When Microsoft was gearing up to release its Surface tablet, there was a lot of talk about the move possibly alienating the company's hardware partners. Fast-forward a few weeks after the Surface's release, and HP, the world's biggest PC vendor, doesn't seem to feel alienated. In fact, in a recent interview with CiteWorld, HP PC chief Todd Bradley stated outright that the Surface simply isn't as big a deal as everyone is making it out to be.
"I'd hardly call Surface competition," Bradley told the site. When asked why, he responded with the following:
One, very limited distribution. It tends to be slow and a little kludgey as you use it. I just don't think it's competitive. It's expensive. Holistically, the press has made a bigger deal out of Surface than what the world has chosen to believe. If you want to go to any of the 30 Microsoft Stores in the United States to buy one, I think you should probably do that.
Bradley should know about kludgey, uncompetitive tablets—he headed the business responsible for the ill-fated HP TouchPad. Unsurprisingly, he sounds very cautious about HP's potential re-entry into that space. Here's what he told CiteWorld about the subject:
We're not entering the consumer tablet fray any time soon. We'll be doing something next year, you won't see a consumer tablet from HP before Christmas. You'll see convertibles that are focused on how you use the device, keyboard, clamshell. . . . Whether we go into tablets – there's a whole litany of ARM-based Android, ARM-based Microsoft, there's quite a grid. We'll be judicious about how we deploy against application availability in the enterprise, consumerization, and price points, there's a whole host of things we'll look at.
This year, the closest thing HP will have to a consumer tablet may be the Envy x2, an Intel-powered convertible with a $849.99 price tag. Last we heard, the Envy x2 was supposed to start shipping yesterday. However, the official product page for the device now states, "In stores December, 2012."