HP Redesigns Slate Tablet to Target Mobility-Rich Verticals
HP’s Slate isn’t dead, it’s actually been resurrected. The new, improved, Slate 2 is coming from HP, and it has been redesigned to target vertical industries where mobility is important. But can the HP Slate 2 stack up against the competition, and more importantly, is it relevant?
The Slate 2 is looks the same as the original Slate, outfitted with a 8.9-inch multitouch capacitive and pen-enabled touch screen. It runs Windows 7 on top of an Intel Atom CPU and includes 2GB of RAM, but users can add up to 64GB of SSD space. HP has outfitted the Slate 2 with a few industry-specific features such as TPM modules and a unique BIOS feature that supports remote-wiping capabilities. But realistically, the Slate 2 is essentially a re-release of the initial Slate with a bump in battery life and graphics capabilities and a slight decrease in CPU speed and price ($699). For all intents and purposes, the two Slates are pretty much identical.
And like the previous Slate, HP is targeting the business space instead of consumers. But this time around, HP is really pushing the Slate 2’s usability factor, saying it’s ideal for “business and vertical markets such as education, healthcare, government and retail, where jobs frequently take users away from a traditional desk.”
Here’s the problem: While there’s a market for tablets such as this, it’s not large, it’s not popular and it’s shrinking day to day. Just look at the Long Island Raid Road, Lowe’s and Sears — they’ve all moved to iOS devices to address their mobility needs, from POS to inventory. So what the heck is HP thinking?
I think HP may be trying to resurrect the form factor (which is good) and eventually launch a fleet of Slates that run Windows 8, but its Slate 2 moves don’t make sense right now. I concede that in the healthcare and governmental verticals, there may be an appeal for the Slate, but as Android and iOS continue to grow and become more impressive platforms, the management and issues that come with administering a Windows tablet may eventually outweigh the measures needed to ensure secure adoption of consumer IT products.