HP hybrid notebook-tablet, tablet and ultrathin out October

Speaking at Canalys’ Channel Forum 2012, Barcelona, HP’s Eric Cador, senior VP Printing and Personal Systems, said that three flagship devices will launch the end of October – a tablet, an ultra-slim notebook, and a hybrid notebook-tablet.

The touch-based notebook’s screen is an 11 inch tablet as well that unclips from the computer. As well as running Windows 8, the device will be able to run old legacy environments too, clearly focusing on the enterprise market. “This is what we are going to be pushing and pushing hard,” Cador said. The first commercially optimised tablet will also launch at the end of the month. 

“The tablet is like a PC, it is just a different form factor,” he said. HP is also including a ‘jacket’ which clips on to the tablet, provides legacy ports, and also, Cador claimed, doubles battery life. For this, HP will be giving APIs to OEMs who want to work on vertical products, who will be able to design their own jackets. 

He insisted that HP is ultimately a product company. “This industry is about product,” Cador said. “Growth has slowed because innovation, including instant-on – these are things the end users are not ready to compromise”. 

As for Windows 8, Cador said: “I mentioned Windows 8 but I didn’t mention it much because what is important is the product – consumers buy the product, they don’t buy the OS”.

“In three weeks we’re going to create three new devices, three new form factors, three new ways of working, it’s consistent: one single message for the CIOs, one single message for customers, and one single service environment to support,” Cador said. 

Although Cador promised that HP will be “changing the rules of the game” this month, we would make a small bet that some board members and execs are biting their nails. Product success will depend somewhat on the reception to Windows 8, not to mention the simple fact that many consumers around the world are just not spending, thanks to a shakey economic environment. 

This is likely just part of Whitman’s radical plan to cut costs and remodel the company after its troubled time under the rule of Apotheker, whose main line was: HP should NOT be a product company.