HP drives local Tablet PC market

HP is leading the pack with its TC 1100 model, which boasts a Transmitter processor, nearly six hours of battery life, 60 Gbyte hard drive, 512 Mbytes of memory and a DVD drive.

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By  Greg Wilson Published  October 18, 2003

Although the Tablet PC business has gotten off to a slow start in the Middle East, vendors are gearing up to meet increasing demand.

Most of the hardware vendors are showcasing the latest iterations of their Tablet PCs on their stands. HP is leading the pack with its TC 1100 model, which boasts a Transmitter processor, nearly six hours of battery life, 60 Gbyte hard drive, 512 Mbytes of memory and a DVD drive.

“More customers are after the benefits that Tablet PCs have to offer — namely, longer battery life, wireless connectivity and greater mobility,” says Christoph Schell, general manager, personal systems group (PSG), HP Middle East.

“There is definitely an upside potential in terms of volume, but we are selling more units. Tablet PCs open a whole range of opportunities in terms of vertical applications used in specific industries,” he adds.

According to Schell, HP has won a number of vertical accounts in the region with its Tablet PCs. In particular, the healthcare industry is embracing the new form factor. “Doctors are using [Tablet PCs] to access the database and update patient records online. We are also piloting Tablet PCs with an airline in the region and an oil & gas company,” he says.

However, there is still an educational curve to be negotiated before Tablet PCs become the de-facto form factor for mobile computing. There will also be a time lag as people get used to the new form factor. “It took me about six months toget used to writing with the stylus,” says Schell.

Initial Tablet PCs sales have been part of a larger deals that usually involve the supporting infrastructure. “It is our ability to sell the entire mobile solution that makes it very interesting,” says Schell.

Going forward, it is likely that there will be some sort of convergence between notebooks and Tablet PCs. “It is likely that notebooks will carry some sort of hand writing support,” predicts Schell.
For the time being the price difference between notebooks and Tablet PCs will ensure that laptops remain the dominant mobile computing device. For example, punters are able to pick up notebooks for as little US$900 at shopper, while a Tablet PC will be anywhere between US$1700 to $1900.

“Tablet PCs are almost twice as much as notebooks,” adds Schell. D3-1

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