HP Renews Emphasis On PC Design



In a market dominated by tablet PCs, smartphones and laptops, Hewlett-Packard is not giving up on the desktop PC.

In fact, HP is putting a little extra emphasis on this once leading category.

Randall Martin, HP’s chief design strategist, desktop PCs, said the company is placing a great deal of effort on product design along with research and development.

“We are not abandoning our bread-andbutter Pavilion towers. These are still a huge portion of the market,” he said.

For the first time in two years HP has refreshed the appearance of the three main chassis designs in its tower line.

Randall said his team takes a much different direction in designing desktops than his colleagues on the mobile computing side of the business.

“Personal electronics can have bold colors, people want to make a personal statement about themselves, but we want these [desktops] to compliment the home,” Randall said.

The guiding design principle for the 2011 refresh was “Refined, Elegant, Sophisticated” and the end result was a three-color design with either blue or red LED highlights. Like previous models the towers have pull-down doors to reveal USB and other ports and fold-out doors to expose the drives, Randall said.

The entry-level Pavilion p7 series, starting at $299, can come with either Intel or AMD processors.

The Slimline e5 series, with a $329 starting price, available on June 15, will also have Intel and AMD processor options.

The flagship Pavilion HPE h8 series is the workhorse of the new offerings. Consumers can configure it with either Intel or an AMD processor, NVIDIA or ATI graphics.

It will ship on May 18 with a $599 price tag.

Hewlett-Packard revamped the design on its Mini Note netbook line, while making incremental changes to its mainstream consumer models.

The Mini Note changes were mainly cosmetic. The battery is now fully flush with the lower portion of the device whereas before it bumped out quite a bit in the rear. In addition, a removable bottom panel has been added so users can easily upgrade the device.

The primary internal change was the addition of HP’s Beats audio enhancement software to the Mini line.

Pricing remains the same at $299 and the improved models will ship on June 15.

Upgrades to the mainstream line include an improved Simple- Pass app so users can easily sign into multiple online accounts using one password; an improved GUI for the device’s Coolsense auto-cooling feature that makes it simpler for users to set their preferences; and the inclusion of the Pavilion dvV4 into the U.S. market. These features are being added to the Pavilion dv4 and Envy 14 consumer laptops.

The revamped dv4 will ship on May 18 with a $599 suggested retail price and the Envy 14 will follow on June 15 with a $999 price tag.

On the commercial notebook side, HP added a new service feature called DataPass. This is a prepaid 3G mobile broadband service that allows owners of HP ProBook laptops with 3G capability to buy data packages. The four packages available start at $5 for 75MB of data that will last for five hours; 10 for 150MB or three days; $20 for 450MB or 14 days and $30 for 1GB or 30 days.

The user can reload as often as needed. HP is working with several carriers to supply the service, the company said. There is no timetable for moving this capability to HP’s consumer notebooks.


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