The HP Slate21 is a 21-inch all-in-one family computer with a big difference: it doesn't run Windows 8 or any other Microsoft software for that matter.
Instead, the PC is built around the latest version of the Android operating system and uses what HP calls dual-band technology, which basically means that the device can be used for multitasking. So users can listen to music, stream a movie, browse the web and run an app, all at the same time, something that isn't so easy to do on existing Android smartphones and tablets.
The 21.5-inch display is not only fully touch-sensitive, it is also full HD and because it runs Android, consumers finally have a desktop that can seamlessly sync with their Android phones and tablets -- something Apple device owners take for granted.
Of the new computer and the reasoning behind HP's decision to go with Android, rather than Windows, Jun Kim, vice president and general manager, PC Displays and Accessories, HP said: "The HP Slate21 allows families to easily access content through the cloud and enjoy it together on a large, interactive screen."
Removing Windows from the equation could be related to the goal to keep prices down: the cost of licensing Microsoft's operating system and Office applications has to be passed on by a manufacturer to consumers, consumers who so far have been less than impressed by Windows 8 and its touchscreen interface. Removing Windows also removes the need for a powerful Intel processor or large amounts of internal storage, both of which also add weight, complexity and a price premium. By swapping internal for cloud storage and by using a very good Tegra 4 quad-core NVIDIA processor instead of the latest Intel chipset, HP has been able to give the computer a full HD screen, and full HD webcam, yet drastically cut its price tag.
When the device officially launches in the US in September, it retail for $399, making it cheaper than an iPad. HP is by no means the first PC maker to openly flirt with Android as an alternative to Microsoft, but this launch is destined to get competing device makers to pay close attention.