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HP sees revamped devices as mobile lead to target industries

HP is betting that a lineup of tablets and 2-in-1 devices will more easily target verticals such as healthcare if they come with software partnerships.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

NEW YORK---Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday launched a series of business tablets and 2-in-1 devices as well as industry specific applications and partnerships that add up to what the company hopes is a turnkey mobile enterprise stack.

The devices, powered by Android and Windows 8.1, are interesting in their own right and could work for prosumers and small businesses as well as large businesses. But HP is betting that partnerships with the likes of Cerner, a healthcare application company; Integraph, a software company focused on the public sector; and SAP will give its device lineup enough heft to tackle industries in one swoop.

What HP is trying to do is to change the enterprise mobility conversation from a bring your own device standard to "workflow enablement" that has the hardware as well as the security and services to go with it.

"Consumer devices are getting force fitted for business," said Ron Coughlin, senior vice president and general manager of HP's personal systems unit. "Most companies start with the devices. but you need apps, connectivity, software, security and infrastructure."

Michael Park, vice president and general manager of HP's commercial mobility, software and business personal systems, outlined an application called TouchPoint Manager that serves as a mobile device management suite that's more automated. On the enterprise front, HP is focusing on fleet management, security, app platforms and policies. "You can't just land and say here we go," said Park. "You can't drop off a device and say good luck. We're extending beyond BYOD." Park's argument is that BYOD doesn't work unless workflows are taken into account.

HP will partner for applications it doesn't have on the mobility front. To wit:

  • Cerner is collaborating with HP to build healthcare applications for mobile devices.
  • Integraph will release its Windows 8.1 mobile app for public safety organizations to better connect dispatch with people in the field. Integraph's Mobile Responder app will be optimized for HP's ElitePad 1000 G2 and its rugged sibling under a partnership with HP, Integraph and Microsoft.
  • SAP's enterprise asset management suite will also be hooked into the stack to track enterprise gear in the field.

Related; HP refreshes tablet lineup, publishes new enterprise mobility research

Those partnerships in addition to HP's services unit will enable the company to target various industries such as retail, healthcare and manufacturing. In many respects, HP's move is similar to what other enterprise players are doing. For instance, IBM and Apple have paired up to offer a soup-to-nuts application, mobility management, and device and support stack. Dell has similar efforts underway. Microsoft's Surface division is also honing in on SMBs as well as large enterprises. Lenovo has created its mobile stack, but needs to line up vertical software partnerships.

The larger question is whether software partnerships are enough. Does a company like HP need to own an enterprise mobility management software company?

Also: Buying enterprise mobility management: How important is independence?

While tablet sales on the consumer front are fizzling, enterprise vendors are trying to leverage a business stack approach to move devices as well as value added services. The catch is that enterprise vendors need to deliver devices that are attractive before they can profit from more lucrative software and services deals.

On that front, HP's lineup appears to deliver. HP's 2-in-1 and tablet lineup takes cues from the Surface and lines up with Dell's Venue tablets and extensions better. HP, like other PC makers, are betting that 2-in-1 devices can capture some of the PC replacement cycle in the enterprise. Among the HP additions:

HP Pro Slate 8 (starting at $449) and Pro Slate 12 ($569), two Android tables powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processors. The slates are less than 8mm thick, have Gorilla Glass 4 and security apps. The Pro Slate duo also includes the HP Duet Pen, which is Qualcomm's Snapdragon digital pen, which is an addition to HP's blended reality theme. The Duet Pen can take notes on paper or a screen and digitize the content. The tablets are available in January.

A look at HP's Pro Slate with pen.

The Elite x2 1011 G1, an 11.6-inch 2-in-1 device run with Windows 8 Pro. The Elite x2 can function as a tablet or Ultrabook with military-grade durability. A WiGig wireless dock is available. WiGig is Intel technology that allows mobile devices to connect to peripherals wirelessly. The device, available in January, will start at $899.

Elite x2 1011 G1

An HP Pro Tablet 408 G1, a 9 mm thick 8-inch tablet that runs on Intel's Atom processor. The tablet is available now starting at $299.

The HP ElitePad 1000 G2 Healthcare Tablet, which features an antimicrobial treatment as well as a barcode reader for personnel, medication, catalog and patient tracking.

ElitePad 1000 for healthcare.

An HP ElitePad 1000 G2 Rugged Tablet that is similar to the healthcare version with a barcode reader, but built to handle water, dust and tough environments. The vertical focused ElitePads will be available in January and February starting at $1,499.

HP's rugged ElitePad.

HP Pro Tablet 10 EE running Windows ($299 for education and $349 for everyone else) and the HP Pro Slate 10 EE running Android ($279), two devices aimed at education, built to take a beating and accessories to use keyboards and a stylus. These devices come with services to deploy them in education and manage them.

HP's education tablet.

An HP Retail Case for ElitePad, which turns those aforementioned devices into point-of-sale terminals. The case starts at $199.

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