HP to bet big on Windows 8 tablets

HP is planning to bet big on Windows 8 tablets, prioritising business growth as analysts forecast a sales boom.

HP may not have had much financial success with its TouchPad last year, but the firm is intent on grabbing a larger share of the tablet market, particularly in the business space. 

With CEO Whitman indicating a widening of its product range to incorporate more mobile devices, including smartphones, HP is seeking to increase its range of hardware being sold through the newly formed Printing and Personal Systems (PPS) group.

“I would say it is one of the three big investments for the year,” Paul Hunter, Vice President, PPS, UK&I told TechEye at the firm’s Gold Partner event in London.  “We have got growth aspirations for next year, and Windows 8 tablet is big – I would probably put it at the top of the tree. It is the biggest point of customer engagement”.   

With the Windows 8 on the way there, Hunter believes there is an opportunity to sell more business focussed devices, telling us in no uncertain terms that the Microsoft infrastructure for corporate enterprise “is there to be competed for”.

Hunter added that he sees more growth in the number of devices owned per person: “They have got a laptop, they have got a tablet and they have got a phone, and there is not a huge amount of consolidation of that,” he said.  

“Five years ago  it was all about a single device, and whilst quite often the industry is talking about consolidation of devices, we actually haven’t seen that happen, what we are seeing is people with more devices,” Hunter said. “So the tablet is a big opportunity for us.”

Figures from International Data Corporation (IDC) forecast total tablet sales to all areas of the market are set to hit 117.1 million units this year, an upwards revision from 107.4 million. IDC expects 165.9 million units next year, and 261.4 million in 2016.

As sales increase, analyst Tom Mainelli at IDC says that there is “room in the market for others to find success”, with Windows and Android devices finally showing signs of challenging the iPad.

IDC predicts that Windows tablets, including Windows 7 and Windows 8, are expected to make a greater impact over the coming quarters, though they are expected to lag behind Android and iOS for some time. This will mean growth from one percent of the market in 2011, to four percent in 2012, eventually accounting for 11 percent of the market in 2016.  

Recent figures from Context showed that tablet sales are booming in business use as well as with consumers, though Apple reigns supreme in this area too.