‘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.

Next page: Touch is the tip of the release

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Touch is tip of the release

Amid the different product lines, the TouchSmart All-in-One system is
bound to get the most notice — and comparisons to Apple’s iPhone thanks to
similar touch features used to navigate and browse the Web without a mouse.

HP Touchscreen

HP’s Touch Screen

Source: HP

The comparisions to Apple are bound to stick, added Enderle. After all,
Todd Bradley, the executive vice president of the Personal Systems Group who
was brought in to re-charge the division and led the re-launch, is a former
Apple executive.

And although the products in the PC division may be the vision of Carly
Fiorina, the former HP CEO who engineered HP’s acquisition of Compaq but was
later ousted, it was current CEO Mark Hurd’s execution that made that vision
happen, Enderle added. “[Hurd] helped bring people on board, such as
Bradley, with an Apple pedigree and who can market products people find
compelling.”

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