If the concept behind the HP PhotoSmart eStation All-in-One sounds a tad familiar, perhaps it’s because you’ve been reading about the rumored HP eStation Zeen, the printer-friendly tablet that got outed by the Federal Communications Commission last month.
Well, it looks like the Zeen has morphed into the 7-inch, Android 2.1-powered tablet that comes bundled with the PhotoSmart eStation, the $399 wireless multifunction printer that HP announced Monday at a swank New York news conference (which featured, among other luminaries, the one and only Ivanka Trump — go figure).
The Wi-Fi-enabled eStation boasts full-on printing (33 pages per minute for black and white, 32 ppm for color), flatbed scanning, copying and faxing, as well as the ability to connect to your local wireless network for remote printing.
It’s the eStation’s detachable 7-inch panel which runs on Android 2.1 and comes with a series of widgets from HP (natch), Yahoo!, Facebook and Snapfish.
HP is selling the bundled tablet as an easy way to get quick news and weather updates, or print pages from the Web or online photos without having a PC.
HP eStation’s tablet isn't intended as a match for ... say, the just-announced 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab, not to mention the iPad. Don’t expect any cameras for video chat or Flash support on the Web browser. The tablet sounds pretty basic, with search and e-mail restricted to the pre-installed Yahoo! widgets, although the included Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader (which had previously been rumored for the Zeen) sounds interesting.
Neither does the tablet support the Android Market, meaning that the apps and widgets that come installed on the eStation tablet are all you’re going to get.
HP is touting the eStation as its answer to the iPad — and after all, you are getting a tablet plus a multifunction printer for $399. In other words, it’s probably best to think of the eStation as a printer with a fancy, Android-powered control panel than a cutting-edge tablet that comes with a printer.
Still, anyone thinking of snapping up the eStation should keep in mind Apple’s new AirPrint feature in the upcoming update for the iPad, or the wireless printing abilities that’ll surely come in future Android tablets. HP itself says it’ll have a pair of tablets — the Windows 7-powered HP Slate, plus a tablet running on Palm’s WebOS — in the coming months.
Unfortunately this product is not available in all countries