Hewlett-Packard has a decidedly rocky history when it comes to tablets. Its first and only other consumer entry into the highly competitive market failed to gain traction in a fairly dramatic (and public) fashion. That said, the company has finally accepted that the tablet space is simply too important to ignore, announcing its first-ever Android tablet, the Slate 7.

Rather than attempting to go after the high-end, iPad-dominated section of the market, HP has opted for a more wallet-friendly and modest approach with its first major tablet since the ill-fated TouchPad. The new device features a 13-ounce (367-g) stainless-steel frame, housing a 7-inch 1024 x 600 display, an ARM 1.6 GHz dual-core A9 processor, 1GB RAM, 16 GB storage and dual cameras (3MP and VGA).

Unsurprisingly, the company has dropped its own webOS platform and opted instead for the Jelly Bean flavor of Android (4.1). Similarly to HTC's One X smartphones, the Slate 7 also features built in Beats Audio, though this is the first time we've seen it on a tablet.

The slate's pricing matches its modest specs, coming in at a fairly reasonable US$169. There is however a lot of competition at this end of the tablet space, with devices such as Google's Nexus 7 coming in at a similar price point ($199) and offering higher specs in many areas, including a higher resolution 1280 x 800 display and a quad-core Tegra 3 processor.

HP's TouchPad tablet was discontinued in August 2011, less than two months after its initial release. The device ran on the company's own webOS platform and suffered from a lack of both apps and consumer interest, only truly obtaining the latter when its price was slashed following the discontinuation announcement. The company has also previously released the Slate 500 and Slate 2 Windows-based business tablets, neither of which proved a significant success.

The Slate 7 is due for release in the United States in April.

Source: Hewlett-Packard