HP to ship $89 Android tablet with Intel chip

The Mesquite tablet will have Intel's Medfield chip and be available on Black Friday at Walmart

Retailer Walmart will sell on Black Friday an US$89 Hewlett-Packard Android tablet, one of many tablets available at massive discounts this holiday season in the U.S.

HP's Mesquite tablet, which has a 7-inch screen, will go on sale Friday of next week, according to Intel . The Friday after the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the biggest shopping days in the U.S. Locations of Walmart retail outlets offering the product were not immediately available.

A source familiar with the plan said the tablet will have an Atom chip code-named Medfield. Further product details were not available.

Intel has said that its chips will power Android tablets starting at under $100. But the Medfield chip is not Intel's latest, and it does not deliver the applications or graphics performance of Intel's latest Atom tablet chip code-named Bay Trail.

To meet the sub-$100 price tag, device makers usually leave out some features from tablets. Sub-$100 tablets tend to have low-resolution screens, limited storage and an older version of Android. But for some buyers the devices represent impulse buys, as the tablets provide basic functionality without hurting their wallets.

Tablets from other vendors are also expected to sell at under $100 through the end of the year. Many of them may come with ARM processors, which are used in most tablets today including in models from Google, Acer, Samsung and Asustek. Micro Center on Friday was selling for $99.99 a 7-inch Asus Memo Pad tablet with an ARM processor, a 1280 x 800 pixel screen, 1GB of storage, rear and front cameras and Android OS.

Intel has a small presence in the tablet market, and discounted tablets could be one way to challenge ARM's dominance. Many other Intel-based tablets, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1, which runs on an older Atom chip code-named Clover Trail+, will also be available at discounted prices.

The price of tablets with Intel's latest Bay Trail Atom chips and 8-inch screens is expected to fall as low as $220 as part of promotions. Bay Trail tablets are currently available only with Windows 8, though Intel has said a handful of 32-bit Android tablets will become available. Intel earlier this week said Bay Trail tablets with 64-bit Android would ship next year.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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