Tesco Launches Budget-Friendly Android Tablet

Hudl is a seven-inch device with HD screen and quad-core processor, running the latest version of Android

Tesco, the grocery market leader in the UK and third-largest retailer in the world, has launched Hudl – a seven-inch Android tablet that features a quad-core processor and HD screen costing just £119, with further discounts available for Tesco Clubcard customers.

The retailer says the device was designed with a focus on accessibility and convenience. It is expected to compete with Google’s Nexus 7, Amazon’s Kindle Fire and HP’s Slate 7.

Hudl will be available in-store and online from 30 September. According to Gartner, sales of budget-friendly tablets are expected to grow considerably in the run-up to the winter holidays. Some analysts note that this increasingly popular class of device could have implications on business mobility.

Cheap and cheerful

“Being online is an increasingly essential part of family life and whilst tablets are on the rise, usage is still quite limited. We feel the time is right for Tesco to help widen tablet ownership and bring the fun, convenience and excitement of tablets to even more customers across the UK. The digital revolution should be for the many, not for the few,” said Philip Clarke, CEO of Tesco, ahead of the launch.

hudl-signThe very first tablet designed by Tesco features a scratch-resistant 16:9 screen with 1440 x 900 resolution, soft-touch rubber on the back for better grip, a 1.5GHz quad-core processor and 16GB of storage which can be extended by another 32GB using a microSD card.

The connectivity options include dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS. According to the manufacturer, Hudl can play video for up to nine hours on a single charge. As another sign of it being geared towards media consumption, the device includes a Micro-HDMI port.

The tablet will be available in four colours – black, red, violet and blue.

Hudl runs Android Jellybean 4.2.2 OS, which gives access to over a million Google Play apps, as well as Tesco’s own services such as online shopping, Blinkbox video on-demand and Clubcard TV, all available through a dedicated launch button.

Tesco admits the tablet is part of a strategy to promote online shopping on mobile devices. The retailer has used technology to boost its business in the past – it was the first UK supermarket to introduce grocery home shopping. Some of its intriguing, but less successful experiments included an “interactive grocery store” at Gatwick airport and “magic mirrors” at the flagship store in Woolwich.

Hudl enters the market at a time when, according to Gartner, increasing numbers of users buy cheaper tablets from less familiar brands. The US consultancy says late adopters “tend not to need as many features as early adopters, and they will often settle for a simplified version of a new product, as long as it has enough features for their needs and quality isn’t compromised.” Gartner expects “basic” tablets to account for almost 47 percent of new tablet shipments by the end of 2013.

“This influx of low-cost tablets could be a tipping point that opens up business mobility to the masses rather than the few,” commented Marcus Chambers, VP and GM of EMEA at Good Technology.

“Imagine the transformative change to processes and outcomes if every employee could afford a mobile device. Not only would it generate a literal wealth of information but employees would use the devices in completely unpredictable ways. The likely result will be some very productive new practices, and probably some less productive ones too.”

What do you know about tablets of 2013? Take our quiz!