Just when businesses are looking more seriously at ways to mobilize their employees and value chains and maintain control of their corporate data, Hewlett-Packard is coming out with a brigade of new tablets and other items for that express purpose.
The company's Personal Systems group on Jan. 20 introduced eight new mobile devices—seven of which are tablets—and a list of optional accessories aimed at enabling enterprises to outfit their employees with fast, new-gen devices and maintain control at the same time.
These are market-ready, battle-tested devices with features above and beyond what most consumers can obtain at Best Buy. Some are even designed specifically for vertical markets, such as health care and education.
"Most mobile devices brought into the workplace are BYOD, and are used primarily for email and calendar, not enterprise applications," Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at Moor Insights, told eWEEK. "Those more consumer-like devices aren't as durable as needed and aren't managed, deployed or serviced in a way IT is generally familiar with."
This is, in fact, the key for producing a successful enterprise device: It must be able to be managed in a way that satisfies both the user and the enterprise. Anything less than that and you've got trouble.
Mobility not only changes where people work, but how they work. The conventional approach to business mobility is to retrofit consumer devices and attempt to make them enterprise-ready, or drive customer lock-in to a single platform or device. HP is very purpose-minded with its new devices.
New Product Lineup
They are as follows:
--HP Pro Slate 8 and HP Pro Slate 12 are commercial-grade, high-definition Android tablets. Available in 8-inch or 12-inch diagonal displays, the tablets are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 series processor. At about 8mm thick, these lightweight tablets offer business-day battery life of 8 hours with enterprise-grade security and manageability. Both devices feature a range of accessories. HP Pro Slate 8 is among the first tablets to use Corning Gorilla Glass 4, Corning's toughest cover glass.
--HP Duet Pen, the first to use Qualcomm Snapdragon digital pen technology on both a tablet and regular paper, is included with the HP Pro Slate 8 and HP Pro Slate 12. The pen is part of HP's Blended Reality Ecosystem, helping employees create shareable content by writing and digitizing input from the device's screen or via a regular sheet of paper using the HP Paper Folio.
--HP Elite x2 1011 G1 is a lightweight, 11.6-inch diagonal 2-in-1 Windows device running Windows 8 Pro. It transforms from a tablet to a laptop with Ultrabook configurations available. It has been tested to military specs for durability. The Elite x2 features an ecosystem of optional accessories that includes an industry-first WiGig enterprise wireless dock based on a joint collaboration with Intel, along with a cover, a lightweight travel keyboard and an optional Wacom pen.
--HP Pro Tablet 408 G1 is a 9mm-thin, 8-inch diagonal Intel Atom-based business tablet that provides a full Windows 8 Pro experience and the mobile accessories to help keep users productive when away from their PCs. It includes business-class features such as micro-HDMI, up to 64GB of storage and an 8-megapixel rear camera with flash.
--HP ElitePad 1000 G2 Healthcare Tablet is designed to improve caregiver productivity and enhance patient interaction. The durable and lightweight solution has an antimicrobial treatment to protect the product and can be cleaned easily. Deployable in any clinical environment, the tablet helps reduce the risk of medical errors by using a 2D barcode reader to validate personnel, patients, and catalog and administrate medication.
--HP ElitePad 1000 G2 Rugged Tablet is an ideal solution both in and out of the office for mobile workers in manufacturing or in-field environments. It features up to 20 hours of battery life and a 2D barcode reader to quickly access information.
--The Intel Atom-based HP Pro Tablet 10 EE running Windows and the HP Pro Slate 10 EE Android tablet are sturdily built for students. They feature a durable design that has passed heavy-duty testing for dust and moisture and includes an on-board garage for the optional stylus, plus a hard-wired keyboard base option for more convenient and secure 1:1 learning.
Mobility Goes Far Beyond Devices
"Across industries, customers want to fully take advantage of mobility," Crawford del Prete, longtime senior analyst at IDC, told eWEEK. "This goes far beyond devices. In fact, in many cases devices are not the pain point, but just the start of the opportunity to transform the way that business gets done.
"Increasingly, the problem becomes how to support an increasingly large variety of devices and operating systems that customers are using. So beyond the actual devices, the ability to manage and secure heterogeneous devices is critical."
At the same time, the solution can't be complex, and needs to work with existing software and services.
"SMB customers want to have a way to intuitively provide fairly advanced management services without adding significant complexity to the (increasingly small) IT resource pool. This is what HP Touchpoint Manager is targeting," del Prete said.
HP is clearly developing products to facilitate the adoption of tablets (Windows and Android) into more vertical industry segments, del Prete said.
"Whether it's education, retail, manufacturing or health care, HP is clearly focused on tuning products to the needs of individual customer use cases," he said. "As well, they are (as others have) attempting to bring a more premium experience to Android, because there's clearly a set of customers that want to use Android in the enterprise and are willing to invest in enterprise-grade hardware."
Del Prete believes that "this is an important announcement directionally for HP. It demonstrates (I believe) that as they think about life after the split of the companies, HP Inc. needs to be more than a PC and printing company. It needs to offer software and services as well. I think what we saw today is indicative of a new direction."
Pricing and Availability
HP Pro Slate 8 is available now with a starting price of $449; HP Pro Slate 12 is available now with a starting price of $569. HP Elite x2 1011 G1 is expected to be available in late January with a starting price of $899; HP Pro Tablet 408 G1 is available now with a starting price of $299.
HP's ElitePad 1000 G2 Vertical Solutions include:
--HP ElitePad 1000 G2 Healthcare Tablet is available now with a starting price of $1,499.
--HP ElitePad 1000 G2 Rugged Tablet is expected to be available in February with a starting price of $1,599.
--HP Pro Slate 10 EE is available now with a starting price of $279.
--HP Pro Tablet 10 EE is available now with a starting price of $299 for education customers and $349 for all customers.
For more information, go here.