HP's long rumored tablet/printer duo device is finally official and available for sale. It's called the Photosmart eStation and is an interesting device to say the least. Essentially, it's a high-end inkjet printer with a 7-inch, wireless Android tablet attached for good measure. The tablet can be removed and carried around, allowing instant printing from apps and the web. One example was for people browsing recipe websites on the couch and can immediately send it straight to the printer.
The tablet is running a highly customized version of Android 2.1, Eclair. It doesn't contain any of the usual Google apps (Market, Gmail, Maps), but it does contain a rather attractive set of Yahoo widgets and apps for browsing weather, stocks, etc. In addition, it comes pre-loaded with the Barnes & Noble Nook app for reading (and, of course, printing) ebooks.
The tablet/printer costs $399 and is available now. Other details, such as exactly what's powering the tablet are unknown. HP does say an update to Froyo will come by the holidays, though the update will not include the Market or Gmail, but will include Adobe Flash for web browsing. Be sure to check out Engadget's hands on coverage for lots of photos and a video of the tablet in action. [via Mashable]
Um...I still don't really understand why this product exists. I honestly cannot imagine myself carrying a tablet around my house so that I can check the weather and, um, print things. It's a really interesting idea, for sure, and if that tablet can be hacked, then I'm all for it. It doesn't have any bells and whistles (cameras, GPS, etc), but hey, it comes with a printer!
I feel like this is one of those, "Yeah, why not," decisions. I think this would be hilarious in an office, just to watch all the coworkers fight over who gets to use the tablet, who had it last, who forgot to put it back in the dock....