown in an SD card slot and support for external SSD or HDD storage over USB 2.0 (there are three USB 2.0 ports), but that's not going to help users battle the storage war with Android, as the OS stopped supporting the move of apps and their related data with the launch of Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich." Thus, the SD card and external drive will only be good for pictures and digital media not purchased from Google Play or through Android apps.
As for Android updates, HP plans to keep on Google's first-class list. "We are going to embrace an upgrade path," he said. "We are working with Google and Nvidia on the release schedule of the next versions of Android."
The HP Slate21 All-in-One is expected to be available in the United States in September for a starting price of $399. Hopefully, that means customers will have larger internal storage options to choose from, as locally-stored movies, TV shows, and Gameloft games will eat that 6 GB up in no time.