HP Unveils Windows 7 PC Line-Up - InformationWeek

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HP Unveils Windows 7 PC Line-Up

HP's new desktops and laptops include multi-touch screens, tilting Webcams, and improved power management.

Among the businesses using the business TouchSmarts are: Compass Bank in Houston, which is using them with a "virtual loan officer" application; Mariott Nashville, which has 15 of them in its lobby and business center; a high-end wedding gown store in Boston that has an application that allows brides-to-be to virtually try on wedding gowns; and Sheraton. Some high-end resorts have also sought the business TouchSmarts for use in hotel rooms.

Though this year has been particularly hard on the business PC market thanks to the economy, HP believes next year will be different because of its expectation of rebounding budgets and the long lag time between upgrades at many companies. "We look at this as the year of the refresh," says desktop product marketing director Anneliese Olson.

HP is also announcing two new business notebooks, entry-level enterprise laptops called the ProBook 6545b and 6445b, which will be available in November, and the first of a new small business line called HP Elite, which will be available when Windows 7 is released to consumers on October 22nd.

The new ProBooks are the first PCs that that come with... a drain. The spill-resistant keyboard is coupled with a drain system that lets water seep out the bottom of the laptop without doing damage to the hardware.

The drain isn't the only new feature in the ProBooks. They also come with a new keypad design, a one-touch calculator button, and up to 8 hours of battery life with the optional 9-cell battery. According to HP, the new AMD chips on these ProBooks allow for 39% more battery life than previous iterations.

HP is also introducing the HP Power Assistant, which measures power usage directly from an on-board AC monitoring circuit and bases its power calculations on those measurements, on the ProBook series. It can tell users exactly how much battery time is left and even the amount of money that will be saved on power if a user changes his or her power settings. An administrative tool will ensure IT managers can see this data as well.

The HP Elite line is a new sub-brand for high-end small and medium-sized business desktops. It includes an Intel P55 chipset, requires graphics cards and is designed for a company without a big network, according to HP. The Elite, the ProBooks and the business TouchSmart are only the first of a series of new business PCs that will come out in the next four to five months, according to HP senior product marketing manager Bernadina Mickey.

HP also plans a new touchscreen interactive signage display, the LD4200tm. HP entered the interactive signage market, which consists of screens often used in retail and in corporate lobbies, earlier this year with 42-inch and 47-inch displays. The price for the LD4200tm, which uses infrared technology for its touch functionality, hasn't been set yet, though Kirk Godkin, North American manager for business desktop PCs, estimates that it will come in at around $1,999.

According to marketing director Olson, HP is refining its sales strategy around Compaq by clarifying that Compaq is the company's low-price, environmentally-friendly brand. It will continue to be targeted in the United States mostly toward consumers and small businesses. New are the AMD Sempron-based Compaq Presario CQ61 notebook, starting at $399.99, and the Compaq Presario CQ4010F desktop. Compaq is also offering two new desktops -- the 500B and 505B -- aimed at small and medium-sized businesses and starting at $359.

Other new features on HP's new line of PCs include Webcams that tilt with the use of a nob on the back of their screens, a new dock for business laptops, and a new easy-to-use proprietary HP laptop lock.

InformationWeek Analytics has prepared an in-depth report on Windows 7. Download it here (registration required).

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