TESCO IS SAID TO BE killing off its Hudl line of budget tablets, confirming that there are no plans for a Hudl 3 and offering no details about support for existing users.
The hugely popular Android tablet was a surprise hit designed especially for the supermarket chain, and sold 750,000 units thanks to reasonable specs and its £129 price. However, it now appears to have fallen victim to a refocusing of the company which has seen a number of non-core businesses, such as streaming service Blinkbox and Tesco Broadband, dumped, alongside plans for a number of proposed hypermarkets.
The company had also been looking at a Hudl phone, but that idea was shelved after it was decided that it could not be made competitively.
The most recent tablet, the Hudl 2, is still for sale in Tesco supermarkets and, despite taking over a year, has finally overcome its long-standing charging problem which, owing to a firmware fault, meant that the Pegatron-designed tablet could be charged only using the company's own chargers, and sometimes not even then.
But it appears that the party is over. Hudl accessories began to see price reductions over the August bank holiday while a spokesman for Tesco told Marketing Magazine that there are "no plans" for a Hudl 3 and "nothing planned at the moment" in the sector.
Tesco is currently selling a range of Windows 10 tablets under the Connect banner, but these are not strictly speaking Tesco tablets with in-house support, but rather badged devices.
Marketing's article also quoted a "source with knowledge of the matter" who said that a "third-generation Hudl will never likely appear", going on to point out that a number of key staff on the Hudl project, including its lead Android engineer and product managers, have left the business.
This leaves owners of the Hudl 2 in an awkward position. We know that the power supply problem has been fixed via a software update, but this doesn't appear to have worked for all Hudl owners, with some users having continued to report issues with the tablet.
This saw Tesco tell one user that a charging problem never existed. A reader told The INQUIRER: "Called Tesco. They denied they HAD EVER received charging complaints!! It's getting collected tomorrow for them to 'repair'."
We know that this isn't the case, as problem dates back to the launch of the second-gen Hudl, and has seen users unable to get their devices to charge to 100 percent, or to charge at all. At that time, we reported that users were finding that they either couldn't reach a 100 percent charge on their devices, or that it took several days to do so.
The required 2A charge meant that the £130 tablet cannot take a charge from a standard USB charger or a computer USB port, in common with a number of Android tablets, both high and low end.
Charging issues aside, we also know that, once the Hudl 2 came out, the original Hudl received no further updates or support and was unceremoniously left on Jelly Bean after a fire sale of the remaining stock.
We've been in touch with Tesco to ask what support is to be offered to Hudl2 owners in the wake of the decision to kill off the line. So far, we've had no response, but with the lead engineer gone it seems a fair bet that Marshmallow is off the table.
The company recently announced a Lollipop firmware, however we've repeatedly tried and cannot get our Hudl2 to update beyond Kitkat. µ
Handset will set gaming nerds back £799
And some have yet to be fully mitigated
The 7nm chip promises to be a powerhouse
Mozilla's Monitor 2.0 is adding notifications for website breaches