HP's new fleet of pro laptops

Hewlett-Packard has unveiled a broad range of next-generation laptop PCs designed to be visually appealing yet rugged and secure enough for corporate or agency workers to take on the road.

At the top of the line is the HP EliteBook laptop PC, which incorporates the latest mobile technologies and meets multiple durability tests, including the Defense Department's Mil-Std 810F, HP officials said.

The EliteBook and a family of newly designed HP Compaq laptops are part of a large contingent of next-generation personal systems HP unveiled June 10 at the company's Connecting Your World event in Berlin.

As part of that announcement, the company introduced 17 consumer, business and luxury laptops ranging from the EliteBook to new ultramobile products bearing the Voodoo brand.

Additionally, HP unveiled the TouchSmart, a touch-enabled PC that lets users access photos, music, video, games, the Internet, TV and family calendars with the swipe of a finger.

The company also took the wraps off a new display co-developed by HP color scientists and DreamWorks animators that can bring more than 1 billion colors into view.

Although HP has had a presence in the PC market for years, the company is now focusing on areas such as industrial design, user interfaces and new technology to give users a more compelling computing experience, said David Roman, vice president of worldwide marketing communications at HP's Personal Systems Group.

But the HP EliteBook and HP Compaq business laptops designed with an emphasis on durability, functionality and security are the models that will most likely appeal to business and agency users.

'HP has significantly hardened its [laptop] line, making it more robust,' which should appeal to government users, said Rob Enderle, president of the information technology consulting firm Enderle Group.

HP dominated the business laptop market in the first quarter of 2008, according to Display- Search, a market research and consulting firm. HP remained in the top position in the laptop market for the seventh consecutive quarter, maintaining a lead of almost 2 million units over No. 2 Dell, according to DisplaySearch's Quarterly Laptop PC Shipment and Forecast Report.

The EliteBook and HP Compaq laptops feature the HP DuraCase, which incorporates features such as a brushed anodized-aluminum exterior combined with a magnesium alloy chassis for protection and scratch resistance.

HP QuickLook2 software provides access to e-mail, calendar, task and contact information within seconds at the touch of a button.

The HP SpareKey feature helps address the hassle of forgotten passwords by using a sequence of three predetermined personal identification questions to gain immediate entry into the system.

The HP business laptop lineup offers a choice of the latest processor technologies, including Advanced Micro Devices Turion 64 X2 Ultra dual-core mobile processors and the latest Intel Centrino 2 and Intel Centrino 2 with vPro Technology.

HP Mobile Broadband is incorporated in selected laptops. With Qualcomm's Gobi technology built in, HP laptops use a single module ' the HP un2400 ' to support multiple mobile broadband network technologies and operators.

Designed for the corporate road warrior, the EliteBook 6930p includes all-day battery life and business-rugged features. With a starting a weight of 4.7 pounds, the 6930p meets Mil-Std 810F for vibration, dust, humidity, altitude and high temperature.

The HP Compaq b-series, which sports a silver finish and magnesium alloy support structure, is targeted for mainstream business mobility.

The HP Compaq 6530b and 6535b are designed for professionals who commute, move around the office or travel occasionally, according to HP. The laptops support HP Mobile Broadband wireless technology and, with a 14.1-inch diagonal display, weigh in at 5.3 pounds.

The HP Compaq 6730b and 6735b are intended for business users who want a large, 15.4-inch diagonal widescreen display, enhanced security and more extensive connectivity with HP Mobile Broadband. They weigh 5.9 pounds.

The HP Compaq 6530s and 6535s are aimed at small businesses seeking an entry-level laptop for a dispersed workforce. The models come with a 14.1-inch diagonal widescreen display. Other models offer 15.4-inch and 17-inch displays.

All models are expected to be available in July. Prices range from $799 for the HP standard s-series to $1,179 for the HP EliteBook series.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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