Unnamed industry sources report that both HP and Dell are planning to re-enter the tablet market using Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system. These devices are expected to launch during Q3 2012, possibly even during the back-to-school season in late August to early September.
HP's reason for using Windows 8 is fairly obvious. The company clearly stated just last month that although it discontinued producing tablets with Palm's webOS platform, it had no intentions to back out of the tablet sector. But its reasoning in not focusing on the highly-popular Android "Honeycomb" OS may simply be due to market saturation.
According to the sources, not only has Amazon triggered a pricing war with the launch of its Kindle Fire Android-based tablet, but has also pushed tablet vendors into seeking out alternative platforms in order to stay out of the fierce competition. Sources even point to Motorola's XOOM Family Edition tablet now sold exclusively through Best Buy as a fierce contender, a 10.1-inch tablet with 16 GB of internal storage for just $379 USD.
Motorola revealed the Best Buy exclusive on Friday, a kid-friendly Android 3.1-powered tablet packed with $40 worth of software including the award-winning Kid Mode app by Zoodles that helps kids have fun learning while keeping the device (and their eyes) safe. The tablet also includes Motorola's own MotoPack, QuickOffice Pro HD and MotoPrint for when the kids go to bed and the parents need to catch up on work.
"Tablets continue to generate excitement and we are thrilled to be able to offer the Motorola XOOM Family Edition to Best Buy customers," said Scott Wallace, senior director of tablet merchandising at Best Buy. "We think these devices are great for kids and families, and offer something for everyone. At Best Buy, we've long stood for choice and are delighted that the new XOOM Family Edition will be part of our selection."
As for system specs, the tablet sports a dual-core Tegra 2 SoC clocked at 1 GHz, a 10.1-inch HS IPS HD screen (1280 x 800), a 5MP rear-facing camera with a built-in flash, a front -facing 1.3MP video webcam, 16 GB of internal storage, 1 GB of RAM, a microSD card slot for expanding up to 32 GB of extra storage, GPS, Bluetooth, 802.11 b/g/n connectivity, a battery life of up to 10 hours, HDMI output and more.
Industry sources say that, despite HP and Dell looking at Windows 8 as an alternative tablet OS, Asus and Acer plan to continue to offer Android devices. Lenovo will also use Android, but for its business-use ThinkPad tablets. Dell will reportedly use Windows 8 as the platform for its own business-related tablet offerings.