Hewlett-Packard's new laptops, with ultra-slim bodies and easy broadband access, and new rumors of upcoming HP services suggest a company sprinting for the cloud.
Hewlett-Packard has unveiled a new series of laptops that
seem tailor-made for the "post PC" era, with ultra-portable designs and access
to a prepaid 3G mobile broadband service.
The unveiling dovetails with rumors of HP's plans to offer a
larger set of cloud services, courtesy of a note accidentally posted (and later
retracted) on the LinkedIn page of a company executive.
HP's new notebooks include the HP ProBook 5330m, which
embraces the company's new brushed-aluminum design language and includes Beats
Audio, and the HP EliteBook 2560p, whose 12.5-inch high-definition display and
a relatively light weight (3.68 pounds) makes it the company's smallest and
lightest model in the EliteBook line.
HP is also offering a 12.1-inch EliteBook 2760p "tablet PC,"
with a multitouch screen adapted for pen and finger use. The device weighs 3.9
pounds and features either an Intel i5 or i7 processor.
The company has also redesigned the HP Mini 210 with new
colors. The laptop weighs less than 3 pounds and measures less than an inch in
thickness, placing it in a similar category to netbooks. HP's Envy 14 line has
been deeded Intel Core processors, USB 3.0 and advanced gesture support for its
touch-pad (referred to as the "image-pad").
In a bid to expand the connectivity of its devices, HP is
also introducing HP DataPass, a prepaid 3G mobile broadband services that is
In March, newly minted CEO Leo Apotheker suggested that his
company was on the verge of rolling out a new platform-as-a-service business
for the cloud, including a new applications store. HP is also planning to
import webOS, its mobile operating system acquired last year along with Palm,
into a variety of devices ranging from tablets to PCs.
"The webOS is an unbelievably attractive piece of technology
in that it can interconnect seamlessly a number of various devices," Apotheker
told a gathering of analysts and media March 14. "It is simply an outstanding
Web operating system."
On May 3, HP executive Scott McClellan apparently laid out
further plans for the cloud on his LinkedIn profile, only to yank them soon
not before the Register managed to grab a screen shot
Those plans apparently include an "object storage" service
that offers "cost, scale, and reliability without compromise," along with a
cloud Hub for Website users and developers. Another service would offer "an
innovative and highly differentiated approach to -cloud computing'-a
declarative/model-based approach where users provide a specification and the
system automates deployment and management."
This combination of robust cloud services, emphasis on a
mobile operating system as the backbone of its device ecosystem, and ultra-thin
(and potentially always-connected) products suggests that HP is anxious to
embrace the perceived paradigm shift towards mobility as the tech world's
center of gravity. Which sounds like HP is more anxious than ever to compete