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'Touch' Is the Tip of HP's Product Refresh

So much for the pundits who said Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) should just sell off its PC lines.

The systems vendor decided to go a different sales route and undertake a major refresh of its product lines today. The launch is earning kudos from analysts and industry observers alike who praised the products' sleek design and nifty features.

The refresh, which executives called the largest in HP's history, includes new business laptops that rival its consumer notebook lines for design and features, more offerings for its home media center, a big push into touch-screen computing and customized, pimped-out high-end gaming with HP's Voodoo luxury PC lines.

HP also took the wraps off a billion-color LED display that is bound to get the attention of rivals.

In all, HP lifted the curtain on 17 new products, and 16 new notebooks that span its value-driven Compaq brand and go all the way through to its premium HP lines.

Industry analyst Rob Enderle gave the latest releases kudos in two key vectors: security and reliability. "The design is a big move now for business product lines, and these are clean and elegant," he told InternetNews.com. On top of that, he said HP has added extra protection for the hard drives and other security features in the business laptops that deserve notice.

The 10 new notebooks unveiled at HP's "Connecting Your World" event in Berlin include the all-new HP EliteBook premium series, which features a liquid-metallic HP Imprint 2 surface design. Company executives said the aircraft-inspired HP EliteBook is one of 10 additions to the company's business notebook portfolio.

HP Elitebook
HP's Elitebook
Source: HP

The HP notebook lineup gives users a choice of processors: AMD's Turion 64 X2 Ultra Dual-Core Mbile Processors, or Intel's Centrino 2 and Intel Centrino 2 with vPro technology.

HP is notorious for laptops that are slow to boot up, but executives told InternetNews.com that the extra time is often due to the security features built into all HP laptops. In the latest lines, HP is answering that slow-boot gripe with its "QuickLook2 software." The feature provides a user with a snapshot view of e-mail, calendar, task and contact information within about 10 seconds of pushing a button.

Other features include an encrypted hard drive and a built-in camera that users can use to scan business cards with all the pertinent fields pulled into their contact database. (More details on the laptops are listed on HP's Web site.)

HP's other lines such as its "b" series, offers a similar slick silver finish and magnesium alloy support structure.

Executives said the b-series notebooks include features such as the File Sanitizer, which can be used to permanently delete individual files, folders and personally identifiable information from the notebook. HP's s-series notebooks feature 3D DriveGuard, which uses a three-axis accelerometer to detect sudden movement and helps protect the hard drive if the laptop is bumped or dropped.

HP said the notebooks are expected to be available by late July. Prices range from $799 for the HP standard "s"-series product to $1,179 for the HP EliteBook series.

HP also unveiled what it calls a breakthrough display co-developed by HP color scientists and DreamWorks Animation animators that can bring more than 1 billion colors into view.

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