HP is jumping back in the tablet game after a short-lived run with the webOS-based Touchpad as well as the Windows-based Slate. The HP ElitePad 900 is the company’s first Windows 8 tablet aimed at business users, offering the serviceability, security, and manageability that HP’s desktop “Elite” desktop PCs have, along a military-grade aluminum shell that protects it from drops, dust, temperature extremes and high altitude.
The tablet has a 10.1-inch, 1280 by 800 resolution display covered in Gorilla Glass, is 9.2 mm thick, and weighs 1.5 pounds. Inside is Intel's Atom Z2760 dual-core processor (Clover Trail) clocked at 1.8GHz, a solid 2GB of RAM and either 32GB or 64GB of flash storage. Connectivity features include 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC with a Secure Element, and an optional HP hs2350 HSPA+ mobile broadband chip.
HP has also thrown in the usual front (1080p) and rear (8MP) facing cameras as well as a battery that should last around ten hours on a single charge. Perhaps the biggest differentiator against the current crop of tablets, HP claims the ElitePad 900 can be easily disassembled to replace components like batteries, screens or motherboards, making it easy to service rather than having to replace the entire unit if something fails.
The device also supports a slew of optional accessories that will turn it into a “total enterprise solution.“ Among them is a Rugged Case for extra protection, a pen digitizer, a docking station with four USB, wired ethernet, VGA, HDMI, power, audio-out, and a Kensington lock hole, and lastly several Smart Jackets that fit nicely around the ElitePad 900 to protect it and add extra functionality, such as built in keyboards.
HP is promising general availability sometime in January of next year, but didn’t give any pricing details for the new tablet or its accessories. Atom-based tablets are expected to cost somewhere around $600 or more.
The HP TouchPad features a 9.7-inch, 1024 x 768 pixel, IPS display front and center, it has good color reproduction and viewing angles. It has a thick, nondescript bezel that surrounds the screen, within which is a home button and an embedded 1.3-megapixel camera. The home key is eerily reminiscent of the iPad's home button, though it is oblong in shape and has a glowing notification light built into it. Along the edge of the tablet are a power/sleep/unlock key, a volume rocker, a microphone, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a micro-USB charging/syncing port, and stereo "Beats" speakers.
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