Is It Good for HP to Release an Android Tablet?

Feb 16, 2013  Print Story

Recently, there has been a report about HP coming up with an Android tablet. Speculation is that it will be powerful, powered by Tegra 4, and will prove to be a big win for Google. Is it really the truth? Let’s think about it a bit.

HP’s latest product is a Windows 8 powered tablet known as ElitePad.

HP ElitePad

It is a head-on competitor to Microsoft Surface Pro. Here are the technical specifications comparing Surface Pro and ElitePad.

Spec

HP ElitePad

Microsoft Surface Pro

OS

Windows 8 Pro

Windows 8 Pro

Display

10.1 inch capacitive multi-touch; 1280x800

10.6 inch; 1920x1080px

Processor

Intel Atom 1.8 GHz dual-core

Intel Core i5-3317U dual-core 1.7 GHz (Turbo Boost up to 2.6 GHz

RAM

TBA

4 GB

Camera

8 MP (1080p)

1 MP (720p)

Storage

64 GB

64/128 GB

Accessories

All sold separately: keyboard, productivity jacket, tablet pen, docking station, etc.

Included: tablet pen

Sold separately: keyboard


Overall, it is Microsoft that wins in terms of tech specs. Intel Atom processor is a low power, low performance processor as compared to Core i5. Core i5 supports Turbo Boost technology, which increases the speed of the processor when you are doing demanding jobs, while Atom doesn’t support it.

We are not sure about the Android tablet ideas of HP. HP’s track record in tablet and smartphone market has not been impressive by any standard. Earlier in 2000, HP had introduced a pocket PC device called iPAQ that did not succeed as expected.

After Compaq acquisition, HP slowly grew to become the largest PC maker in the world, a position it still maintains. In 2010, unsuccessful pocket PC maker, Palm was acquired by HP, which also did not prove to be a successful venture for them.

Since the acquisition of Palm, HP came up with webOS-powered HP TouchPad, which went on to become one of the least purchased tablets in history.

HP TouchPad

A few of the TouchPads even got released with Android, although they also did not succeed. Soon afterward, HP discontinued its webOS-powered devices.

HP, Windows, and Android


On most of the PCs from HP and Compaq, what you see is the tagline “HP Recommends Windows”. There is a long-standing relationship between these companies. On the other hand, HP has no relationship with Android yet. Microsoft’s release of Surface tablet is generally regarded to be a competitive move that HP does not like.

However, that is probably only a general misconception. There are all kinds of OEMs releasing products with Windows OS—Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, and the list goes on. Microsoft releasing a product of its own is not going to hinder the growth of these companies, but it is going to strengthen the competition. HP, I believe, needn’t be worried about this and should come up with a Windows tablet PC that rocks in all aspects.

There is an important reason for that. Customer base of HP knows it as a vendor of Windows computers. If anybody is going for a Windows computer, one of the first companies they look for is HP. Android is a different platform that HP has no base in. It is sad that companies like Dell and HP missed out on Android platform early on, when companies like Samsung, HTC, and Sony were highly enthusiastic about moving into that platform.

When Android became successful and HP slowly realized a huge market there (a market that could eventually kill the PC market), it was too late for HP. Dell also realized this pretty late and came up with Streak, which also went pretty much unnoticed.

The problem with these companies is that they have a customer base that knows they are good with Windows. Android has a different customer base that knows which companies to buy from. It is extremely tough today for HP to intrude into Android world successfully.

A very good comparison can be found in this Google Insights chart that compares search interest between companies HP and Samsung among Windows and Android platforms.

Conclusion


HP has a great market with Windows devices, especially with the latest touch-enabled Windows 8 Pro edition that can run any Windows application on a touch device. Also, with BlueStacks, Windows 8 can run Android Apps. What HP has to do now is coming up with an extremely good Windows 8 Pro tablet that has the best configuration in the industry. The upcoming ElitePad just does not cut it. It does have potential of course, but I am worried it may become another TouchPad.

 
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