updated 01:00 pm EDT, Tue September 7, 2010
HP Zeen tablet gets full leak, sour early look
HP's Zeen tablet has been leaked in what may be signs of a disappointing launch. The seven-inch, Android 2.1 tablet is now expected by Engadget's insiders to be heavily linked to HP's TouchSmart interface and will hide the Android home screen. It may also strip out many of the Google apps, including Gmail and Android Market.
Although it uses a capacitive touchscreen, HP may also have cut corners for the sake of the price. Initial tests supposedly revealed a very inaccurate surface and that it may not be close to the experience of a tablet. Barnes & Noble's Nook app would be built-in
The PC builder will instead try to focus on the Zeen as a very entry-level tablet with connections to print and reading. It should be available by itself but would be bundled with the known Zeus companion printer, now called the Photosmart eStation C510, which has a built-in dock for the tablet. How well the tablet would print its own work isn't clear, but it would transform into an advanced controller for the printer when docked. The inkjet and tablet combo would cost $400; a Zeen by itself doesn't yet have a price.
One and likely both devices could ship as soon as September 20, although testing could delay the project.
The news effectively takes the Zeen out of contention as a viable challenger to either the Apple iPad or other Android devices, like the Galaxy Tab or the Velocity Micro Cruz Reader. HP's motivation may be to avoid product overlap by purposefully limiting the Zeen to the very low end. The copmany is planning a more advanced webOS tablet for 2011 and has shunted the Windows tablet to enterprise, where many are willing to pay higher prices and sacrifice battery life or performance for the software.