HP Product Blitz: Microsoft Surface Competitor, Android Tablets And More

Upping The Enterprise Mobility Stake

Just seven months after launching a commercial mobility and software business unit, Hewlett- Packard has delivered nine aggressively priced new products that are purpose-built for business. Partners expect the new business mobility offerings -- including a new device that takes aim at Microsoft's Surface tablet -- to drive share gains for HP in the commercial mobility market. All of the products are available in January.

Staking Out Business Mobility High Ground

HP Vice President Of Commercial Mobility and Software Michael Park says the company's nine new commercial mobility products change the game for solution providers looking to increase business mobility margins. "We are leveraging all our commercial strength to differentiate from all the consumer plays," said Park. "We are very focused on use cases and differentiated by the fact they are created for business. There is so much noise around consumer products coming into business. Would you use a butter knife to cut a steak? You probably wouldn't. In the same way, why would you use a consumer tablet to do a real business job?"

Going Above The Surface: HP's Elite x2 1011 G1

Here comes HP's Elite x2 1011 G1, an 11.6-inch diagonal device priced starting at $899, that designed for the business traveler. The product fits nicely on an airplane tray -- no small feat in an era where business travelers are left with the device on their chest, unable to type when the passenger in the seat in front of them reclines. "When we created the design of this product we were thinking of people that sit in planes," said Park. The product uses Intel's Broadwell M chip set, allowing the x2 1011 G1 to run without a fan. That's a major competitive advantage over Surface, which uses the Intel Core i3 chip. "The consumer products get extremely hot," said Park. "You can literally melt a candy bar on the back of them."

A Laptop And Tablet Keyboard

The HP Elite x2 1011 G1 provides users with both a rugged laptop keyboard pulled directly from one of HP's high-end notebooks. That comes with a fingerprint reader, smartcard reader and USB ports along with a second battery. HP also created a specially designed travel keyboard for the product with the "all the structural integrity of a metal keyboard with all the normal precision of an HP keyboard but thinner," said Park. "So someone using this product can use it as a stand-alone tablet, as a tablet with a travel keyboard which is very light, or with a full-blown battery keyboard which gives them a minimum of 10.5 hours of use so they can fly transcontinental and work the whole time."

A New Multi-Pairing Wireless Docking Station

HP worked closely with chip giant Intel to deliver an innovative wireless docking station for the HP Elite x2 1011 G1. The wireless docking offering allows users to attach to a full display with three USB ports, audio, Ethernet and a nine-pin VGA connector for old monitors. Unlike other standard wireless docking stations, the HP model allows users to connect to multiple devices. That opens the door for users to connect in a conference room wirelessly to multiple pairings by tapping the connecting device to create a new connection. "That increases the collaboration scenarios for business users," said Park. "It's a very cool device. We think it is going to do very well in the market."

HP Pro Tablet 408 G1

Priced starting at just $299, the ultrathin, 8-inch diagonal HP Pro Tablet 408 G1 is HP's bid to drive a new level of tablet price performance in the Windows business tablet market. The product, which runs Windows 8 Pro, includes data encryption, a high-resolution 1,280 x 800 display with up to 64 GB of storage. "This is a value play for people that want a tablet that can be used in a business environment at a very low cost," said Park. "If you wrap this with a rugged case and a wrist strap, you can see someone using this to track inventory in a warehouse or out in a retail store." The Windows 8 Pro OS allows solution providers to plug the product directly onto a corporate network.

A New Android Built For Business Tablet

HP's rugged new Android based HP Pro Slate 12 tablet , priced starting at $569, targets professionals who need to view and annotate business documents. The product is the only Android tablet hat features a 12-inch diagonal display with a 4:3 aspect screen ratio vs.16:9 movie-watching mode for consumer tablets. It also features an integrated HP Duet pen that allows users to take notes directly on the tablet or even on ordinary paper that syncs automatically to the device. "This product has been optimally designed for anybody reading, writing and marking up a lot of documents," said Park.

Android HP Pro Slate 8 Tablet

The Android-based HP Pro Slate 8 tablet is an 8-inch tablet that also features the HP Duet Pen. Like the HP Pro Slate 12, the 8-inch model features rugged high-quality commercial aluminum built to withstand the two- to three-year business tablet refresh cycle vs. the six- to nine-month consumer tablet refresh cycle. The aggressive $449 price tag is aimed at grabbing Android tablet share, said Park. "We are being very aggressive to make a statement," he said. "We wanted to create attractive enough pricing to get people interested in it. We are hoping the channel will pick it up and really drive it for us."

The HP Duet Pen

The HP Duet Pen for HP Slate Pro 12 and HP Slate Pro 8 is a major breakthrough for business users that want to take notes in business meetings unobtrusively without the rat-a-tat of a keyboard. The pen lets users take notes on the device or on ordinary paper that syncs to the tablets through an an ultrasonic microphone that listens for the pen signature on paper. "You can literally write with that pen on ink on paper and as you write, it creates the note for you in the tablet in digital form," said Park. "We were really trying to think through the on screen/off screen experience for people that like to create content writing versus just using the keyboard."

HP ElitePad 1000 G2 Health-Care Tablet

The Windows-based HP ElitePad 1000 G2 Healthcare Tablet, priced at $1,499, runs Cerner health-care applications and is aimed at eliminating the bulky laptop/PC carts that currently dominate hospitals. "This is designed to support patient care by the bedside and help the electronic medical record vendors bring applications to hospitals in the way that people actually work," said Park. The antimicrobial-treated device kills bacteria on contact. It also includes a 2-D bar-code reader to validate patient medication and data. That's a huge productivity boost for doctors and health-care workers who can use a smartcard reader to quickly authenticate patient data. "This is going to be able to help health-care ISVs drive significant productivity savings in the hospital," said Park.

The HP ElitePad 1000 G2 Rugged Tablet

The Windows-based HP ElitePad 1000 G2 Rugged Tablet, priced at $1,499, is aimed at taking a beating in the most demanding field service environments. The waterproof product, which can handle up to a 7-foot drop, is ideal for logistics and delivery companies, manufacturing and warehouse business scenarios. The product can be outfitted with SAP's enterprise asset management software suite, which is used in manufacturing and office environments."This is a great hardware solution that fits behind great applications to really help customers drive mobile transformation," said Park.

HP Pro Slate 10 EE (Education Edition) Android Tablet

The Android-based HP Pro Slate 10 EE Tablet is HP's bid to break open the education market with a rugged tablet priced starting at just $279. "We saw a lot of consumer tablets going into education and not surviving," said Park. "So we took our commercial know-how to build a more ruggedized tablet that can withstand the abuse of K-12 kids at a price point that is acceptable." The product includes tougher drop testing and reinforced connectors to withstand K-12 kids "hammering them eight hours a day, five days a week, 200 days a year." The product comes imaged with a full suite of education software for students and teachers.

HP Pro Tablet 10 EE Windows Tablet

The HP Pro Tablet 10 EE for Windows features the same rugged design as HP's Pro Slate 10 EE for Android only for a Windows device. The product is priced at $299 for education customers and $349 for others. HP can configure both devices with either an "Android or Windows board," said Park. "You have to choose when you buy it whether you are going to run Windows or Android." That said, the accessories, including pens, can work on both devices, said Park.

HP Retail Case For ElitePad

The new $199 HP Retail Case For ElitePad allows retailers for the first time to physically attach a mobile payment device from vendors like PayPal, VeriFone, Anywhere Commerce and Ingenico to accept a wide range of payments. "This creates a tap-and-pay capability," said Park. "It's another example of what we do well in retail: creating point-of-sale systems that help retailers transform and move into new directions. This is making sure that we are responding to a shift in the industry."

HP Touchpoint Manager

The new HP business mobility devices come preloaded with HP Touchpoint Manager, a cloud management platform aimed at making it easier for small- and medium-business solution providers to manage the wide range of mobile devices including Apple iOS, Android and Windows devices, and even competitive offerings like Dell and Lenovo devices. "We see this huge opportunity to become more secure with the devices they manage," said Park. "We are taking enterprise-class management and security and simplifying it for SMBs." HP is offering solution providers agent fees on sales of Touchpoint Manager, said Park. "This is going to help partners move from just moving boxes to delivering solutions," he said.

HP Mobility ISV Partnerships

A key part of the HP Commercial Mobility business unit is software partnerships with leading business software vendors such as SAP with its enterprise asset management software for specialized industries including manufacturing, oil and office; Cerner, whose health-care software is used in hospitals; and Intergraph, which has a Windows 8.1 mobile application for first responders. "We are working with these vendors to understand the application transformation as we create new mobile scenarios," said Park. "That knowledge has helped us design the products the right way. If you want to move to mobility it requires multiple levels. There is connectivity, security, data center scale. No one vendor can do all of that. You are going to need to partner extremely well across that stack."

Staying Focused On Business Mobility

The nine new offerings are just the start of HP's drive to redefine the business mobility experience, said Park. "We are totally focused on business customer experiences," he said. "We are not taking a spray-and-pray approach trying to cover the entire market. We are very focused on use cases and then using the inside of those use cases to create great products that are differentiated by the fact they are created for business. What we are doing is building the equivalent of the steak knife for the steak. There is plenty of room for butter knives and steak knives. Our domain is going to be built around business. We are just going to stay focused on that, execute and enable the channel to do it."