Fixed-Location Business Tablets
Fixed-location business tablets
So, is HP (and other vendors with similar products) onto something with fixed-location business "tablets" (although it's still a PC at heart and not really designed as a tablet)? Yes and no. It's clear that such hardware has a place in modern businesses. What isn't as clear is whether or not Windows 7 running the devices can provide the intuitive and highly interactive operations that users now require.
Until Windows achieves the interactive UI qualities of iPhone, iPad and Android, it will be hard to see how the TouchSmart and equivalent PCs make much of an impact on business beyond the traditional, kiosk-oriented markets. Nor is it clear that a "fat" piece of hardware made to run a full Windows implementation can be a truly good fixed-tablet device when much "thinner" architectures are probably adequate to the task (and at lower cost).
The real test will be for HP to work with Microsoft to improve both the interactivity and development capabilities to achieve a breakthrough for fixed-tablet uses, and to offer tools to help ISVs to create truly compelling applications (as they can now on mobile-oriented tablets).
Of course, HP could just port the much better touch UI of WebOS to their TouchSmart devices and make it really user-oriented, thus bypassing the "klugeyness" of Windows for these types of applications. Maybe that's what HP will offer next. In any event, I believe fixed-tablet devices will be a key component of business applications in the future and should not be dismissed from corporate or ISV planning in favor of a solely mobile device strategy.
Jack E. Gold is the founder and Principal Analyst at J. Gold Associates, an IT analyst firm based in Northborough, Mass., covering the many aspects of business and consumer computing and emerging technologies. Jack is a former VP of research services at the META Group. He has over 35 years experience in the computer and electronics industries. He can be reached at email@example.com.