SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Hewlett-Packard Co unveiled several new products for the important fall season, including thin and light laptop PCs and an eye-catching new netbook.
The world’s No. 1 PC maker has ably navigated a steep industry downturn in computer sales, managing to grow its global market share to 20 percent even as consumers and businesses dial back on spending.
With the forthcoming launch of Microsoft Corp’s new Windows 7 operating system on October 22, many analysts expect PC sales to begin a slow recovery from lows seen earlier year.
And despite the recession, PC makers continue to see a market in more expensive and stylish models for those who can afford them.
HP is marking its entry into the high-end, ultra-thin consumer PC market with its new Envy sub-brand. The Envy checks in at under an inch thick and less than 4 pounds, and will have a customized software interface that HP says makes the device more personalized, a growing trend in the PC space.
It will go head-to-head with Apple Inc’s MacBook Air and Dell Inc’s Adamo. The Envy will start at $1,700, while both the Air and the Adamo start at $1,500.
With ‘thin and light’ all the rage, HP will also launch a pair of more affordable PCs in the category.
The company is calling its new business PC, the ProBook 5310m, the “world’s thinnest full-performance notebook” at 0.9-inches thick and an affordable entry point of $699.
The new HP Pavilion dm3, which has an optional CULV low-power processor from Intel Corp, starts at $549. It also measures less than an inch in thickness and claims up to 10 hours of battery life.
Consumer PCs have fared much better than business PCs in the downturn, helped by the sharp growth of netbooks, low-cost devices that are changing the face of the computer market. Ultra-portable and used primarily for Web surfing, email and other simple tasks, many consumers have flocked to the devices.
At the same time, PC makers are increasingly emphasizing design as a way to differentiate their PCs, and HP has been actively pushing its creative side.
On Saturday, it used a catwalk at New York’s Fashion Week to unveil its latest collaboration with designer Vivienne Tam, a gold “digital clutch” netbook adorned with butterflies. The limited edition model won’t be available until next spring.
HP is launching another netbook this fall designed by Dutch artist Tord Boontje, which has a floral and environmental theme etched in a three-dimensional design. The white device, which is targeted more at the youth market, will sell for $400.
It will also offer a new netbook model, the Mini 311, which features a slightly larger screen at 11.6 inches and Nvidia’s Ion platform, which pairs Intel’s Atom chip with an Nvidia graphics processor. It will also sell for $400.
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