HP’s Photosmart eStation Android tablet hands-on

7 10 2010

So here it is, after months of details coming to light an inkdrop at a time, the HP eStation all-in-one printing solution. But we’re not gonna dwell but on half of that: the 7-inch tablet skinned out by Yahoo and powered by Android 2.1. As we expected, though, the Google experience is decidedly less that you’re accustomed to: search is Yahoo only, and our attempt to find an alternate method was met with a barebones settings menu (search via the browser page still works). Additionally, there is no access to Android Market, relegating your customization instead to HP’s print-heavy app store — sorry, no games, as that’s not what the company wants to focus on here, according to the rep. That also means no native Gmail, much to our dismay. What Yahoo has provided is a suite of apps and widgets that actually work well in their simplicity, from weather to stocks and search.

We were reminded at numerous points that this is a prototype build, and for good reason — the responsiveness was questionably slow, especially in the browser. That said, the Nook store and e-reading app was as fluid as you’d ever need. WiFi is equipped on both the tablet and the printer for cloud-based connectivity on the go. Battery life is measured at four to six hours, and Android 2.2 is expected by holiday still sans Market, but beyond Flash (and at this point we question its performance on this hardware), there’s probably not a lot of value-add in the update. Expect this AIO to be shipping the in the next few weeks.

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