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At HP’s press event for the ElitePad 900 last week in Dubai, I had a chance to sit down and chat with Kyle Thornton, Business Development Manager and the man who helped design the ElitePad 900. We sat down to find out more about this new enterprise tablet, and what makes it different from tablets already on the market.

How quickly do you think companies have been to the idea of adapting tablets into their current I.T infrastructure?
It depends on the organization, but as I mentioned earlier there’s been a tremendous pent up demand for a tablet device, and quite honestly it’s been generated obviously by the consumer side. We have very elegant devices such as the HP ElitePad and we have good collaboration and partnerships with Intel, who developed a very power-managed processor, so all those pieces come together at once makes it very conducive for enterprise customers. I think the ElitePad in itself is probably the most elegant and innovative business tablet around.

Where exactly in the enterprise will the tablet best serve its purpose; do you think it’s mostly for CEOs or with say the I.T department?
We find that maybe the CxOs are the first ones to bring in leading edge technologies and create internal envy for these types of devices, but vertical vustomers, believe it or not, have always been very open to tablet devices coming back. Healthcare is a  good example of a vertical that latched onto tablet devices long time ago, and much earlier than before tablets became fashionable. So they were using tablets in field, so were sales people, sport automation, and field force automation. So many within the enterprise environment, from the CxOs all the way down to the field technician, there’s very good usage models for it. More enterprise customers want to become more mobile and tablets lend themselves to provide the highest level of mobility than any other type of device.

Since the ElitePad runs Windows 8, how open do you think companies have been to adopting Windows 8 into their enterprise?
From a Windows 8 Adoption, they would be cautious. Enterprises has always been conscious when new OSes were announced, but they are trying to pick the right platform to innovate Windows 8 on. Tablet and convertible tablets and other devices such as the HP Elitebook Revolve have taught many enterprise customers that those type of devices will be the first ones within their environment to be paired with Windows 8. So they are going to hold off maybe on notebooks and desktops but tablets and convertible tablet PCs will be a much better fit for that.

Very simply, why design a tablet for the enterprise environment when a consumer tablet that’s already available now can be adopted or changed to fit into the enterprise environment?
Enterprise customers or an enterprise tablet is actually a super set of all the tablet requirements. No one is tougher from a requirements perspective than enterprise customers, whether they need long life cycles, long batter life, highest level of durability, manageability, security, all of these things. If we develop it to meet enterprise customer’s requirements then many consumers should have no issues with using that product compared to something that’s already available in the market.

Is HP Offering any custom solutions to companies such as telling them a little bit more information about their ElitePad, training up I.T or any other kind of solution?
We have various one on one conversations of course, and Emirates Airlines is a very good example where we engaged back last July/August and Kevin Griffiths started talking with the HP team in Dubai. It was a part of collaboration that went on between Emirates Airlines, Microsoft and HP and so we worked closely with them. We do that with a lot of other enterprise customers as well. Again, that’s expected in the enterprise environment where there is a lot of collaboration with enterprise customers. Some of it could be very difficult or complex solutions that we try to provide or it could be very confidential projects that they’re working on and we respect that.

Do you ever envision a time when all the work in the offices are done on tablets and PCs are a distant memory?
That’s a hard question to answer because right now tablets are what a lot of people are talking about. I think we will see a lot of variance in tablets, so more powerful tablets, bigger and/or smaller, you name it. But one of the good things about people is that one size won’t fit all the needs, so I still believe that there will be the necessity of traditional notebooks as well as desktops.

Where do you think Tablets, either in form factor or functionality, will go into in the next ten years?
I think there will be new types of form factors coming to market and, I’m just projecting and don’t know, but we talk about fordable displays, or let’s say smart watches and what not. So I think there is going to be a lot of different form factors coming to the market and I don’t know if devices will necessarily get thinner, lighter or more powerful; I think they will or they could just transform into different form factors like portable displays or something more.

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A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys playing videogames during work hours and tinkering with the latest gadgets.

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