HP Cranks Up 'Enterprise Tablet' Marketing With ElitePad 9006:00 AM EST Tue. Oct. 02, 2012
Hewlett-Packard's ElitePad 900 won't be available until January, but HP is offering indications of how it plans to use it to dethrone Apple's iPad as the tablet of choice in the enterprise.
Out of the box, the iPad is not a particularly rugged device. Without some sort of protective cover, dropping it from more than a few feet will more often than not result in an unplanned trip to the nearest Apple store.
HP sees this as an opportunity. Its ElitePad 900, unveiled Monday, features "military-grade durability" and has undergone MIL-STD-810G testing for drops, vibration, dust, temperature extremes and high altitude, HP said in a press release.
HP says it used preproduction models of the ElitePad 900 during its testing, which included dropping the ElitePad 900 from 30 inches onto every side, angle and edge onto two inches of plywood over steel over concrete. However, HP says its testing wasn't designed for military use or Department of Defense contracts.
Unlike the iPad, the ElitePad 900 comes with a removable cover that lets partners service the device and expand its features for use in vertically oriented business environments. HP is also touting its line of "jackets," protective covers that add various PC-like features and functionality.
HP's ElitePad Productivity Jacket comes with an integrated keyboard, connectivity ports and an SD card reader; the ElitePad Expansion Jacket includes USB and HDMI ports; and the ElitePad Rugged Case adds "military-grade reliability," according to HP.
Security and management are often cited as areas in which the iPad's invasion of the enterprise is creating headaches for IT departments. HP, as it did with the WebOS TouchPad, is presenting these as areas of strength in the ElitePad 900.
Mont Phelps, CEO of NWN, an HP partner headquartered in Waltham, Mass., believes compatibility with Windows and other infrastructure could help the ElitePad 900 lure customers away from their iPads.
"Apple has workarounds in most situations, but the iPad is still a challenge to deploy, operate and manage. A competitive unit with full functionality and a competitive price should gain some market share," Phelps told CRN.
NEXT: Windows, Security May Give ElitePad A Leg Up Against Competition
HP, in the run-up to the TouchPad launch, pitched the tablet as appropriate for both businesses and consumers. In the end, it ended up appealing to neither group. This time around, HP is selling its enterprise tablet with a Windows device, so the results may be different. With the ElitePad 900 not hitting the market until January, HP has plenty of time to relay its story to the channel.
Travis Fisher, executive vice president at Inacom Information Systems, a Salisbury, Md.-based HP partner, sees the ElitePad 900 as HP's attempt to adjust to the challenges IT organizations are facing in a BYOD world.
"HP either has to fight the tide of BYOD by getting adoption from the top down, or they need to be cool enough to create demand from the bottom up," Fisher told CRN. "That's a really tough fight, either way you look at it."
PUBLISHED OCT. 2, 2012