"The next few months will provide a litmus test for whether Microsoft and partners, including HP, can successfully make the case for Windows 8 in the enterprise. Unfortunately, some other issues, including economic conditions, are likely to play wild card roles in the adoption of Windows 8 tablets and other devices," King said.
PC makers often test products before launch, but the ElitePad 900 testing program does seem a little large given that the hardware isn't cheap, said Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates.
"HP's customers are watching carefully for signs of unsteadiness after a number of mistakes and reversals. That having been said, HP doesn't face any greater hurdle than other hardware [makers] trying to popularize Windows 8 tablets," Kay said.
Windows 8 may end up being something just short of a disaster as consumers are confused by the positioning of Windows 8, which is a touch-based OS but can also be used with keyboard and mouse, Kay noted. Businesses are also always cautious with new operating systems, and it won't be any different with Windows 8, Kay said.
"That having been said, HP is aiming at corporate customers with the ElitePad 900, and some companies are looking at ways to deploy Windows tablets among highly mobile personnel. This is one of the few promising areas for Windows 8 deployment," Kay said.
The analysts agreed that HP will take a cautious approach to the market as it does not want to repeat past mistakes.
"The new tablet's options, including 32GB of extra storage for $50 and integrated broadband and GPS for $100, suggest HP understands that business users and use cases come in more than one size. It'll be interesting to see whether the customers and markets the ElitePad was designed for react as HP hopes," Pund-IT's King said.
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