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MWC 2013: HP enters Android tablet market with 7in Slate

HP has formally entered the Android tablet space with the introduction of the HP Slate at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

HP said the 7in HP Slate will be available in the US in April, starting at $169 (£110), which is less than Google's own 7in Nexus 7, which starts at £159. There's no word yet on global availability or pricing.

The Slate will run a 1.6GHz, dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. There's 3-megapixel rear-facing camera and a VGA camera on the front. HP also touted the embedded Beats Audio and the HP ePrint app for home and on-the-go printing. A micro USB port allows for the transfer of files.

HP is offering a two-year HP Care Pack warranty for $29 (£19) or a two-year HP Care Pack with Accidental Damage Protection (ADP) for $49 (£32).

Rumours about an Android-based tablet from HP cropped up earlier this month. HP has fallen behind on mobile in recent years. In 2010, it completed its $1.2 billion (£790 million) acquisition of Palm, and by early 2011, it unveiled the webOS-based HP Veer and Pre 3 smartphones, as well as the TouchPad tablet. The TouchPad was barely on the market, however, before HP discontinued support for webOS devices in August 2011, including the TouchPad.

HP said that the Slate does not mean the company will become an Android-only shop.

"To address the growing interest in tablets among consumers and businesses alike, HP will offer a range of form factors and leverage an array of operating systems," Alberto Torres, senior vice president of HP's Mobility Global Business Unit, said in a statement. "Our new HP Slate on Android represents a compelling entry point for consumer tablets, while our ground-breaking, business-ready HP ElitePad on Windows 8 is ideal for enterprises and governments. Both deliver the service and support people expect from HP."

In recent years, HP introduced Windows-based tablets known as the HP Slate, including the HP Slate 500 and HP Slate 2, but they never really took off.

HP's Mobility Global Business Unit was formed in September 2012, with Torres joining the firm from Nokia, where he oversaw the MeeGo platform.

Earlier this month, Google announced an HP version of its Chromebook, the £349 HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook.