Meet the HP SlateBook x2 laptop, powered by Google’s Android. It can be used as a portable computer with detachable keyboard or as a standalone tablet and proves that Android can support productivity as well as entertainment.
Although the device is essentially a tablet that docks into and out of a keyboard, the way the SlateBook x2 has been conceived and built sets it apart and is a clear demonstration of how the lines are blurring between what constitutes a tablet and a PC.
When the tablet is docked, the keyboard and built-in trackpad take over navigation and operation duties. Touch screens may well be the future, but for productivity tasks, typing and clicking on a mouse is still faster and more natural.
The keyboard also features a row of dedicated Android command keys so that apps like Google Now can be launched with a keystroke and so that a user can navigate directly to the home page or search bar.
Another unique touch is the trackpad which as well as left and right clicks, supports the swipe and gesture controls that Android users will be more than familiar with, such as pinch to zoom.
The tablet itself has a full HD 10.1-inch display, runs Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 and is presented as stock, without a skin or other add-ons.
The only software tweaking involved has been HP’s integration of the trackpad and a simple file manager program so that users can create and search folders but both are big pluses.
The SlateBook X2 uses an NVIDIA Tegra 4 mobile processor for superior graphics and gaming performance and comes with 64GB of internal storage as standard. What’s more, it will come pre-loaded with a number of productivity apps including Splashtop Remote which brings Windows to Android.
HP says that the device will be available to buy in the US from August and that it will retail for US$479.99.
Samsung has stated that it will be launching Android-powered mobile computers later this year and Acer and Asus are also hard at work developing similar products to attract consumers looking for something other than traditional computers.