Tesco has announced that it is launching its own tablet computer: a 7-inch Android device named Hudl that will cost just £119.
The Hudl will be a new entrant into the £100-£200 tablet price range, which includes offerings from Google (the £199 Nexus 7) and Amazon (the £159 Kindle Fire HD), both of which have higher technical specifications.
However, Tesco is hoping that the tablet will drive sales of digital media and online shopping, with the user interface including a discrete “T” button in the bottom left-hand corner that takes users directly to the retailer’s online stores.
The Hudl offers a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, a 7-inch display with 1,440x990 pixels, 16GB of internal memory (as well as a microSD card slot expandable up to 48GB), and a reported nine hours of battery life. However, the tablet doesn’t have 3G connectivity and can only access the internet via Wi-Fi.
Tesco’s strategy with launching the Hudl appears similar to Amazon’s approach with the Kindle and Kindle Fire – the retailers sell the hardware as cheaply as possible in order to encourage customers to purchase digital content.
In 20011 Tesco acquired an 80 per cent stake in Blinkbox, a UK-based video-on-demand service that competes with the likes of Netflix and Lovefilm. The retailer recently launched a multi-million pound campaign to promote the service, which offers clubcard points to users that rent or buy from its library of more than 10,000 films and TV shows.
News of the launch also confirms the tablet’s position in the modern household as an accessible and non-specialised media device. Industry analysts IDC have predicted that holiday purchasing at the end of 2013 will drive tablet sales above PCs for the first time ever, although PC sales are expected to outperform tablets on an annual basis until 2015.
The Hudl will go on sale from 30 September and can be purchased partly with clubcard points, with Tesco offering the device in four different colours alongside a clutch of accessories including cases, chargers and headphones.