The Hewlett-Packard brand isn't generally synonymous with game-changing. Reliable and solid, sure. But creative professionals looking for the fireworks-bringing devices may be more likely to look toward Apple.
However, with its newest all-in-one workstation, introduced Feb. 14, HP has, as it's quick to point out, created a world first: an all-in-one workstation with a 27-inch display, on the diagonal.
Arguably cooler still: The display snaps open, without the need for any tools, making it possible for users to upgrade parts, add a hard drive or access the graphics cardin short, to easily extend the life of their investment.
HP would also like for you to know that the Z1 is "blazingly fast," "whisper quiet" and offers an "optimized visual and computing performance," all of which it hopes will attract new customers to the brand.
The HP Z1 runs Intel Xeon processors, Nvidia Quadro graphicswith support for more than 1 billion colorsand features Remote Graphics Software, enabling remote users to access the Z1's handy performance with 3D and video.
Storage options include 7.2K and 10K Serial ATA, solid-state drive (SSD) optional RAID configurations, removable drives, a multi-format media card reader and optical drive options, not the least of which is a slot-load Blu-ray Writer.
There are front-facing dual-cone speakers with SRS Premium Sound, a high-definition Webcam that can also capture HD-quality video and, should the machine seem in need of a tune-up, HP Performance Advisor software, said to eliminate the need for troubleshooting by providing a report of the Z1's hardware and software configurations.
The Z1 is intended for engineers, architects, videographers and other creative professionals working in robust programs. Attracting a few is certainly a good idea.
HP led the worldwide PC market during the fourth quarter of 2011, shipping 14.7 million PCs to second-ranking Lenovo's 12.9 million. Lenovo, however, posted 23 percent year-on-year growth, and third-ranking Dell grew by 7.8 percent while HP posted a decline of 16.2 percent. HP also held its top-shipping title in the United States, though again posted a major year-on-year loss of 26.1 percent, while No. 2 Dell dipped by 4.5 percent and No. 3 Apple posted 20.7 percent growth, according to figures from Gartner.
Research firm Canalys, however, which includes tablet shipments in its PC totals, gave top billing to Apple, with shipments of 15 million iPads; this made the Mac maker the No. 1 PC vendor during the quarter.
"Now the second-largest client PC vendor worldwide," said the Canalys report, "HP will struggle to compete with Apple following the end of its TouchPad."
HP, under former-CEO Leo Apotheker, considered spinning off its PC division, but new CEO Meg Whitman reversed the decision, announcing in an Oct. 2011 statement that she believed the decision was "right for customers and partners, right for shareholders and right for employees."
Whitman added that HP is "committed to [its Personal Systems Group], and together we are stronger.
This week, HP also introduced two new thin-clients for enterprise customers, the HP t510 and the HP 610. Both feature dual-core Advanced Micro Devices CPUs and ship standard with twice the RAM of previous models.
The Z1 will begin shipping worldwide in April, starting at $1,899.