HP Bets on Google With the Help of Nvidia

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- After years of strategic and executional debacle, HP ( HPQ) is undergoing a variety of divorces and entering new relationships as part of the surgery it takes to find itself a future in the personal computing business. By personal computing, I mean PCs, tablets, as well as in the future also likely smartphones.

Let's start by mentioning HP's relationship with Microsoft ( MSFT). To be sure, HP will continue working closely with Microsoft in all conceivable product categories -- as they should. This includes PCs, tablets and smartphones.

What is important to realize, however, is that until very recently Microsoft was HP's exclusive partner in these areas. In a few short months, this exclusive relationship has started to change.

In February, HP launched two new products based on Google ( GOOG) operating systems:
  1. A 14-inch Chrome OS laptop ("Chromebook") based on an Intel CPU, priced at $330.
  2. A 7-inch Android tablet based on a RockChip CPU, priced at $169.

The HP Chromebook has just recently started shipping, and I will most likely be reviewing it starting in a matter of days from now. It's basically a laptop for any person seeking security, speed and simplicity. The laptop doesn't require any maintenance, anti-virus updates or complicated set-up. Just open it up and you can start working in a matter of approximately 10 seconds.

Furthermore, there are no expensive warranties or software you would bother buying. It's $330 and that's it -- forever. Other than that, its main selling point is that it is the only Chromebook in the market with a screen size larger than 13 inches. It's basically the ultimate productivity tool, certainly anywhere close to $330.

The $169 Android tablet, on the other hand, is a more dubious first entry in the market. The product is too closely matched with Asus' Nexus 7, which costs only $30 more. It really doesn't bring anything new to the market, other than the slightly lower price.

HP's Next Step With Google

Tuesday, I got a chance to see a demo of HP's latest Android device, a 10.1-inch screen tablet-laptop combo-convertible running Android. This device will become available in August and cost $480. Aside from Nvidia's ( NVDA) own Shield gaming device, it is the first specific product to be announced that's based on the Tegra 4 CPU/GPU.

Here is the demo that I saw that was very impressive: It was a browser load test. Basically, a script that causes the browser to load one Web page after another, a couple of dozen of them.

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