x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

HP hopes 'smart jacket' tablet is suitable fit for Middle East

HP plans to gain 10 per cent of Middle East business tablet market.

Hewlett-Packard is banking on Middle East business customers for the success of its new enterprise-focused tablet, the ElitePad 900.

The tablet, which runs the Windows 8 operating system, was launched worldwide in January with Emirates Airline, its first global customer.

"We are still in the first three months of deployment, but the customer base is growing exponentially. Right now we have about 25 to 30 big customers in the Middle East testing the product," said Mahmoud Ibrahim Sofrata, the sales manager of corporate, enterprise and public sector of printing and personal systems group at HP Middle East.

"It is very possible we can grow this 100 per cent quarter on quarter."

The ElitePad900 is fitted with a "smart jacket" tailored to the specific needs of the client.

These jackets add longer battery life and connectivity options. Emirates is using the tablets on flights for the airline's knowledge-driven in-flight service, a communication and customer relationship management system used by the pursers to increase efficiency.

"Clearly this is a product we are positioning as a business product," said Salim Ziade, the general manager of printing and personal systems at HP Middle East. "We hope to get 10 per cent of the Middle East business tablet market."

Much of this growth is expected to come from the GCC.

"The region is very significant. We were leading in terms of number of units shipped. It is driven mainly by the GCC. We see a lot of shipment to the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia," said Mr Sofrata. "There is a lot of interest and investment from the education, healthcare and security sectors."

HP is confident it can capture a large market share of the enterprise sector as most companies use Microsoft products.

"There is a huge amount of pent-up demand by business customers for such a device," said Kyle Thornton, a business development manager at HP. "Most enterprise customers operate in a Windows IT environment and cannot hoard over to [Apple's] iOS or [Google's] Android platforms."