HP has put a new type of printer on sale, one that is smart enough to survive without a normal PC around and comes with a 7-inch Android-based tablet, formerly known as Zeen, that serves the device's touchscreen.
The choice of Android for such a tablet, which goes by the name of HP Photosmart eStation C510, might be seen as surprising given that HP purchased Palm and its WebOS mobile platform and clearly said thaty it would use the OS in tablets and other devices.
But it might just be that the product was in gestation for a long period and was already scheduled to be launched before the Palm OS acquisition.
Another surprise is the fact that it supports Apple's newly introduced iOS AirPrint that allows iOS 4.2 users to print directly from their mobile devices.
The 7-inch tablet is powered by a Freescale ARM-based processor, runs Android OS 2.1 with a customised HP user interface and is loaded with print-oriented apps.
Note that you won't be able to access Android Market and it should be able to last at least six hours in use. The printer is a nice piece of kit, it can print 33 pages per minute in black and 32 pages in colour and includes flatbed scanning, copying and wireless connectivity.
That said it doesn't come with an onboard camera and is likely to be very limited when it comes to connectivity, something that didn't prevent the iPad from being an outright success anyway.
At $399 however, it is a cracking deal and we're expecting some to have an attempt at cracking it open to make it more open like O2 Joggler. (picture courtesy of Engadget).