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PreCentral: HP 'Slate 8' Windows 8 tablet comes out as the Envy x2

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HP 'Slate 8' Windows 8 tablet comes out as the Envy x2

We've been watching what's going down over in Berlin at IFA 2012 mostly out of interest in seeing what devices we might maybe someday possibly be able to install Open webOS on, but then HP decided to bring some news back to America with some Windows 8 announcements of its own. There are two updated-with-touchscreens laptops that HP's releasing, a 15-inch Spectre XT TouchSmart in December for $1400 and the Envy 4 Ultrabook at 14-inches (no date or price just yet), but those are just laptops with touchscreens, no swivel, no detaching, just an awkward transition between the traditional laptop and full tablets.

Then there's the brand-new Envy x2, which we've actually seen glimpsed before. Remember the Slate 8 we've been seeing in HP advertising? Well, here it is. HP's jump back into the tablet game is an Intel Atom 'Clover Trail'-powered Windows 8 tablet, supporting NFC, stylus operation, and coming with 32GB or 64GB of storage. At 1.5 pounds it packs an 11.6-inch IPS display (with a resolution of 1366x768), front-facing Beats Audio speakers (naturally), and a rear-facing 8 megapixel camera. The Envy x2 also has a keyboard/trackpad dock that attaches with magnets and a mechanical latch, converting the tablet into a laptop, complete with two USB ports, HDMI out, a full-size SD card slot, and an extra battery of undisclosed capacity.

The Envy x2 shares the same sloped sides profile as the tablet teased in HP's ads, and it turns out the pill-shaped things spotted on the back are the tablet's power and volume buttons. One would be good to have close to where you're going to reach often (volume), the other might not be great placement (power). The black strip seen in the commercials is missing here - if the Envy x2 is anything like the iPad (there's more than a passing resemblance here), then the full-metal back is fine for standard Wi-fi and Bluetooth duties, but a bigger EM-transparent window of black plastic is needed if you're going to support cellular connectivity. So expect a second 4G-capable Envy x2 to be announced when we get closer to the release date.

Oh, the release date? We don't have that yet. Or pricing, for that matter. HP's said to expect the Envy x2 to be released before the 2012 holiday season. At least that's a shorter timeframe than "first half of 2012".

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