U.K. Supermarket Giant Tesco Enters Tablet Market With Hudl Launch

The $191 device includes a button that allows users to watch movies and TV shows via the company's Blinkbox online video service.

LONDON – U.K. supermarket giant Tesco on Monday launched its own tablet, the Hudl, in a challenge to Apple's iPad and Amazon.com's Kindle.

The seven-inch Android-operated Hudl will go on sale Sept. 30 and cost about $191 (£119), less than the iPad, but around the same as the Kindle and Google Android devices.

The Tesco tablet, which comes in four colors, has a button that allows users to watch movies and TV shows via the supermarket company's Blinkbox online video service, listen to music, shop or check their Tesco club card points. Club card holders can also watch free video content via the company's Clubcard TV service.

“Hudl is a colorful, accessible tablet for the whole family to enjoy," said Tesco CEO Philip Clarke. "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.”

Addressing the tablet competition in Britain, he 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 U.K."

According to U.K. media regulator Ofcom, three quarters of British households do not have a tablet yet. "Tesco’s research found that many feel that the technology is too expensive or intimidating," the supermarket firm said.

The Wifi-enabled Hudl has 16GB of memory, which can be extended to 48GB. It includes apps for the likes of YouTube and Google Chrome.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai