Hewlett-Packard’s computing division has been very indecisive as of late, so it should come as no surprise that the company is once again making some odd choices. This time, it’s the decision to opt out of Windows RT tablet and instead solely manufacture tablets running the traditional version of Windows 8.
This decision, the company claims, is based on customer feedback. “The robust and established ecosystem of [Intel-based Windows] applications provides the best customer experience at this time and in the immediate future,” said a company spokesperson.
This is actually true, from an application compatibility perspective. Windows 8 is based on Intel architecture, so it is fully compatible with legacy desktop applications like Office, Photoshop, etc. Windows RT, on the other hand, does not support desktop apps, encouraging the use of Microsoft’s new Metro-style apps on Windows 8 tablets. This might seem like a disadvantage, but ARM-based tablets which support Windows RT will have a longer battery life, faster performance, and do not require the use of fans to cool down the machine. In other words, they’re like an iPad or Android tablet, rather than your traditional tablet PC.
HP’s decision is both good and bad, depending on how you look at it. The optimal route, however, would be to sell both types of tablets. One aimed at consumers who want a true tablet experience and the other aimed at people who want the best of both worlds: full backwards compatibility in a tablet form factor. This is the route Microsoft chose to go with its Surface tablets. That’s not to say that HP won’t create a Windows RT tablet – the company just won’t have one right out of the gate.
[Paul Thurrott's Supersite for Windows]
Speaking at the Global Influencer Summit 2012, Hewlett-Packard (HP) CEO Meg Whitman revealed that the Palo Alto-based electronics manufacturer has once again started manufacturing tablets. However, unlike HP’s webOS TouchPads of old, this new line of devices will run Windows 8, which is scheduled for release this fall.
Former HP CEO Leo Apotheker discontinued HP’s tablets last August, in conjunction with what would have been the death of webOS. But his replacement, Meg Whitman, quickly reversed her predecessor’s decisions, reviving webOS as an open source platform and electing to keep the PC and tablet businesses around. Now, after more than six months of silence, HP is ready to start talking tablets again, claiming that a return to this form factor is a “strategic move aimed at capitalizing on the extraordinary growth in tablet sales.”
The next generation of HP tablets will all run the upcoming Windows 8 operating system, rather than webOS. But it’s unclear if the company is referring to the traditional x86/x64-based version of Microsoft’s Metro-style OS, or the one designed specifically for ARM chips known as “Windows RT.” HP also claims that its upcoming tablets will support the sharing and storing of content via cloud storage, a feature that sounds very similar to what Windows 8 already supports.
HP announced on Thursday that it is not going to sell, spin off, or dissolve its PC division, known internally as the Personal Systems Group (PSG). This decision comes straight from newly-appointed HP CEO Meg Whitman, who took over for former CEO Léo Apotheker.
Apotheker surprised the industry in late August when he revealed that HP was discontinuing its line of webOS devices and solely looking to license the OS. This news was revealed alongside the statement that HP would be looking into how it would handle the future of the PSG.
According to Whitman, HP “needs to be in the tablet business.” That, however, does not mean those devices will be running webOS. The TouchPad line will not continue with webOS, as HP hasn’t yet decided what to do with operating system. Instead, HP plans to turn its focus toward Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8, which is being optimized for tablets and other touch screen devices.
Having spent some time with the Windows 8 developer preview, we can safely say that Windows 8 is shaping up to be an excellent tablet OS. Windows 8 tablets probably won’t be in stores until at least mid-to-late 2012, but they will be a major improvement over the current Windows 7 tablets.
We’re glad to hear that HP is sticking with its PCs and tablets, and we can’t wait to see what the company has in store.
[eWeek via Pocketables]