Hudl: Tesco’s entry to the 7 inch tablet market

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Hudl from Tesco

Consumers are used to buying their electronics from known and trusted brands. Tablets introduced by unknown or unusual brands tend not to do well. Next (a clothing store in the UK) once launched a 7 inch tablet which just didn’t sell, as people don’t expect a clothing store to sell electronics. As a result, it appears they no longer sell electronics other than household appliances.

This hasn’t deterred Tesco, however. They just announced that they will be launching a new 7 inch tablet called Hudl on September 30th online and in more than a thousand stores.

Hudl, the cheap tablet:

selling at £119 ($190.91 or €141.42), Hudl will take the place of Nexus 7 as one of the cheapest 7 inch tablets on the market. You’d think coming from a supermarket, which usually sells tinned tomatoes and cereal, the tablet will be out of date before going on sell. But Tesco have not skimpped out on the specs of the Hudl. The 7 inch tablet will have a 1440 x 900 HD screen run by a quad-core 1.5GHz processor. The Hudl will also run Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2, which is impressive considering cheap tablets often start further down the Android OS scale.

But the tablet’s impressive specs don’t stop there. Currently only released as a WiFi only tablet, it will have a more stable connection as it has a dual band chip, much like the Nexus 7 2013. Included in the output connections are a Micro-HDMI port and a Micro-SD slot and Bluetooth 4.

At launch, the device will have 16GB of storage, which can be expanded to a total of 48GB. There was no mention in the press release from Tesco about whether further storage options will be available, but I would suggest not, which is why they included the Micro-SD slot.

Design:

From the photos released by Tesco, the device has a plastic look and feel with a matte soft-touch surface on the rear for better grip. The tablet comes in 4 colours: Black, Blue, Red and Purple.

The press release from Tesco was light on detail, but looking at he photo’s, it’s clear that the device has 2 cameras one on the front and one on the back, although no mention as to the quality. Something else interesting looking at the photo’s is that the designers clearly meant for this tablet to be used primarily in landscape orientation, as the front camera is on the long side, rather than the short side like on most tablets (but remember, this is all guess-work looking at the pictures, we don’t actually have a device at hand).

Many tablets, other than the stock Android Nexus devices, come with “bloat ware”, apps pre-loaded by the seller, operator or maker. The Hudl is no different, but Tesco have done it tastefully. Tesco have preloaded their banking, shopping, Blinkbox (the on-demand TV, movies and films service bought by Tesco a couple of years ago) and Clubcard TV, which offers free films and TV Programs to Tesco Clubcard holders. This is all hidden behind a ‘T’ on the main menu bar.

New worlds:

When asked why they were releasing a tablet on the already congested tablet market, Tesco CEO, Philip Clarke, said:

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.

Having a direct line to their shopping app, especially if you’re a Tesco shopper and clubcard holder, means that you are more likely to use more of their services. The cheap price may tempt people who may be less technically minded to buy the tablet and use it to order their shopping, do their banking and watch free films they earn with their clubcard points. Tesco have considered this, and have included a “Getting Started” app which will walk through users unfamiliar with tablets and smart devices their first step into the world of tablets. But this tablet is clearly aimed at young families too. You may not feel comfortable letting your 3-year-old play with your pristine iPad 4 or Tab 10.2, but a £119 tablet with a plastic case won’t be such a heart ache to replace. Tesco have taken this into account too, selling accessories for the Hudl, some of which clearly had children in mind (such as child friendly headphones and cases).

Hudl: child friendly

Conclusion:

If you are a Tesco Clubcard holder, or have never bought a tablet because they were too expensive, then you may find that the Hudl is right up your street. Clubcard holders even get a chance of buying the tablet at a reduced price using Clubcard Boost, meaning you could end up paying well under £100.

With few spec details to hand, it’s hard to make a clear decision, but it’s fair to say that the Hudl could be a very popular tablet, as long as Tesco market it well to get it in the mind of the shopper.

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