HP Shifts Focus On Compaq Brand

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New York - Hewlett-Packard today introduced its third-generation all-in-one TouchSmart PC and a revamped Compaq brand line.

The TouchSmart 300 and 600 will start shipping in the next several weeks along with the company's new consumer initiative surround the Compaq brand. In the U.S. market Compaq-branded products have been directed at the small and medium business market.

HP TouchSmart 600

HP's plan is to reinvigorate its Compaq brand as an entry-level consumer notebook and desktop line, said Steven Hoffman, director of worldwide marketing for HP's personal systems group. These include new products and a print and online ad campaign.

"We've been a quiet multibillion dollar brand for some time, but that is not what we want," Hoffman said.

The new effort is fronted by the CQ61z notebook and 4010f desktop computers. The notebook is priced at $399, after a $100 instant rebate, and the desktop is $309. Both will be available on Oct. 22.

These are targeted directly at budget-conscious families with children, Hoffman said. HP first introduced low-priced Compaq branded consumer products in India and Asia where a computer purchase is a major expenditure for a family. After selling well in those regions the company decided to bring out a similar line in the United States, particularly in light of the touch economic times.

The CQ61z has an AMD Turion processor, 160GB hard drive and 2GB of memory. The 4010f is a fixed SKU that cannot be upgraded. It uses a slimmed down chassis, uses an AMD Sempron processor and has a 500GB hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce graphics.

Hoffman said the new ad campaign will start in November. It will feature the tag line "Just Right Computing" and it is tied into the new industrial design logo, he said.

The TouchSmart 300 and 600 are centered on a 20-inch and 23-inch LCD, respectively and are loaded with HP's new touch software that allows greater manipulation of on-screen content. HP has also partnered with 20 third-party firms to develop versions of their software for the TouchSmart, these include Hulu, Rhapsody, Netflix and Twitter, said Mindy Fournier, HP's TouchSmart product manager.

Hardware improvements include a new swivel mount, an improved moveable Web cam and, on the 600, a Blu-ray drive option and the ability to attach to all the major game consoles to the computer. Fournier said the latter feature was one of the most requested by TouchSmart customers in an HP survey.

The TouchSmart 600 will ship Oct. 22 with a $1,049 suggested retail price and the 300 will follow on Nov. 1 at $899.


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