HP Ultra-Thin Business Notebooks Use Intel Core M - InformationWeek

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12/2/2014
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HP Ultra-Thin Business Notebooks Use Intel Core M

Billed as the thinnest and lightest notebook for business, HP's new EliteBook Folio 1020 is slimmer than Apple's MacBook Air.

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HP on Tuesday introduced the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 family of notebooks, which it claims are the world's thinnest and lightest models designed for business users. Powered by Intel's new power-efficient Core M processors, the EliteBooks are only 15.7mm thick, offer a 12.5-inch display, and feature a fanless design for near-silent operation.

HP announced two versions of the EliteBook Folio 1020: a standard model that weighs 2.6 pounds and a Special Edition that weighs only 2.2 pounds, thanks to a proprietary blend of magnesium-lithium alloy and carbon fiber materials. For comparison, Apple's MacBook Air is just over 17mm thick and weighs either 2.38 pounds or 2.96 pounds, depending on display size.

The standard version will be available in February, but HP doesn't plan to release the Special Edition until April. The company hasn't yet disclosed pricing.

[Is the tide finally turning for Windows 8/8.1? Read Microsoft Windows 8.1 Rises As Win XP Plummets.]

Announced in conjunction with HP's Discover conference in Barcelona, the Folio 1020 line offers up to nine hours of battery life and is built to satisfy military-grade MIL-STD 810g testing for shock resistance, its ability to survive drops, and its ability to withstand extreme temperatures, humidity, or air pressure. The basic model can be configured with either an HD or Quad HD display, in both touch and non-touch varieties. The Special Edition comes with a Quad HD screen by default.

The standard version comes with 128 GB of SSD storage, while the base Special Edition bumps that up to 180 GB. Both versions include a 720p webcam, and both can also be configured with either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

HP Elitebook Folio 1020
HP Elitebook Folio 1020

Though HP's new notebooks won't be available until 2015, other Core M devices, such as Lenovo's Yoga 3, have begun to hit the market. Some reviewers have praised the Yoga 3 for its mixture of portability and utility, but others have questioned whether Intel's new chips provide enough power. In an interview, HP director of product management for business notebooks John Groden said Core M is up to most tasks.

Groden said HP's new notebooks are designed for mobile professionals and traveling executives, not for advanced mathematical modeling or other computationally intense applications. He added that for common tasks that on-the-go professionals face -- such as email, spreadsheets, and PowerPoint -- the Folio 1020s won't hit any performance walls.

In addition to new chips, the EliteBooks also feature an improved keyboard designed to provide better key travel and pressure distribution than those found on other ultra-thin laptops. HP's customers have complained today's sleek keyboards are too "mushy and squishy," said Groden.

The Folio 1020s also come with front-facing speakers designed to block background noise so users can run Skype, Lync, and other collaboration tools more effectively. HP also offers the new notebooks with its suite of manageability and security products, which range from fingerprint readers to an "always-on" capability like those in many smartphones and tablets that will let IT administrators remotely wipe a lost or stolen device.

In addition to announcing the EliteBook Folio 1020 series, HP also refreshed its existing line of EliteBook notebooks and convertibles. Enhancements include the latest-generation Intel chips, the same noise-cancelling speakers introduced in the Folio 1020s, and updated, pre-installed management and security software for IT admins.

During the most recent quarter, HP ranked second in global PC shipments behind Lenovo, according to research firm IDC. Analysts don't expect the PC market to improve in 2015, however, and HP will face additional short-term complications as it attempts to split into two companies: HP Inc., which will focus on PCs and printers, and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, which will compete in the infrastructure, software, and services markets against companies such as Cisco and IBM.

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Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

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danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
12/3/2014 | 4:55:09 PM
Re: For ultra thin, you can never be too rich....
I think it's great that laptop makers are creating lightweight devices. However, I do like a balance between form and function.

That's probably why I'll still with the MacBook Pros – they are not as lightweight as the MacBook Airs, but they do have some good horsepower. 
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
12/3/2014 | 4:10:50 PM
Re: Pricing?
I'm surprised Microsoft gets away with selling the Surface Pro 3 keyboard cover as a separate $120 accessory. It's what pushes the Surface Pro into a price range ($1,000+) that turns people off. Given that the SP3 screen is 12 inches and really too big to handle as a keyboard-free "tablet" (unless you're a giant) is the detacheable keyboard cover even an advantage? You'll probably never take it off. I know that with my Surface Pro the keyboard cover stays snapped on 90% of the time.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
12/3/2014 | 1:01:17 PM
Re: For ultra thin, you can never be too rich....
Good question, Charlie. I expect several of the Folio 1020 configurations to top $1,000, though I won't be surprised if the base model (without premium build materials or Quad HD screen, etc) is something like $800 or $900. There are certainly pro laptops that require you to berelatively more super-rich, but I don't think the new HPs will be especially cheap, at least not until they've been on the market for a while. I know firsthand the clunky ThnkPad of which you speak and agree that a device like this would be a big improvement, especially for work at conferences, working on planes, etc.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
12/3/2014 | 12:54:53 PM
Re: Pricing?
I think pricing will be similar, though HP hasn't said anything yet. With the SP3, Microsoft insists on making you buy the keyboard seperately, which isn't a concern for the new HPs. That difference alone might make the SP3 more expensive. But looking at the Core M devices for which pricing is announced, I expect most of the Folio 1020 configurations to cost at least $800, and for the Special Edition configurations, which default to nicer build materials and a better screen, to start over $1,000.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
12/3/2014 | 12:49:32 PM
Pricing?
Michael, any idea if these will be cheaper than the Surface Pro 3 devices? These type of devices are starting to show some potential for mobile people (think Supervision, Lean walks, Saftey walks, etc) on the manufacturing shop floor.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
12/2/2014 | 9:18:57 PM
For ultra thin, you can never be too rich....
These dimensions are impressive and I like the idea of a nine-hour battery life-- very nice, portable packages. I doubt if the processor disappoints on power and it's a sound approach to trade off processing power for the reduced weight and power draw of no cooling fan. I would like to trade in my chunky ThinkPad for one of these. Has HP announced any pricing? Do you need to be ultra-rich to get ultra-thin?
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