HP is aiming to derail the Apple iPad bring-your-own-device to work phenomenon with its own "expandable" and "serviceable" business tablet that is being backed up by one of the most aggressive HP channel sales enablement efforts in years.
Among the new tablet's channel-friendly features that mark it as a business-class system will be the ability for business partners to expand it with different options for specific vertical business solutions and to open the tablet to service it, HP's printing and personal systems boss Todd Bradley told CRN.
"This is the only serviceable tablet there is," boasted Bradley. "It is serviceable, and it is expandable."
Bradley would not provide pricing or specific product details for the new tablet which is expected to be announced sometime in the next several weeks, in line with Microsoft's Windows 8 launch. HP will spend "minimal time, if any time, on the consumer side" of the tablet market right now, he said.
The new business tablet marks HP's re-entry into the tablet arena following the infamous death of its TouchPad tablet after only six weeks on the market. The August 2011 announcement, made by then-CEO Leo Apotheker, also outlined potential plans to sell off HP's PC unit.
Since Apotheker's departure last September, new HP CEO Meg Whitman has reaffirmed the company's commitment to the PC business and now is bringing the computer giant back into the tablet game.
"Obviously we are kind of re-establishing the category after the August 18, 2011 changes that were made," said Bradley discussing the TouchPad misstep.
"So I don't know if we are overcompensating or just re-evaluating how we market and go to market with new products. So you are seeing very large seed programs [to get the tablets in the hands of partners]."
Bradley said HP has put more resources and muscle in terms of getting HP channel partners ready to sell the new tablet than any product offering since he joined the company in 2005.
"We are spending a lot of time with people to regain their confidence and show our commitment," said Bradley.
"I think our entire product lineup from printers to workstations to PCs to tablets is going to show how committed we are to the space, and I think there is still some work we need to do to regain their confidence. That is why we are charging down this path. We have never done anything like this. This is a pretty significant commitment for us."
HP's all out focus on the channel is a big differentiator against both Apple's iPad and Microsoft's Surface tablet product line, Bradley said.
"From a competitive standpoint, we are showing a bigger commitment than any of them," he said.
Apple has been mounting an aggressive campaign to recruit channel partners to integrate Apple's iPad into businesses. Microsoft is yet to let partners sell its new Surface tablet.
"The product that we have developed, the serviceability of it, the ability for partners to make money with us on this tablet are just significant," said Bradley.
"Compared to any of the other people in the marketplace, no one has a better focus on the enterprise than HP. The combination of an HP Windows 8 tablet gives enterprises the security that they want for their behind-the-firewall applications."
This article originally appeared at crn.com
Issue: 315 | May 2013
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