HP Back In Tablet Game With New ElitePad 90010:48 AM EST Mon. Oct. 01, 2012
Hewlett-Packard officially re-entered the tablet market Monday with the launch of its ElitePad 900.
Targeted specifically at businesses, the new ElitePad 900 boasts a 10.1-inch display, is powered by Intel's latest Clover Trail Atom processor and runs Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 OS. It weighs in at 1.5 pounds -- the same as Microsoft's Surface tablet -- and measures 0.36 inch thick. Pricing details have not been disclosed, but HP said the new tablet will be available in January.
The ElitePad 900 thrusts HP back into the ultracompetitive tablet market, where the Palo Alto, Calif.-based PC giant has tried and failed to carve a space for itself in the past. In August 2011, HP discontinued its debut tablet, the TouchPad, after a brief six weeks on the market.
Aware of the weight riding on the new ElitePad 900 to stage a broader tablet comeback, HP is hoping to elicit the support of its channel partners -- but said it needs to regain their confidence first.
"We are spending a lot of time with people to regain their confidence and show our commitment," said Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP's Printing and Personal Systems business, during an exclusive interview with CRN last month. "I think our entire product lineup from printers to workstations to PCs to tablets as we get into the fall is going to show how committed we are to the space, how committed HP is to our business, and yeah, I think there is still some work we need to do to regain their confidence. That is why we are charging down this path. We have never done anything like this. This is a pretty significant commitment for us."
HP took several strides to ensure its new ElitePad 900 tablet was enterprise-ready. First, users have the option of separately purchasing an all-in-one accessory called the ElitePad Productivity Jacket to arm the new tablet with an integrated keyboard, connectivity ports, and an SD card reader for a more traditional notebook-like experience.
HP is rolling out a whole portfolio of what it is calling Smart Jackets along with the ElitePad 900, meaning users also can opt for an Expansion Jacket, which provides USB, HDMI and extended battery life, or the ElitePad Rugged Case, which HP said provides "military-grade" protection against drops.
The ElitePad 900 is intended to win over the hearts of IT teams with security features such as HP Client Security and HP Drive Encryption. The tablet's x86-based architecture also allows IT managers to support and monitor the new ElitePad 900 using HP's existing Client Management solutions. What's more, HP said its new tablet is fully serviceable with an optional service tool that lets customers access the panel, battery and motherboard, helping to reduce downtime and protect sensitive data.
HP will go to head-to-head against other OEMs attempting to lure enterprise users to their new tablet designs, such as Lenovo, which recently launched its business-focused ThinkPad Tablet 2, and Microsoft, which entered the enterprise tablet market this June with the unveiling of the Surface tablet.
PUBLISHED OCT. 1, 2012