Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) is hitting the morning wire with a couple of big stories. Yesterday the company said that it was preparing a 7-inch tablet, called the Slate 7, that would retail for $169. That is $30 less that a Kindle Fire from Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and the Nexus 7 tablet from Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), and substantially less than an iPad mini from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), which lists for $329.
The price is way below the retail price HP has set for its ElitePad, which uses the Windows 8 operating system from Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) and can set a customer back $650 or more. The Slate 7 uses Google’s Android operating system.
The Slate 7 is clearly aimed at the consumer market, where the ElitePad is expected to attract corporate buyers. The problem for HP is that so many companies are adopting a “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy for computing devices that corporate buyers may be few and far between, and its unlikely that a $650 out-of-pocket expense is one that makes an offer that cannot be refused. That is also a problem for Microsoft, and with HP hedging its bet on tablets by turning to Android, other Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets could also get a cold shoulder.
HP also made news this morning when an announcement appeared on CNET (later withdrawn) that LG Electronics had acquired the WebOS operating system software from HP with plans to use the software in TVs. HP acquired WebOs from Palm and used it for its ill-fated first stab at a tablet in 2011. Look for an official announcement later today.