During this year's Mobile World Conference (MWC) in Barcelona, Hewlett-Packard (HP) unveiled new Windows-based business tablets that cater to on-the-move small businesses. The company also showed off a new point-of-sale (POS) solution that can help make lining up at the cashier a thing of the past and let small businesses get up close and personal with their customers.
The company's offerings include an updated HP ElitePad 1000 with a quad-core 64-bit Intel Atom Z3795 processor that runs at 1.6 GHz (2.39 GHz burst). Available in March, with a starting price of $739, the new ElitePad 1000 G2 features a brighter, 10.1-inch WUXGA touchscreen.
Among the Windows 8.1 tablet's business-friendly features are HP BIOS with HP SureStart, a hardware security solution that hardens the BIOS, preventing sophisticated attempts at compromising the system and nabbing sensitive data. It also features drive encryption and secure NFC.
While thin and light—"one of the thinnest tablets in industry" at 9.2mm thick and weighing 1.38 pounds, according to the company—the ElitePad 1000 G2 can take a few knocks in a crowded travel bag or on a bustling shop floor. The tablet was designed to survive MIL-STD spec 810G testing and features an aluminum uni-body chassis.
HP ProPad Business Tablet and POS
Also new is the ProPad 600 G1, a 10.1-inch tablet that ships with Windows 8.1 and Office. Like the 1000, it features a durable WUXGA display (1920 x 1200) fronted by Corning Gorilla Glass.
The ProPad 600 G1 provides 64 GB internal storage, which users can bump up to 2 TB with an optional SDXC storage card. Processor options include the 64-bit, 1.6 GHz (2.39 GHz burst) quad-core Intel Atom Z3795 or the 32-bit 1.46 GHz (2.39 GHz burst) quad-core Atom Z3775. A micro-HDMI port lets you output video to a computer monitor or HDTV. Miracast support enables wireless screen sharing on compatible displays.
HP's ProPad 600 G1 can also pull double duty as a point-of-sale terminal. As part of the company's tablet accessory line, the HP TX1 provides practically everything a small business retailer or hospitality provider needs to complete a transaction.
The HP TX1 is a tablet dock, of sorts, that tilts the ProPad 600 to capture customer signatures. The solution includes a receipt printer, cash drawer and a USB hub. Customers can complete the package with an optional barcode scanner. When sales opportunities wander away from the customer service area, associates can pop off the ProPad and bring the cash register to prospective customers.
This capability allows small businesses to create "line-busting situations," a retailing trend that's catching on with successful customer-centric organizations, said Derek Everett, senior director of product management at HP. He added that his company sells a wide range of accessories, including a line of productivity- and security-enhancing Smart Jackets, because "there's no one-size-fits all for tablets for specific use cases."
In a statement, Ray Carlin, vice president and general manager of retail solutions for HP, said "Our tablet-based point-of-sale solution gives today's retailers the essential tools they need to gain a competitive edge."
The ProPad 600 G1 goes on sale in April and the HP TX1 is expected to ship in May.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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