After HP acquired Palm and made an obvious shift in focus from Android to webOS for their next round of tablets, we figured Android wouldn’t return to their scene for quite some time. It seems that time has come sooner rather than later as latest reports regarding recent FCC filings suggest HP is bringing out an eReader running Android that will be able to interface with their Zeus printer.
According to Engadget’s sources, this will be a tablet device heavily focused on eReading (it’ll have deep B&N Nook bookstore integration) and will come with built-in functionality to interface with an HP printer without ever having to turn your PC on. It’ll have a capacitive screen and will have HP’s custom user interface on top of Android 2.1. There’s also support for video, an SD card slot to extend capacity, and probably a front-facing camera with webcam software to accompany it.
Unfortunately, this probably won’t be the Android experience we’re all used to. HP wants to make sure their home screen and skin will be the only ones available to use on the tablet – meaning the possibility of widgets and other unique Android features might get the axe to make room for HP’s own focus.
The Zeen will come in two configurations: as a standalone product (unspecified amount) and a bundle with a compatible printer for $399.99. That’s quite tempting and gives me an excuse to buy the new printer I’ve always needed (granted the printer it comes with turns out to be halfway decent, anyway). It’s great to see that – even after the Palm acquisition – HP hasn’t entirely forgotten about Android. Then again, we have no clue on even the broadest of windows as to when we can see this thing in stores, so anything can change.