HP pushes commercial mobility focus

HP is introducing a range of devices as it splits its PC and printing business from the enterprise and services business divisions

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HP has announced a range of commercial tablets with a focus on business applications as the company splits its PCs and printing business from the enterprise and services business divisions.

In October 2014 HP announced it would separate into two new publicly traded businesses.

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise will offer a portfolio of technology infrastructure, software and services for corporate IT needs, while HP Inc. will target the personal.

The HP Pro Tablet 408 G1 (€249) is an Intel Atom powered Windows 8.1 Pro tablet with an 8 inch screen, 2GB RAM and 32 GB of storage. The HP Pro Slate 12  (€529) is an Android 4.4 tablet powered by a Qualcomm ARM-based system on a chip processor. HP has also introduced industry-specific versions of its  ElitePad 1000 tablet. There is an HP ElitePad 1000 G2 Healthcare (€1,369) version and an ElitePad 1000 G2 Rugged Tablet (€1,469). Both are equipped with a 10.1 inch screen, 128 GB of storage, 4 GB of RAM and run Windows 8.1 64 Pro. HP has also launched the Elite x2 1011 G1 (€999 ), hybrid tablet/laptop which offers a detachable keyboard.

Michael Park, who heads up the commercial mobility arm at HP, said: "Over the last 18 months the company has re-invented the way it plans products to focus on being use case centric. It became obvious that mobility was driving a lot of the use cases. We’d love to build cool devices, but the customer needs more."

He said 28% of desktop users also use mobile devices. Six months ago Park began working on an initiative to combine devices, software and services for enterprises, small- and mid-sized businesses and the education sectors. Unlike a traditional Windows PC, Park said IT managers need to think about connectivity and how to manage mobile applications and security. "A commercial customer needs a solution for business that thinks about the application, the devices, connectivity, back-end legacy applications in the datacentre and how all of these things come together."

Park said most businesses are still at an early stage of the mobile enterprise. "Most mobile work has been achieved through a point solution or in an opportunistic way."

Windows still rules the roost

Windows is still the dominant enterprise operating system (OS). A survey of 1,130 IT decision markers across Europe conducted by HP found that, while a range of OSs are emerging in business, 42% of respondents still consider Windows "critical" to their business, a position that almost two-thirds (65%) of IT decision makers believe will be retained in five years’ time. A typical enterprise has 4-5,000 Windows applications, so they are not going to kick them out, Park said. 

Removing Windows is going to be a challenge. Park said the choice for enterprise users is to consider which Windows applications to virtualise, which to redevelop natively for iOS, Android and Windows and which can be delivered in HTML 5.

HP’s new line of commercial tablets aims to establish the company’s credentials as a serious mobile enterprise company, and paves the way to the role of HP Inc. Speaking to Computer Weekly when the split was announced, Leonard Klejnow, deputy chair of HP user group, HPUG, said: "What will make the difference is the attitude of both new companies to put the customer first whilst sorting out the detail."

A recent survey found desktop and notebook PCs will continue to have the stronghold in the enterprise, with desktop PC usage only expected to decline very slightly between now and 2020, from 53% usage to 46%. Respondents believed notebooks will be consistently present, with employee usage of these devices currently at 29% and anticipated to remain at the same level in 2020, HP said.

HP’s new range of commercial tablets and the Elite x2 1011 G1 hybrid laptop/tablet are expected to ship in January 2015.

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