HP now has put a great deal of corporate emphasis on product design, appearance, user experience and ergonomics to go with its existing under-the-hood power.
Hewlett-Packard, whose new CEO says he wants the company to become known as
a "cool" computer maker, unveiled its new spring line of desktop PCs
Feb. 7. There are certainly some new features in these machines that fit his
CEO Leo Apotheker said recently in an interview with the BBC
at the Davos international financial summit: "I hope one day people will
say 'This is as cool as HP,' not 'as cool as Apple.'"
That day might not be that far off. There's no question that the big
corporation, long known for respected enterprise and consumer products but also
for being a bit on the bland side, is getting there -- computer by computer.
HP now has put a great deal of corporate emphasis on product design,
appearance, user experience and ergonomics to go with its existing
under-the-hood power. This sense of style in addition to substance is starting
to break through into the public consciousness.
HP's newest desktops all offer a combination of HD touch screen and
keyboard/mouse operation. There are a couple of interesting new
differentiators: A patented new ergonomic feature that enables the desktop
monitor to slide down to a 60-degree angle to accommodate many different types
of use cases; the other is a new HPLinkUp application that allows a user to operate
the desktop of another computer within WiFi range.
Why would someone want to operate a nearby computer from a larger touch screen
within the same WiFi network? A user may find it easier and more efficient to
handle photos, video, large documents and other files using the larger touch
screen. Collaboration with someone else also is much easier.
As long as both computers are within WiFi range of each other, LinkUp, which is
a proprietary HP application not connected with BlueTooth, works smoothly. One
caveat: The smaller computer's screen goes dark and is unusable when it's being
usurped by the larger computer.
HP spent a lot of time and effort to come up with a new monitor carriage that
looks simple but is a first on the market. The computer slides down (with the
bottom going toward the user) to as far as a 60-degree angle -- without
changing the footprint of the unit.
Shared Computing a Focal Point
HP is positioning its big screen (23-inch monitor) TouchSmart desktops as good
for being centrally located in a kitchen, family room, game room or other gathering-place-type
area in a residence so that more than one person can use them at the same time.
This better enables collaborative activities such as book reading, game-playing
and school studies. The large monitors and sensitive touch screen performance
lend themselves well to these tasks.
HP's rotating carousel-design desktop for finding various applications on its
new 23-inch TouchSmart Elite 610 and Elite 9300 desktop PCs definitely takes a
cue from Apple; users will find it fun to manipulate and very functional.
The new touch screens, which will become available this spring, range in price
from $750 to about $1,000, depending upon options. They start at 1TB of storage
capacity, run on multicore Intel processors and feature the high-end Beats
HP will introduce its newest Envy laptops on Feb. 8.