The major vendors have been doing the rounds out here in sunny California, gearing up a series of product launches to go hand-in-hand with Windows 8's launch later this month. Particularly interesting is the way Intel's hardware and initiatives have been working hand in hand with Microsoft's own design edicts with Windows 8; what we've seen behind closed doors isn't just a refresh for a new Windows, it's a sea change in the way interfaces and hardware are being designed for the future.

We've seen a few tablets, but today HP is announcing their ElitePad 900. Covering these events has been mildly frustrating because so many designs have been based on Intel's Clovertrail Atom SoC, and all I've been able to hear or mention has been "next generation Atom" or "Clovertrail." That's not much to go on when you're looking at x86-capable tablets running full Windows 8 (albeit 32-bit) in form factors that are mostly competitive with existing Android-based tablets.

Now that we know more about the Intel Atom Z2760, though, the details come into focus. HP's ElitePad 900 is a 10.1" tablet sporting a 1280x800-resolution IPS display in a 1.5-pound chassis, and it measures a slight 9.2mm thick. The marginal resolution is underwhelming in the wake of high-resolution Android tablets (let alone the staggeringly high resolution of the current generation Apple iPad), but the fact that it's running an x86 processor (the aforementioned Atom Z2760) along with full-fledged Windows 8 makes it worthy of attention.

HP's ElitePad 900 also features an NFC radio, 802.11a/b/g/n (2x2) and Bluetooth 4.0, and even supports a mobile broadband module and GPS. It includes 2GB of memory (presumably LPDDR2) along with up to 64GB of storage in an eMMC SSD. The battery is a 2-cell, 25 WHr polymer battery.

Where HP is breaking from the pack is in their "Smart Jacket" system, though. A Smart Jacket is essentially a peripheral you can dock the ElitePad 900 into, and jackets that were demonstrated included one that adds additional expansion ports and potentially more battery life (the Expansion Jacket) as well as one that turns it into a netbook proper (the Productivity Jacket).

This announcement is a bit of an early one, though. While the ElitePad 900 was being demonstrated, it's not geared for launch until around January 2013. Pricing has yet to be announced as well. If HP can come through and really work the Smart Jacket concept without burying it in overpriced peripherals, though, they may have a killer angle for their enterprise-geared tablet.

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  • dagamer34 - Monday, October 1, 2012 - link

    HP is so cheap, they couldn't even spring for the 1366x768 panel to allow snapping of Metro apps to the side. WTF?
  • jeremyshaw - Monday, October 1, 2012 - link

    Also, why not a 1440x900 panel, mantaining a better (IMO) 16:10 ratio, while giving more than ample room for metro snapping. The ipad has a 2048x1536 panel. With nearly full sRGB and IPS. Pretty much all other top tier android tablets are running 1920x1*** at this point, and most on a variant of IPS, too. There is no excuse for cheaping out on the panel (whatever marketing or engineering excuse there is... is irrelevent, given the established competition has much better panels in numbers, already).
  • fteoath64 - Monday, October 1, 2012 - link

    Well said. 1440 X 900 would really make it stand out even though it is on the low-end of the Win8 Tablets compared to the Pro tablet which sports 1920X1080 resolutions. The area difference between 1280X800 vs 1366X768 is not as great as 1440X900 compared to 1280X800. Yeah, more Metro snapping just a notch below the Pro resolution making it a small step over the standard Android 10 incher!.
  • andykins - Monday, October 1, 2012 - link

    Perhaps the GPU and/or drivers of said GPU are terrible and can't handle high resolution displays. That'd be my guess anyway.
  • B3an - Monday, October 1, 2012 - link

    No. It has a Intel Z2760 SoC and theres loads of other tablets with this that run at higher res. And this is 2012, pretty much anything can do 1366x768 no problem. This is just HP being their using shitty self. I'm glad MS made the Surface being as so many PC makers are totally incapable of making anything good.
  • EnzoFX - Monday, October 1, 2012 - link

    I think he said 1366x768 because that's the res MS supports. IIRC their control is gonna be tight. Their support for the snapping may be restricted to the res they specify? I'm sort of piecing together from things I've barely skimmed lol. I could be wrong.
  • Spivonious - Monday, October 1, 2012 - link

    You need at least 1366 pixels horizontally to snap. That is the only requirement.

    The 1280x800 panel on this tablet makes absolutely no sense.
  • lilmoe - Monday, October 1, 2012 - link

    I bet those Clover Trail SoCs cannot handle that high of a resolution and maintain fluid performance. We might see those high resolution Atom tablets when Saltwell core Atoms (with Intel 2500/4000 iGPU) are ready to ship.

    Microsoft is having a tight hand on ARM and x86 tablets, they want the experience to be fast and fluid without any hiccups or problems. It's a good start. But I do agree, 1366x768 should make more sense for clarity and Windows 8 functionality. Don't know why HP chose that resolution.

    For now, higher resolutions can only be found on IvyBridge based Windows 8 Pro tablets (like Surface Pro). At least that's the plan for launch later next month and early 2013.
  • Penti - Monday, October 1, 2012 - link

    Shouldn't be much difference between 1366x768/1280x800 and 1440x900 here. The devices support 1080 output over HDMI. Windows desktop aren't exactly hard to drive, Metro has virtually no effects of any kind so. This is btw a Windows 8 Pro 2013 release unit. IvyBridge supports resolutions above 1920x1200 though. Not like it's a good fit for Windows to have higher in that size though. Although it is supported. GPU/drivers can always rescale stuff like games. Stuff needs to work nicely in the desktop also though, here the desktop and Metro will scale in to different ways kinda. Basically the scaling in Metro is 100%, 140% or 180%. The default scaling in the desktop doesn't match this.
  • ssj4Gogeta - Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - link

    1366*768 has only 2.45% more pixels than 1280*800. Besides, any GPU these days can handle that res just fine for the desktop.

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