HP launches broad array of redesigned notebooks, displays

In one of its largest product releases, HP unveiled a bevy of new PCs and displays, capping on key trends such as touch-screen technology.

In one of its largest product releases, HP unveiled a bevy of PCs and displays, zeroing in on key trends such as touch-screen technology and compact laptops for business and consumer users.

HP made the announcements during its "Connecting Your World" conference in Berlin on Tuesday.

HP brought out 16 laptops, including fresh models for its Compaq "b" and "s" series for business users as well as the Compaq Presario and Pavilion line. The company also introduced a new series, EliteBook.

EliteBook models have a brushed anodized aluminum casing with a magnesium alloy chassis, which HP says complies with military-standard durability. The hard drive is shock-resistant, and the keyboard is spill-resistant. One version of the EliteBook, the 6930p, has up to 15 hours of battery life with an optional ultracapacity battery, HP said.

Some of HP's new laptops have the latest chips from Advanced Micro Devices, such as that company's Turion 64x2 ultra dual-core mobile processor. Other models have Intel's Centrino 2 and Centrino 2 with vPro, HP said.

HP said it has put some features previously only in business-class notebooks into consumer models. One is HP's ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection, which can stop a hard drive from spinning if the computer senses the laptop is falling. That feature has been incorporated in the consumer-focused Pavilion line.

HP also rolled out the Voodoo Omen desktop and the Voodoo Envy 133 laptop, which are aimed at gamers and other demanding consumers.

The Voodoo Omen can support up to four graphics processors. Omen also has copper cooling pipes, and since it is liquid cooled, HP said it runs quietly even when pushed hard. Omen starts at US$7,000 and will only initially be available to those who bought a Voodoo PC before, HP said, although it will be more broadly available in around three months.

The Voodoo Envy laptop, which costs US$2,099, has a carbon-fiber casing, a backlight keyboard and a "multigesture" touchpad, supporting pinch-like movements.

On the desktop, HP has launched a line that features touch-screen interfaces. Users can tap or drag a finger across the screen of the TouchSmart series of PCs to access basic features such as playing music or manipulating audio or video files.

TouchSmart PCs have a 22-inch diagonal wide-screen display, built-in DVD burner, wireless keyboard and sport an Intel Core 2 Duo processor.

HP said its new DreamColor display -- an LCD (liquid-crystal display) that supports 1 billion colors -- costs just a quarter of competing displays. DreamColor will sell for US$3,499.

The company said DreamColor will accurately display colors for people where color matching has been a tricky task, such as the animation, game development and graphics arts industries. DreamColor, HP claims, cuts down on the need for multiple proofs, redesigns and color checks.

An HP spokesperson confirmed some of the above products will be available in Australia including the Touchsmart PC, which is launching locally this week.

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Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service

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