Apple, Asus, and Samsung, look out -- HP is again jumping into the tablet fray. (See also: Live: Microsoft LA press event - Windows 8 tablet launch.)
At a conference in Shanghai this week Hewlett-Packard executives have been touting the company's reentry into the tablet market, this time with models running Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system. That's according to the Bangkok Post, which quotes HP big shots who say the move capitalizes on the high numbers of consumers investing in tablets and the fact that Windows 8 will let them share and store content online between different devices.
This isn't HP's first foray into tablets. If you recall, last summer the company introduced the short-lived TouchPad but by the end of August was already clearing out inventory by drastically reducing the price of its webOS slate. By the end of the year HP announced it would release webOS to the open-source community, following its decision to stop making phones and tablets using the software.
But with Windows 8 on board, HP's new tablet will likely fare far better than the TouchPad did.
"The concept of a worthy Windows tablet has been a sort of Holy Grail since the launch of the Apple iPad. Windows 8, with its Metro interface, and compatibility with ARM architecture devices has established an expectation that Windows 8 tablets will fill the void Android tablets have been unable to, and provide some worthwhile competition for Apple -- especially in the business market," writes PCWorld's Tony Bradley.
He's right; it appears tablets are in growing demand by business users.
A recent survey by ChangeWave Research finds that nearly one-third of the companies expecting to buy tablets in the next few months are using them as replacements for PCs for at least some users. Not only that, the number of people using tablets for work is increasing, with 22 percent of the businesses surveyed expecting to buy a tablet soon.
Will the Windows 8 tablet put a dent in iPad sales? Clearly nobody is taking down Apple anytime soon, but if the price is right HP's new offering, which is expected in the third quarter of this year, could very well be a popular alternative. In the very least, the space is about to get a lot more interesting.