In a move to make her mark on the company's computing division, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman has readied a new business-oriented tablet. Dubbed the HP ElitePad 900, the tablet aims at business and government segments.
HP ElitePad is billed as an ultra-thin, lightweight Windows 8 tablet with features that keep the unique needs of IT managers and employees in mind, such as serviceability, security and manageability, as well as military-grade durability for drops, vibration, dust, temperature extremes and high altitude.
"Businesses used to face a tough purchase decision: How to find a product that will delight employees and help them be more productive, while also making sure IT can secure and manage it," said Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP's Printing and Personal Systems group. Bradley is convinced that the ElitePad answers both calls.
The Pricing X Factor
HP's first attempt at an enterprise tablet was a dismal failure. Will the second time around hit on all -- or at least more -- cylinders? Roger Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, said the new HP tablet looks pretty good.
"Pricing is not available yet, which always makes me a little nervous. The competitors are trying not to show their hands before the launch because this far in advance, it would give rivals a chance to reposition," Kay told us.
"But assuming that it's not too expensive, this is the type of offering that corporations are looking for: a Windows machine with all the manageability and security, compatible with existing infrastructure, that is also sexy enough to appeal to employees who are bringing their own devices -- often Apple -- to work these days. My OEM customers indicate that they have demand for this type of system. So, maybe the second time is the lucky charm."
Pushing Smart Jackets
The HP ElitePad offers a 10.1-inch diagonal display, weighs 1.5 pounds and measures 9.2 millimeters thick. The 16-by-10 aspect ratio maximizes the display area for viewing traditional business applications and video content. The HP ElitePad also taps premium materials such as CNC-machined aluminum and Corning Gorilla Glass 2.
On the inside, Intel mobile processors power the HP ElitePad. HP said the tablet delivers PC productivity for mobile workers and Intel x86 compatibility for existing business application support. Running Windows 8, the tablet supports touch-, pen- or voice-based input.
HP is also marketing what it calls HP Smart Jackets for the ElitePad to expand the tablet's potential as an enterprise solution. For example, the Productivity Jacket includes an integrated keyboard, connectivity ports, SD card reader and adjustable viewing angles for a complete computing experience while an Expansion Jacket adds USB, HDMI and other connectivity to get more done on the go.
The tablet also has a 1080p front-facing video camera and 8-megapixel rear camera with an LED flash. Users can print directly from the tablet to any ePrint-capable HP printer or to a networked HP printer without the need for downloading drivers.
HP will roll out the ElitePad 900 in January 2013.