HP Zeen to be an e-reader that can dock with a printer?


We were first teased by the Zeen name when Hewlett-Packard trademarked the name in late 2009. New details came to light today courtesy of an FCC filing and some information obtained by Engadget.

It appears that the HP eStation Zeen (as it could be known by the time it hits the market) will be an Android tablet focused on e-reading. So far, nothing unique. But it will also function as the interface to an HP printer when connected to it. In terms of specifications, it will be powered by Android 2.1 (no word on any updates to Android 2.2) and come with a capacitive touchscreen, capacitive touch buttons, an SD card slot, video support. Some prototypes also sport a webcam. The Zeen will integrate with the Barnes & Noble Nook bookstore and ecosystem.

The Zeen will connect with an HP printer called Zeus. While the latter will have its own basic controls, the connected Zeen will enable a richer interface, possibly with web-connected functionality, to manage the Zeus.

HP is apparently considering selling the Zeen and the HP Zeus printer for US$399. Pricing for the standalone HP eStation Zeen was not revealed but would presumably be lower.

It does look like HP is going to try several different approaches with its tablet devices: Windows 7 slates for the enterprise space, webOS ones for the consumer market and now Android for more specific e-reading functions.

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