RealTime IT News

HP Mobile Product Blitz

UPDATED:* SAN FRANCISCO -- HP uses "Invent" as its slogan, but now the Silicon Valley computer giant wants to reinvent personal computing.

Looking to capitalize on what it sees as a new era of mobile personal computing, HP showed off new notebook models for businesses and consumers here today at its Mobility Summit.

The business notebook side is highlighted by what HP calls a corporate workhorse, the HP Compaq nc6400.

The thin and light notebook includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as a security filter that narrows the viewing angle so the screen view is restricted to the user.

Based on Intel's new Core Duo processor, the nc6400 has a 14.1-inch widescreen and a choice of modular broadband upgrades. List price is $1,549.

HP claimed leadership with the new Compaq nc2400, a one-inch-thick notebook that weighs in at a mere 2.8 pounds.

Unlike other ultra-mobile notebooks, the nc2400, with a 12.1-inch widescreen, has a full-size keyboard. The $1,599 unit reaches 3.2 pounds with the optional optical drive. Other options include a docking station and a choice of batteries offering three, six or nine hours of power.

With the sound of screeching brakes and running footsteps, the nc2400 was delivered onstage by a faux FedEx delivery person inside a standard, thinly padded FedEx letter package.

Nice stunt to underscore the unit's small size, though HP was quick to note they recommend users not ship the unit this way.

"This is the product road warriors have been asking for since the beginning of notebook computers," crowed Ted Clark, senior vice president and general manager of notebooks at HP.

Another new business notebook, the entry-level HP Compaq nx7400, features a 15.4-inch widescreen and Intel Core Duo processor starting at $749.

Locked in a dog fight with Dell, Toshiba and others in the competitive notebook market, Clark said HP's market-leading notebook business has been "smoking hot." Where the notebook market has grown 31 percent worldwide, HP claimed a 54 percent year-over-year growth.

HP is particularly strong on the consumer side where Clark said the company ships more notebooks than any company in the world, about 35,000 a day on average.

HP's new consumer models include a surface developed by Nissha film products. The so-called HP Imprint, with a distinct subtle pattern on different models, is a first by a major notebook maker. Cell phone makers and the auto industry have used similar surfacing.

Other distinct, consumer-friendly features in HP's notebooks include a latchless design and HP's QuickPlay, which lets consumers turn on the music or DVD player instantly without having to boot the notebook.

Some models also include an integrated Web cam.

HP is offering consumer notebook models based on either Intel's Centrino Duo or AMD's Turion 64 X2 mobile processors.

Creative Strategies analyst Tim Bajarin said HP is smart to innovate on the mobile side which is quickly eclipsing desktop PC sales.

"Mobile is about as personal as it gets in computing, where you can have all your stuff with you," Bajarin told internetnews.com. "And the way prices have dropped, where you can get a decent notebook for $599, it's truly become a mainstream market where it used to be more of a high-end purchase."

HP also showcased Orb Networks, which extends a user's mobile access to personal information, such as music, photo and video files.

However, it wasn't clear at press time how HP might offer the service. Orb Networks' CEO and co-founder Joe Costello gave a presentation of how his service can turn a mobile computer into a "personal broadcast system."

*Clarifies the use of Nissha film products on HP's Imprint.