New HP EliteBooks Offer Consumer Feel, Enterprise Features

The EliteBook 1020 and 1020 SE are thin and light, but come with military-grade ruggedness, a range of security features and Intel's new Core M chip.

HP EliteBook

Hewlett-Packard is bulking up its EliteBook business notebook portfolio with new slimmer and lighter offerings.

HP, which is in the midst of its HP Discover 2014 show in Barcelona, Spain, is rolling out its new EliteBook 1020 and 1020 Special Edition (SE), which measure 15.7 mm and weigh in at 2.2 pounds, the latest example of a vendor putting a consumer-like feel into systems meant for business. The notebooks, announced Dec. 2, include a 12.5-inch Quad HD display and come with HP's new Premium Keyboard, which was designed to offer improved key response based on feedback from users who tested the product, company officials said.

There is a 720p webcam and speakers that offer HD Audio with DTS Studio Sound and HP's Noise Reduction Software, which officials said will improve video and Web conferences.

The EliteBook 1020 also offers an optional touchscreen.

At the same time, the systems come with a range of features aimed at business users, including nine hours of battery life. They are designed to pass MIL-STD 810G military-grade testing, ranging from drops to exposure to extreme temperatures, humidity and pressure. They are powered by Intel's new 14-nanometer Core M processor, which the chip maker launched in September. The chip is aimed at new form factors like two-in-one systems, which can be used as both a traditional notebook and a tablet.

The chip also was designed to be small and energy-efficient enough to be used in fanless designs, which includes both the 1020 and 1020 SE. The new EliteBooks also come with solid-state storage, HP's Client Management Solutions software and optional LANDesk and Intel vPro technology for easy integration into enterprise environments.

On the security side, the new notebooks include HP's Trusted Platform Module 1.2/2.0, a fingerprint reader, pre-boot authentication and the company's Sure Start self-healing BIOS.

"Customers demand not only a stylish, thin and light notebook, but also a device that delivers advanced security and can withstand the rigorous demands that come with a highly mobile lifestyle," Alex Cho, vice president and general manager of commercial PCs at HP, said in a statement.

The EliteBook 1020 will be available in February, with the EliteBook 1020 SE expected in April.

Along with the new systems, HP also is updating other EliteBook notebooks and convertible PCs with the latest Intel Core processors and HP's Noise Reduction Software. They also now have HP's Touchpoint Manager cloud-based management solution.

New form factors, the need for businesses to refresh their aging systems and Microsoft's decision to end support of Windows XP are among the key drivers of an uptick this year in businesses worldwide buying new PCs. Other factors include a saturation in the market for tablets—whose popularity was a major reason for the decline in global PC sales over the past several years—according to market research firms. Gartner analysts in October said that PC shipments in the third quarter fell 0.5 percent over the same time last year, signaling a stabilization in the market. However, the market for PCs is expected to continue to be difficult going forward, according to IDC analysts.

The new and upgraded EliteBooks also come as HP begins the process of breaking into two companies, one of which will be called HP Inc. and will focus on PCs and printers, while the other—Hewlett-Packard Enterprise—will sell commercial products, including servers, storage devices, networking gear and cloud infrastructure solutions.