The head of Hewlett-Packard’s PC business does not believe that Microsoft Surface based on Windows RT operating system is actually a competitor for HP’s ElitePad tablets designed for professional usage. Moreover, seeing how successful Apple iPad is and how intense the clash in the consumer tablet space will be, HP has no plans to release its own media tablet any time soon.
“I would hardly call Surface competition. One, very limited distribution. It tends to be slow and a little kludgey as you use it. It is expensive. Holistically, the press has made a bigger deal out of Surface than what the world has chosen to believe. If you want to go to any of the 30 Microsoft Stores in the United States to buy one, I think you should probably do that,” said Todd Bradley, the head of HP’s PC business unit, in an interview with CiteWorld web-site.
It is rather interesting to watch HP criticizing Microsoft’s Surface tablet with Windows RT designed for consumers, the market where Hewlett-Packard itself faced dramatic fiasco with its TouchPad line of media tablets powered by webOS operating system. Currently HP is preparing to ship enterprise-oriented ElitePad slates in January, which are much more expensive than Surface or iPad for media consumption.
“The Elite Pad is built for the enterprise; it is built on a 16:10 aspect ratio screen so you can view a whole page as opposed to format through a page. It is focused on backward compatibility of applications, it is focused on the ability to open it and service it, as opposed to return it. At the same time, you clearly have the ability to download Netflix or whatever your favorite app is. We have gone much from a different perspective from that then let us load it up at a retailer,” explained Mr. Bradley.
Microsoft is also working on Surface tablet featuring Windows 8 Pro, which will actually compete against HP’s ElitePad slates aimed at enterprises.
Mr. Bradley himself seems to be slightly disappointed with HP’s decision to shut down development of webOS platform. As a result, the company is not going to enter the market of media tablets in foreseeable future as it needs to tailor its offerings thoroughly to be competitive.
“Obviously the decision by our board to shut down the WebOs business caused us to have a significant delay in our tablets. We are catching up slowly, both with tablets and with convertible devices. […] We are not entering the consumer tablet fray any time soon. We will be doing something next year, but you will not see a consumer tablet from HP before Christmas. You will see convertibles that are focused on how you use the device, keyboard, clamshell. Whether we go into tablets – there is a whole litany of ARM-based Android, ARM-based Microsoft, there is quite a grid. We will be judicious about how we deploy against application availability in the enterprise, consumerization, and price points, there is a whole host of things we will look at,” explained Mr. Bradley.