While HP has remained tight-lipped about its upcoming Windows 8 tablet plans, the company recently admitted to CRN that the device will feature "unique" intellectual property. John Solomon, senior vice president of Americas sales for HP's printing and personal systems division, said that additional details will be revealed "pretty soon."
"Other OEMs will be doing tablets, but the HP tablet is going to be different: It's going to have a specific area of focus, or multiple areas of focus, which will require a high degree of channel engagement to take full advantage of the opportunity," Solomon told CRN.
HP's last tablet attempt was the TouchPad, powered by Palm's webOS software. It was launched on July 1, 2011, but was discontinued just 49 days later due to extremely poor sales. Th company thus decided to discontinue producing hardware based on webOS, and is currently making the software an open-source platform.
Naturally HP is being a little hush-hush about this second tablet attempt save for indications that the device will be tailor-made for the tablet channel, targeting vertical markets. Like all other tablet makers, HP will be going after Apple's iPad, only this time the company will be backed by Microsoft's new touchy-blocky Windows 8 platform.
Understanding the possible TouchPad-sparked hesitation by distributors, Solomon told CRN that HP is giving partners 60-day financing for tablets and other products under a recently launched program. This program also includes the participation of Wells Fargo, GE Capital, IBM and De Lage Landen.
"Essentially, we're helping pay the interest cost for partners and making sure cash flow is not an inhibitor for them growing," Solomon said. "This is something we haven't done in the past, and we think of it as proof of what we're doing to re-ignite the channel."
Solomon also backed Microsoft's need to produce the Surface tablets, saying that the move isn’t a competitive threat. "I believe Microsoft was basically making a leadership statement and showing what's possible in the tablet space," Solomon added. "Our relationship has not changed at all due to Microsoft's announcement. In fact, I applaud it -- I think it's great that they are getting out in front and [showing] what's possible."
He also said the Surface keyboard will be great for occasional use, but professionals will want something better that's capable of everyday use. To read the full interview, head here.