What's Old is New Again - HP Re-Introduces Enterprise Slate Tablet
By Tony Rizzo
Following the decision to retain its PC business, HP has wasted no time in moving to re-establish its enterprise mobile presence by announcing the new Windows 7-based HP Slate 2 Tablet PC. The new machine sports an expanded multi-touch interface, enhanced multitasking performance and embedded security. The machine is equipped with an Intel Atom Z670 processor, with mSATA SSM technology (to deliver faster boot times), and improved battery life of up to six hours. It is expected to launch globally at the end of November, and will have a base price of $699.
The new tablet, which weighs in at 1.5 pounds (not exactly a lightweight), is clearly targeted for business use, and HP anticipates seeing it deployed in vertical markets such as education, healthcare, government and retail, where jobs are frequently mobile in nature. The new tablet sports an 8.9-inch diagonal capacitive multi-touch display for both touch and pen input
Pen-based tablet input has become an almost forgotten data entry feature – something driven in great part by the BYOD movement and the influx of consumer-focused tablets into the workplace. Microsoft has long focused on providing tablets with pen-based input capability, and in truth the ability to utilize a pen (or stylus) is often necessary. When working in business environments it is often preferable to simply be able to ‘jot down’ notes rather than having to formally type them. Towards this goal, HP’s new tablet includes a new Swype keyboard, along with a Swype applet that enhances the touch experience with efficient data entry via one continuous finger or stylus motion across the screen keyboard.
Additional hardware and software enhancements are clearly enterprise-focused and in particular target security. New features here include:
- A Trusted Platform Module (TPM) Embedded Security Chip to protect data – from email to information on the hard drive
- Embedded Security for HP ProtectTools – which provides user control and management of the TPM chip to increase secure user authentication, improve personal secure drive integrity, secure email and support protected digital certificate applications
- BIOS support for Computrace Pro – which helps protect against data theft by allowing customers to remotely delete data at the file, directory or operating system level and keep confidential information more secure
- HP Connection Manager – which provides control over wireless connections, including Wi-Fi, and optional integrated 3G broadband support for mobile internet and intranet access.
Specifically on the enterprise side of things, the Slate 2 comes with optional business solutions and applications. In particular, this includes HP’s Retail Mobile Point of Sale (POS) Case, which features an integrated magnetic stripe reader and barcode scanner. The case attaches to the tablet and creates a secure portable POS solution that integrates into existing application and hardware infrastructure. In addition, the HP Slate 2 helps retailers combine online and enterprise access to applications and services including task management workflows, inventory data and custom orders.
Other options include HP’s Slate Bluetooth keyboard and case - a rechargeable Bluetooth keyboard and an HP Slate Digital Pen.
There is, of course, also the typical collection of tablet features:
- Front-facing VGA webcam enables videoconferencing, and a 3-megapixel camera on the back allows for still image and video capture
- SRS Premium Sound provides audio settings for voice and multimedia applications
- SD card slot allows for expanded storage and sharing capabilities
- The HP Slate Dock provides device connection via two USB 2.0 ports and an HDMI port.
The new tablet, along with its clear business focus, adds weight to HP’s need to deliver significant mobile software and hardware solutions. HP needs to re-establish its mobile enterprise credentials, as noted in the related article, ‘After Numerous Mixed Signals Can HP Be Trusted on the Enterprise Mobility Front?’ The new Slate 2, along with HP’s newly released Enterprise Mobile Applications Services Suite, look to be solid steps in moving HP towards regaining that trust.