HP launches new notebook PCs

Hewlett-Packard Co. on Monday beefed up its line of business notebooks with two new series using dual-core processors from Intel.

Both the HP Compaq 9400 and HP Compaq 6300 series will use Intel's Core Duo technology, which allows users to simultaneously run multiple applications. HP notebooks had previously used Intel's Napa processor family.

The company plans to sell the machines based on a wide set of business features, ranging from fingerprint-scanning security to a hard drive that protects itself from accidental drops.

"We'll compete on our professional innovations," said Carol Hess-Nickels, director of commercial notebook marketing. "We don't think everybody offers these features."

One of the main selling points will be battery life, she said. The notebooks have three levels of battery endurance.

The nx9400 product will run for four hours on its standard, 8-cell lithium ion battery. It will run an additional five hours if users buy HP's Extended Life Battery.

And it will run an additional 10 hours with a US$199, 1.7-pound "ultra-capacity battery." A user clips the wedge-shaped, 12-cell lithium ion battery underneath the notebook to act as an electrical reserve fuel tank.

HP will aim the 9400 line toward users who need a high-performance machine with a 17-inch wide screen. To make it more mobile, HP designers made it 17 percent lighter (now 7.4 pounds) than HP's current 9600 series desktop-replacement notebooks. The computer will be available in mid-March for US$1,499.

In contrast, the 6300 line offers a 15-inch screen and a menu of options, tailored for either mobile corporate users or cost sensitive, small and medium business owners. It will be available in early April for US$1,049.

The company expects to release more computers using Intel dual-core processors in coming months. "These are the first two products in a rolling thunder approach," Hess-Nickels said.

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