It sure took the company a long time, but at long last HP is back in the tablet game. Launched locally at an event held in Rosebank, the HP ElitePad 900 is a Windows 8-based device aimed at the business end of the tablet market.
Since their previous tablets, including the infamous TouchPad and 2011’s Windows 7-based Slate 2, the Palo Alto-based company has been waiting for the touch-friendly Windows 8 to reawaken their tablet love. The 10.1” ElitePad comes with Windows 8 Pro (not the downscaled Windows RT OS), and interestingly enough, runs on an Intel Atom Z2760 1.8 GHz dual-core processor – one of a few tablets locally to do so.
Built for business
Protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 2, the device looks sleek and comes with a display of 1280 x 800 – pretty much standard in the market currently. The full aluminium build was one aspect that specifically impressed us - it felt solid and should be able to take a few knocks, even more so with the Expansion Jacket that adds USB and HDMI support, while also able to accommodate an additional battery. Although there are no official figures, HP believes the ElitePad will be able to clock 10 hours of battery life.
As far as weight and size goes, there is not really a lot to complain about since it tilts the scales at 0.7 kg (178 x 261 x 9.2 mm), while the latest iPad weighs in at 652 g (185.7 x 241.2 x 9.4 mm).
Security is one aspect that HP is particularly emphasising, with the ElitePad being x86 compatible and supporting HP Client Management solutions. The tablet also comes with LANDesk Management Suite, which HP noted should make it easy to locate and delete data of units that have been lost. In all, it looks like the ElitePad can address some of the security concerns from CIOs, plus ease deployment within the enterprise.
HP has also made video conferencing easy on the ElitePad, which offers a 1080p front facing camera, digital dual-array microphones and SRS Audio for clearer audio.
To the point
For many companies that have been waiting for a business-ready, full Windows 8 device, the HP ElitePad 900 comes across as a solid choice. While not all Microsoft business applications can run on the latest Android or Apple tablets, it should do so on the ElitePad, with HP importantly addressing some of the security problems relating to confidential company data on easy-to-lose tablets.
But, even with the optional enterprise class docking station or Productivity Jacket that adds a keyboard, the ElitePad remains primarily for content consumption rather than content creation. And at prices ranging between R10 000 and R11 500, companies would need to look very carefully at which employees actually need this rather pricey device.
In related HP news, Thibault Dousson, PPS (Printer and Personal Systems) country manager at HP South Africa talks about some of the trends he foresees for the forthcoming year.