Hewlett-Packard is targeting the professional side of the PC market with the release of nine new business notebook models featuring precision aluminum-alloy hinges, cast titanium-alloy display latches, and a rugged display frame. Moreover, the new EliteBook 8460p will deliver an industry-leading battery life of up to 32 hours from a single charge when buyers select the long-life battery option.
HP also took the wraps off three new ProBook 6 notebooks that give potential buyers a wide range of configuration flexibility for the processor, graphics package, and battery technology. Also on tap are five new ProBook s-series models for small and midsize businesses with form factors ranging from ultralight to full desktop replacement.
Tipping the scales at 4.56 and 6.10 pounds, respectively, the EliteBook 8460p and EliteBook 8560p sport 14- and 15.6-inch high-definition LED backlit displays. Buyers will be able to choose between UMA and high-performance AMD Radeon HD 6470M discrete graphics capabilities as well as dual-core Intel Core i3 and i5 processors and Intel's quad-core i7 chips. That's also the case with HP's new ProBook and ProBook s-series models.
HP's all-metal EliteBook models meet military standards and promise to surpass customer expectations in durability, noted HP Vice President Dan Forlenza. What's more, HP intends to offer select EliteBook machine configurations featuring Intel's vPro technology for remote access.
EliteBook data-storage options include SATA II drives packing 250GB to 750GB of disk space as well as solid-state drives of 128GB to 160GB. The new machines also sport USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 charging port, and a wide range of wireless connectivity options.
When HP's new machines begin shipping on March 15, prices for the new EliteBook 8460p and EliteBook 8560p are expected to start at $999 and $1,099, respectively. HP's optional EliteBook accessories will include two desktop docking stations as well as batteries ranging from ultralight to ultrahigh capacity.
Equipped with 13.3-inch, 14-inch, and 15.6-inch LED backlit displays and an optional HD webcam, HP's ProBook 6360b, ProBook 6460b, and ProBook 6560b will sport price tags that begin at $799. Pricing for HP's new ProBook s-series models will start at $579.
A Renewed Emphasis
HP's renewed emphasis on the business side of the PC market is intended to play to the company's main strength. According to Gartner, HP's professional PC business saw solid growth in the fourth quarter, but that growth was offset by weak consumer PC sales in the U.S. during the holiday shopping season.
HP remained the global leader in worldwide PC shipments in the final three months of last year with an 18.8 percent market share. However, the PC maker's share declined from 19.6 percent in the same quarter a year earlier, noted Mika Kitagawa, a principal analyst at Gartner.
Moreover, the professional PC market grew six percent on a global basis in the fourth quarter, "but HP only grew three percent," Kitagawa observed. "So HP did OK in the professional market, but still was below the market average," she said.
With its new lineup of professional notebooks, HP clearly hopes to regain momentum in what was the PC market's strongest segment at the end of 2010. "The bright side of the PC market during the fourth quarter of 2010 was a steady growth in the professional market, driven by replacement purchases," Kitagawa noted.