Todd Bradley (opens in new tab), the executive vice president of HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, recently said that Microsoft's self-produced Surface tablet isn't competition.
Outside Acer executives who were publicly vocal about the company's opposition against the Surface launch, Bradley's own views aren't surprising, as most Windows 8 partners have either welcomed Microsoft's hardware entry, or shrugged it off just as Bradley has done. But his personal view of the tablet is a little surprising.
"I'd hardly call Surface competition," Bradley said in an interview with IDG Enterprise. "One, very limited distribution. It tends to be slow and a little kludgey as you use it .... It's expensive. Holistically, the press has made a bigger deal out of Surface than what the world has chosen to believe."
Ouch. He goes on to report that HP doesn't plan to enter the consumer tablet market any time in the immediate future. HP will likely enter this space sometime next year, but consumers shouldn't expect to get their hands on anything until just before Christmas 2013. Even more, expect the company to move away from the traditional tablet form factor and focus on convertibles.
"Whether we go into tablets – there's a whole litany of ARM-based Android, ARM-based Microsoft, there's quite a grid," he said. "We'll be judicious about how we deploy against application availability in the enterprise, consumerization, and price points."
In the meantime, HP is focusing its tablet vision on the enterprise sector. "The Elite Pad is built for the enterprise; it's built on a 16:10 aspect ratio screen so you can view a whole page as opposed to format through a page," he said. "It's focused on backward compatibility of applications, it's focused on the ability to open it and service it, as opposed to return it."
In his interview with CiteWorld, he also talked about HP jumping back into the smartphone sector, acknowledging that it's exceptionally challenging here in North America.
"We have to be in the personal devices business, the personal systems business. There are a number of ways of how are you going to be in the phone business, whether we partner or build, none of that stuff we've decided about," he said.