The computer giant has been giving hints as to its Windows 8 tablet strategy in the past few months and even recently showed off some hybrid notebook/tablet PCs.
HP also raised some eyebrows when it specifically said it had no plans to compete in the market for Windows RT tablets based on the ARM architecture this year which, among others, will include Microsoft’s own Surface RT tablet.
Now HP has previewed the ElitePad 900, a true Windows 8 tablet with several unique hardware features designed to appeal to road warriors and the company’s traditional enterprise and business customers.
A unique line of Smart Jacket accessories
With the addition of several optional peripherals, including a unique line of “Smart Jacket” accessory products, the ElitePad 900 “begins to flirt with notebook level functionality,” Ajay Gupta, HP’s commercial notebooks product director, told TabTimes. “We’re very excited, this is a very good, solid tablet.”
The HP Jackets weigh under a pound and inclusion of an optional battery should add an additional 8 hours of battery life to the 9-10 hours the tablet comes with standard.
A front facing 1080p camera and rear 8 MP camera with LED are also included.
Gupta said HP will offer a number of different customized Smart Jackets for different industries and use cases. The idea is to make the ElitePad 900 easier for IT departments to manage as a single standard unit that can be customized for different applications like retail or for use in a warehouse by adding the appropriate jacket.
“We’re planning a whole set of different jackets,” said Gupta.
For example, the HP ElitePad Productivity Jacket includes an integrated keyboard, connectivity ports, SD card reader and adjustable viewing angles.
The HP ElitePad Expansion Jacket adds USB, HDMI and other connectivity for road warriors.
HP also said it will offer an “ElitePad Rugged Case that it says provides military-grade reliability and additional protection. The ElitePad Docking Station adds a keyboard and monitor and can also charge the tablet. The Dock can also be used to let the tablet function as a second screen.
In an earlier embargoed press preview HP said it expected the ElitePad 900 to sell for $699 for the WiFi only unit with 32GB of storage, but HP is now reportedly reconsidering the price.
In today’s press release, the company said pricing will be announced closer to the product’s availability. A 64GB version will also be available.
HP also says its optional Executive Tablet Pen lets users write messages and notes in their natural handwriting directly on screen and then save or convert it to typed text for use in other applications.