Hewlett-Packard: Screen Gem
Can sprawling tech colossus Hewlett-Packardwhose offerings range from printers to high-end Unix serversproduce a handheld that's sexy and powerful enough to compete with specialists like Palm and Research in Motion?
You bet, say customers. They like the HP iPaq's high-resolution screen and touch-sensitive features, and its Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system, even if the handhelds aren't always the cheapest products in their class.
For Rich Schaeffer, CIO of St. Clair Hospital in Pittsburgh, the iPaq's "beautiful" screen and attachable bar-code scanner made it the right choice to help doctors and nurses avoid costly medical errors by improving accuracy of prescriptions.
The 331-bed hospital built a bar-code and radio frequency identification (RFID) scanning system using iPaqs, to track medications and other supplies. Tom Ague, the hospital's chief operating officer, estimates that the system prevents more than 5,000 medication errors each year, out of 1.3 million annual doses. That's helped put it in the top 5% of hospitals nationwide for patient safety outcomes, according to HealthGrades, an independent health-care rating company.
Says Schaeffer: "We're just scratching the surface."
At Dependable Highway Express, a Los Angeles transportation services company, about 300 drivers download their daily schedules using iPaqs before they start their deliveries, says systems administrator Julio Polanco.
At $800 with necessary peripherals, the iPaqs save the company more than $1,000 per device compared with some of the bulkier handhelds it has tried in the past, according to Polanco. "We looked at a lot of devices, and for the price, you couldn't beat it," he says.
Price didn't seal the deal for Crossmark's Clay Curtisbut it didn't break it, either. The CIO at the consumer packaged goods marketer bought 1,400 iPaqs to help roving customer service representatives communicate with headquarters.
Curtis valued the ability to link up to existing Microsoft systems more easily with the iPaq than by using a device with a proprietary operating system, since Windows Mobile uses applications that function similarly to its desktop cousin. That, he says, was more important than paying a little extra. "You can find cheaper device manufacturers," Curtis says. "From our perspective, supporting a device we were already familiar with kind of offset any cost difference with a different hardware supplier."
Hewlett-Packard Operating Results*
Total assets - $74.41B
Stockholders' equity - $35.81B
Cash and equivalents - $11.93B
Long-term debt - $2.42B
Shares outstanding - 2.82B
Market value, 4/20 - $95.63B
** As of Jan. 31, 2006, Except as Noted