HP Intros New Android-Based 'Voice Tablets'
The VoiceTabs, which will launch in India, represent the company's much-anticipated re-entry into the smartphone market.Hewlett-Packard is getting back into the smartphone market with a pair of 6-inch and 7-inch "phablets" that at least initially will be offered in India. The unveiling of the Android-based devices—the Slate6 VoiceTab and Slate7 VoiceTab—comes days after reports began surfacing that HP would soon make a re-entry into a smartphone space the company exited in 2011, when it ditched plans for smartphones based on the webOS operating system as well as the webOS-running TouchPad tablets. HP already is selling new tablets, but the VoiceTabs are the company's return to smartphones. The devices also are the latest example of the trend that shows tablets and smartphones slowly inching toward each other as users look to get one system that can do the work of both. It will create what Ron Coughlin, senior vice president of HP's Consumer Personal Systems Group, called "voice tablets." "Consumers are looking to consolidate their phones and tablets, which is propelling the voice tablet market," Coughlin said in a statement. "This is an exciting new category that represents a meaningful growth opportunity for HP. Our HP Slate VoiceTab provides consumers with a high-quality product at a great value."
Bob O'Donnell, IDC's program vice president of clients and displays, told eWEEK in September 2013 that the trend in tablets is toward smaller screens—away from 10-inch models and toward systems as small as seven inches. Meanwhile, screen sizes on smartphones are getting larger, expanding beyond five inches. Eventually these hybrid phablets will do all the jobs that users run on their smartphones and tablets.