Hewlett Packard Co. kicked off its participation in Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress today by announcing two new commercial tablets to its product portfolio.

The premium tablet and an update to last year’s ElitePad 900 release is the HP ElitePad 1000. It looks very similar to the previous ElitePad model, with a 10.1-inch screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio and an aluminum chassis. Its upgrades come under that chassis, with an upgraded Intel Atom quad-core processor, an improved graphics chip, and cellular connectivity with a LTE chip from Qualcomm.

 

HP-ElitePad-1000-webThere’s a new multitouch panel display, made of Corning Gorilla Glass 3, that’s more viewable outdoors and supports a higher resolution. The ElitePad 1000 comes loaded with a 64-bit version of Windows 8.1.

The HP ProPad 600 introduces a new line of tablets for SMB customers. Similar to the EliteBook and ProBook lines of HP laptops, the ProPad will offer a lot of the same functionality as the ElitePad at a lower price point. It still has an Intel Atom quad-core processor, the same 10.1-inch display running at 1920×1080 resolution, and offers up to 64 GB of internal storage plus a microSD card slot for external storage expansion.

HP-ProPad-600_webWhat’s not included in the ProPad is the aluminum chassis that allows the ElitePad to be serviced by an IT department with the right gear. Nor is the LTE connectivity available, or any of the expansion jackets that make the ElitePad 1000 more flexible.

HP offers three different jackets – cases that clasp on to the tablet to give it extra capabilities and protection:

  • The Productivity Jacket attaches a wired keyboard to the ElitePad and offers more ports such as USB and HDMI out.
  • The Expansion Jacket adds an extra battery and the USB and HDMI ports.
  • The Security Jacket comes in two versions: one that offers just smart card authentication, and another that offers smart card or biometric authentication via a fingerprint reader.

HP decided to stick with Windows 8.1 for its commercial line of tablets and finds the latest generation of Intel Atom processors support it well, says Derek Everett, director of worldwide product management for commercial Windows tablets at HP.

“What we’re finding is businesses who really standardize on Windows applications for most of their users really need to standardize on Windows-based tablets as well,” he says. “8.1 really does advance things in terms of the Windows operating system experience.”

HP didn’t consider using Windows RT on either of the new tablets, he says. “We just find that Windows RT has a few more limitations.”

HP says the ElitePad will be available in March starting at US$739. The HP ProPad will be available in April and pricing is not yet disclosed.

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