HP Beats Microsoft To The Punch, Unveils Enterprise-Ready Windows 10 Tablet

Microsoft may be the maker of Windows 10, but it is not the first to unveil a Windows 10-based tablet. That honor goes to Hewlett-Packard, which Thursday unveiled an enterprise-ready Windows 10 tablet.

Specifically designed for business productivity apps, the HP Pro Tablet 608 features a 4:3 aspect ratio -- a 35 percent increase from the standard 16:9 tablet displays.

Weighing in at less than 1 pound, the HP Pro Tablet 608 features a front-facing camera and noise-canceling software to support videoconferencing in airports or hotel lobbies. HP said the tablet will provide support for Cortana, Microsoft's voice command interface that aims to put the whammy on Apple's Siri.

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[Related: Head-To-Head: Windows 10 Vs. Windows 8]

HP is placing a Windows 10 stake in the ground early, claiming bragging rights for unveiling a Windows 10 Tablet before Microsoft hits the market with a version of its Surface Pro with Windows 10.

Windows 10 is slated to be available July 29. HP said the Pro Tablet 608 will ship pre-installed with Windows 10 in August.

Microsoft, which is offering a Windows 10 preview for Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3, is touting Windows 10 for its ability to run what it calls "universal" Windows apps that run on any kind of device.

HP, Palo Alto, Calif., did not disclose pricing for the Windows 10-based tablet, but a Windows 8.1 Professional version of the tablet is priced at $479.

The new Windows 10 device is another example of HP innovating in the business market by delivering a "purpose-built solution for business as opposed to trying to make a consumer machine work for business," said Kris Rogers, senior vice president of partner and product management at PCM, a $1.5 billion El Segundo, Calif.-based national solution provider.

PCM sees Windows 10 as a "transformational" product for businesses that will address both mobility and security issues that prior Microsoft operating systems did not, said Rogers.

Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech, No. 232 on the CRN 2015 Solution Provider 500, said he sees products like the Pro Tablet 608 as critical if Windows 10 is going to be successful in the business market.

"Microsoft is going to be in a very poor position if the majority of customers continue to stay on Windows 7," said Future Tech's Venero."If businesses don't adopt Windows 10, that means Microsoft would have had three major releases without a strong upgrade cycle."

Venero said it is not a do-or-die situation for Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft, but certainly a "do-or-be-maimed" scenario if Windows 10 is not adopted by business.

A poor reception for Windows 10 also would be damaging to solution providers, said Venero. "At the end of the day, we as solution providers need corporate America to adopt Windows 10," he said. "Migration to a new OS and apps are vital to feeding the partner sales engine."

Venero said he expects Windows 10 to be embraced more quickly by small- and medium-business customers than by enterprise clients, which have locked-down security parameters and controls for devices.

Venero said about 20 percent of his Fortune 1000 customers are testing Windows 10. That said, he pointed out those customers usually will not adopt a new operating system until the first Service Pack is released several months after the launch date. "Enterprise customers are not early adopters," he said. "There is too much risk associated with moving early to an OS like Windows 10. SMB customers will be the early adopters."