HP Sprout Strives to Put New Creative Tools in PC Users' Hands

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-10-30
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    1 - HP Sprout Strives to Put New Creative Tools in PC Users' Hands
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    HP Sprout Strives to Put New Creative Tools in PC Users' Hands

    by Don Reisinger
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    2 - First Things First: It's an All-in-One PC
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    First Things First: It's an All-in-One PC

    While HP has spent most of its time talking about the unique features built into the Sprout, the device should be viewed first as an all-in-one PC. The Sprout may have some neat features that beam images from the Touch Mat to the screen and include multiple cameras, but it's a computer first.
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    3 - Windows 8.1 Might Turn Off the Enterprise
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    Windows 8.1 Might Turn Off the Enterprise

    For enterprise customers, the Achilles heel in Sprout may just be its operating system. The device is running Windows 8.1, which is a major turnoff for an enterprise market that has shunned the OS. HP is trying to negate that problem by focusing on its hardware, but it's something some companies won't be able to overlook.
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    4 - It Ships With a Keyboard and Mouse, Too
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    It Ships With a Keyboard and Mouse, Too

    While the videos promoting the Sprout have been almost entirely focused on its touch functionality, the device does come with a keyboard and mouse. In fact, the all-in-one PC can be used just like any other computer on the market. HP says that the Sprout comes with "premium wireless Chiclet-style keyboard" as well as an optical mouse.
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    5 - Touch Mat Is Secret Sauce for Sprout
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    Touch Mat Is Secret Sauce for Sprout

    The HP Touch Mat is the secret sauce built into the Sprout. The Touch Mat screen measures 20 inches diagonally and is 20-point touch-enabled for full tactile integration. The Touch Mat's display comes from a projector that's mounted atop the display. By flicking a finger from the Touch Mat up to the screen or vice versa, an item is immediately transferred. The Touch Mat is also where users place items, like an origami creation, and an image of that is then transferred up to the display.
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    6 - Touch Mat, Display Sizes Oddly Don't Match
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    Touch Mat, Display Sizes Oddly Don't Match

    As noted, the HP Touch Mat comes with a 20-inch display. However, the Sprout's built-in screen is 23 inches. It's rather odd that they don't match. After all, if work can be done on both screens and they fully interact, it would only make sense that they would be the same size. HP has decided against that, however, and how that translates to the device's functionality is unknown.
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    7 - The Sprout Workspace App Is Vital
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    The Sprout Workspace App Is Vital

    In order to do all of the interesting things that are built into the Sprout, users will need the Sprout Workspace App or other programs that are designed for its functionality. The Sprout Workspace app is what's featured in the device's promotional video and does everything, from allowing users to modify content to creating items from the Touch Mat. It's integral to the product's functionality.
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    8 - Sprout Comes With Fairly High-Powered Components
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    Sprout Comes With Fairly High-Powered Components

    HP has smartly realized that in order to go after parts of the consumer market and parts of the enterprise space, it needed to bundle some high-powered specs into the Sprout. The computer comes with the fourth-generation Intel Core i7-4790S processor, an Nvidia GeForce GT 745A graphics chip with 2GB of memory and 8GB of on-board memory. It also has a 1TB Serial ATA/solid-state hybrid drive.
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    9 - Get Used to Working With a Stylus
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    Get Used to Working With a Stylus

    Because of the Touch Mat, a stylus is a necessary component in the Sprout. The device comes with what's called the Adonit Jot Pro stylus that is attached magnetically to the side of the Sprout display. The stylus allows users to write and draw on the Touch Mat and then have that translated to the screen.
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    10 - HP Is Seeking Developer Support
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    HP Is Seeking Developer Support

    There are few apps built for the Sprout right now. Most of the apps are creative or consumer-focused in nature and include everything from Pianotime for playing music to a Fuse Character Creator to several drawing apps. Right now, however, HP is calling on developers to build apps for Sprout. Whether they will remains to be seen.
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    11 - It Won't Come Cheap
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    It Won't Come Cheap

    Given all its components—the big screen, the solid processors and the integrated cameras—it shouldn't surprise anyone that the Sprout is expensive, compared with other Windows-based all-in-one PCs on the market. The device goes for $1,899.99 on HP's site. Over time, that number might come down, but for now, HP believes that it can sell the device at that figure. We'll see if it can.
 

Hewlett-Packard on Oct. 29 unveiled a new computer it's calling Sprout that is hardly the typical desktop or laptop PC that we are familiar with. It can best be described as a full, all-in-one Windows 8.1 PC that combines touch-screens, full gesture control, a physical keyboard, scanning technology, 3D printers and more. The Sprout is designed to give users a single integrated workstation with the potential to let them achieve a higher level of creativity. The device is unlike any PC design the industry has seen for a long time. Still, the HP Sprout isn't for everyone. The device will ship with Windows 8.1, an operating system that has hardly won universal plaudits from PC users, but it was designed for use with touch-screens. In addition, the device could prove to be a hard sell for corporate customers that aren't working in highly creative fields such as graphic arts, game production, video production or product design. These are creative fields that have been dominated historically by Apple Macs, and the Sprout would be the first significant challenge to the Mac's dominance in these areas practically for decades. This factor alone makes the Sprout worth checking out. This eWEEK slide show takes a look at what the Sprout has to offer.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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