Not content with flogging other companies' tablets, today UK supermarket chain Tesco is launching one of its own. Priced at £119 and available from September 30th, the Hudl features a 7-inch (1,440 x 900 resolution) display for watching those Blinkbox titles in 720p, a quad-core Rokchip 1.5GHz processor, stock Android 4.2.2, a microSD slot for supplementing the 16GB of internal storage and, according to Tesco, a battery that'll last around 9 hours on a full charge. Some of the specs, such as dual WiFi antennae and stereo speakers on the rear face seem carefully designed to square up against Amazon's elderly (and soon-to-be-replaced) Kindle Fire HD, which, at £160, may suddenly look expensive beside the Hudl. Amazon, however, can claim the stronger ecosystem, while Google's £199 Nexus 7 boasts better all-round hardware.
The device is slightly chubby and plasticky, as you'd expect, but it's not some rebadge. Tesco says it worked directly with a manufacturer (Archos, as it turns out) to produce a tablet of its own design. Also, to the retailer's credit, the tablet feels sturdy, which seems to be a theme of certain optional Hudl-branded accessories, too. These include a pair of headphones and a rubbery case intended to make the slate more child-friendly. Tesco says it'll double the value of ClubCard vouchers put towards a Hudl purchase, meaning customers can pick one up for free if they have enough points for a £60 voucher. There's also an offer coming for Blinkbox vouchers, designed to tempt you into Tesco's content ecosystem that complements its first foray into hardware -- we hear the promotion starts next week and vouchers will be half-price, so you'll be able to get £20 of streaming content for a tenner.
Sharif Sakr saved up all of his ClubCard points for this report.
Gallery: Tesco Hudl 7-inch Android tablet | 11 Photos
Gallery: Tesco Hudl 7-inch Android tablet | 11 Photos
Tesco today launches Hudl, a new 7 inch HD tablet that aims to open up a world of entertainment and connectivity to all. It has been designed by Tesco for its 20 million customers and more, focusing on accessibility and convenience.
With super-fast 1.5GHz quad-core processor and dual-band Wi-Fi, users will find Hudl a great companion for their needs, from films, music and TV through to staying in touch, learning new things, shopping and playing games. The scratch-resistant HD display screen is beautifully clear and with 243 pixels per inch, it's perfect for enjoying HD movies in 16:9 widescreen. It has up to 9 hour video battery life and 16GB of memory which can be extended to 48GB.
Hudl combines the best of Tesco with the Android Jellybean 4.2.2 operating system meaning that customers can access everything on Google and over a million apps.
Tesco designed and built the tablet from scratch, tailoring it around customer needs and ease of use. Hudl users can enjoy instant access to Tesco's full range of digital services, all in one place, through a convenient, dedicated launcher button. These include blinkbox movies and TV, music and Clubcard TV (which offers free films and TV programmes exclusively for Clubcard holders), banking and of course shopping for groceries, clothing, homeware and more.
Hudl comes in four colours and will be available to buy in store and online (on Tesco.com and Tesco Direct sites) from 30 September and will retail at £119. Hudl is about making Tesco customers' lives easier, so Tesco Clubcard holders will be able to buy it at an even better price. Hudl will be available on Clubcard Boost* where customers can double the value of their vouchers, meaning many will be able to buy it for less than £100.
According to OFCOM, three quarters of UK households do not have a tablet. Tesco's research found that many feel that the technology is too expensive or intimidating. So Tesco has entered the market to change that.
Tesco Chief Executive, Philip Clarke, comments, "Hudl is a colourful, accessible tablet for the whole family to enjoy. The first stage in our tablet offering, it's convenient, integrated and easy to use with no compromise on spec. Customers are quite rightly very discerning about the technology they buy so we knew we had to be competitive on all fronts."
"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."
The move is part of Tesco's multichannel strategy, ensuring that customers can shop whenever, however and wherever they want. It recognises the increasingly important role that smart phones and tablets are playing in people's lives and how they can make things easier.
In the digital age, customers are communicating, working, learning, browsing and consuming differently and Tesco, always an innovator, has been transforming its business accordingly. Tesco was first to introduce grocery home shopping and supermarket drive-thrus in the UK and built the world's first virtual store where commuters buy groceries via their mobile phones in South Korea. In its latest multichannel launch, Tesco wants to ensure as many customers as possible can access the benefits of a tablet, in a world that is increasingly online.
Hudl has been designed as a family tablet. When users switch it on for the first time, there is a screen which gives advice on how to put in place measures to protect children (please see details in notes below). There are also a range of Hudl accessories, including child-friendly headphones.
· 7" 1440 x 900 HD screen
· Android Jellybean 4.2.2
· 16GB storage which can be expanded to 48GB with microSD cards.
· Quad-core 1.5GHZ processor
· 9 hours video battery life (Conditions may vary dependent on video format and content, audio volume, screen brightness and processor load)
· Micro-HDMI port
· Bluetooth 4.0, GPS
· Dual band Wi-Fi for a more stable connection
· Access to over a million apps via Google Play™
· Comes in 4 colours: black, blue, red, purple
· Wi-Fi only
· Sleek, high-quality design, with a durable, matte, soft-touch back for better grip
· Scratch resistant touch screen
· 'Getting started' app that offers tips and guidance
Notes to Editors
Hudl goes on sale in around 1000 Tesco stores and online from 30th September. A multi-media advertising campaign created with W+K begins on October 7th.
Tesco designed and built Hudl from scratch, tailoring it around what customers asked for. Tesco has worked with a manufacturing partner based in China to produce the tablet, which also manufactures well-known products for Microsoft, HP, Blackberry and Sony.
*Clubcard Boost is Tesco's voucher exchange programme which allows people to multiply the value of their Clubcard vouchers. There is no limit to the number of vouchers customers can boost. For more details please see: http://www.tesco.com/clubcard/deals/
Accessories include: Soft touch cases in 6 different colours at £15 each; 2 choices of leather cases at £20; earphones; a screen protector; an in car charger and Micro-HDMI to HDMI cable; bright bumper case and headphones designed especially for kids. All Hudl accessories are available as part of Clubcard Boost. Tesco has an extended range of other accessories which are all compatible with Hudl too.
Tesco has designed the device so to ensure that when they switch on the Hudl for the very first time, users receive the following guidance if they confirm their tablet will be used by children: