HP Announces 10" ElitePad 900 Windows 8 Tablet with “Smart Jackets”
October 1, 2012 12:01 AM
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HP's ElitePad 900 packs an Atom processor and up to a 64GB SSD
Peter Misek, an analyst for Jeffries,
recently made the statement
that "HP will aggressively attack the smartphone and tablet markets, which we believe are risky investments." Well with today's announcement of the 10" ElitePad 900, it appears that HP is looking to attack the tablet market, but we wouldn't call it an aggressive move by any means.
The ElitePad 900 starts off with some promise thanks to its inclusion of an Intel Atom Z2760 processor (
backed with 2GB of memory) that should provide plenty of backwards compatibility with existing apps for the Windows platform. The tablet also hits the right notes when it comes to its form-factor -- it features an aluminum body (MIL-spec 810G) that measures just 9.2mm thick and weighs 1.5 pounds.
The device offers a choice of 32GB or 64GB SSD, an 8MP camera on the rear, and a 1080p-class camera on the front for video conferencing. HP even includes the option of 3G/4G wireless connectivity. In addition, the ElitePad 900 supports pen-input for those that prefer more precision than your fingertips can provide.
Things get even more interesting when you take a look at what HP is calling its line of Smart Jackets. The Productivity Jacket provides an integrated keyboard and SD card slot while the Expansion Jacket provides USB and HDMI connectivity along with an integrated battery for added runtime. Other accessories include a rugged case that provides "military-grade" protection and a docking station that allows an external keyboard and monitor to be connected.
Another big boon is the fact that the ElitePad 900 can be serviced easily using what HP calls an "industry-unique service tool". Using the tool, the motherboard, screen, and battery can be easily accessed for quick repair/replacement. This also eliminates the need to send the device off to be repaired, potentially putting sensitive data at risk.
So with so much promise, how could we possibly be disappointed with the ElitePad 900? Well, the tablet is only equipped with a meager 1280x800 display in an era when even lowly
Kindle Fire HDs
are packing 1920x1080 screens (
the Nook HD+
is even higher still at 1920x1280). There are a number of Android tablet that provide a screen resolution of 1920x1080, most Windows 8 tablets announced so far are at least 1366x768, and
the iPad trumps all
with a screen resolution of 2048x1536.
And with such a "low" screen resolution, you can't even
snap Metro apps
to the side of the screen in Windows 8. That is a big oversight in our opinion.
HP ElitePad 900 Expansion Jacket
The other disappointment is that HP is only gearing the ElitePad 900 at business users, meaning that the tablet will only be sold through its enterprise channel. And although HP is announcing the ElitePad 900 today, it won't ship until January of 2013. So we won't know any pricing details until closer to launch.
ElitePad 900 with Dock
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10/1/2012 11:26:47 AM
This is right along the lines of what I've had to say about tablets lately, and what people do with them.
Tablets (and to a certain extent, smartphones) are basically incomplete computers. You're carrying around the screen and all the bits to make it function...but you've left behind the keyboard and mouse. Which in some cases is fine, but generally speaking when you need to get "work" done you go and attach your keyboard and mouse (whether that's in a formal dock, like a Transformer, or a "jacket" like these things, or just a BT keyboard & mouse).
Note that you can buy a "jacket" with a built-in keyboard and kickstand for any USB-enabled tablet off of Amazon for like $15.
You can also buy dedicated "lapdocks" for certain phones, that effectively turn them into full-blown laptops.
I think ultimately what we're seeing with the tablet movement isn't so much that anyone's "abandoning" laptops and/or desktops. What's happening is that there's been a form factor change that came in under everyone's nose. The new form factor dictates that the laptop/desktop must come apart to enable it's usage without the normal input devices (ergo, make it a tablet/smartphone). And on the flipside, this "incomplete computer" that you're walking around with, tapping your finger on, must conversely easily slide into a dock/jacket/whatever to immediately become a "complete" computer with traditional input devices and a method of holding the "screen" up without the user having to hold it up in their hands.
This has been proven out by the behavior of people who use their tablets in work settings...the story tends to be "well, I love my tablet for wandering around and doing <x>, but when I need to get something done I just attach a keyboard and mouse and get to it."
While traditional laptops will likely always be cheaper to produce, and certainly always offer higher performance (unless you want a 7 pound tablet with enough cooling capacity to manage a 4-core processor and dedicated video card), I think that this is probably functionally just a re-definition of what a "computer" is.
We don't live in a "post-PC" world. We live in a world where phones and tablets *are* PCs. Just incomplete ones, most of the time.
"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs
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