HP, Intel Outfitting 'Project Runway' with Stylish PCs

Hewlett-Packard and Intel will be providing "Project Runway" seventh-season contestants with HP TouchSmart PCs and TouchSmart tm2 notebooks, which convert into slates that the show's designers can draw on. Project Runway viewers are also eligible for HP prizes.

Hewlett-Packard and Intel are strutting their stuff for the seventh season of "Project Runway," which premieres Jan. 14 on the Lifetime channel.

The duo announced Jan. 13 that the HP TouchSmart PCs and HP Touchmart tm2 notebooks, both powered by Intel processors, will be used by contestants on the show. For the first time, the contestants will have the option of using computers to sketch their designs.

In a time of colorful iPhone cases, 1.1-pound mini-notebooks capable of slipping into handbags and the sudden vogue for Android-running phones, the announcement highlights the degree to which mobile devices are becoming as much accessories as communications tools.

The TouchSmart tm2, which HP introduced at the recent Consumer Electronics Show, can be converted into a slate - or tablet PC - and users can sketch on it with a digital pen, take notes on the screen and use various colors, brushes and effects, said HP. The tm2 runs an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, features a 12-inch screen and can offer up to 9 hours of battery life.

To view images of the TouchSmart tm2, click here.

"Technology is what's next in fashion design," said Barbara Schneeweiss, vice president of production and development for TV and feature films at The Weinstein Company, in a statement. "Forward-thinking designers are exploring new ways to use technology in the design process."

HP also announced that the season seven Project Runway winner will receive a $50,000 prize package from Intel and HP, with which they can get their own business off the ground, and that viewers have a shot at some HP gear as well. At www.projectrunway.com/hp, fans can predict who the top three design finalists will be, and those who guess right will be entered to win the HP Envy 15.

"We are excited about HP's new technology and think it will add a great new element to this season of Project Runway," said JoAnn Alfano, executive vice president of Entertainment at Lifetime Networks, in the statement.

The deal with "Project Runway" is hardly HP's first foray into fashion. In 2008 and 2009, HP introduced PCs designed by Vivienne Tam. Set to debut with Tam's 2010 spring collection, the latter effort is a "clutch" netbook with a theme Tam called "Butterfly Lovers."

In September, HP also teamed with Dutch designer Tord Boontje on the Mini 110 netbook, which features a Boontje-designed layered-polycarbonate finish that makes the netbook appear to be covered in lace.