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HP debuts new ProBook, EliteBook business notebooks

Technology giant Hewlett-Packard has unveiled a broad set of new notebooks, including a selection of systems aimed at business and corporate customers—but that pack features even consumers might find appealing. HP is also getting into the 3G connectivity business, offering a new DataPass mobile broadband service that enables users to buy pre-paid broadband data service without the hassles of contracts or set-up fees.

HP ProBook 5330m

First up, the new HP ProBook 5330m sports second-generation “Sandy Bridge” Intel Core i3 or i5 processors, a 13.3-inch 1,366 by 768-pixel display (powered by Intel HD graphics), along with default configurations with 4 GB of RAM and 500 GB hard drives. The systems also pack 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR wireless networking, mobile broadband capability, and a slim design: the ProBook 5330m weighs just 3.9 pounds and measures less than one inch thick, and is the first HP business notebook to pack Beats Audio. With a Core i3, the systems start at $799; add $100 to get a Core i5 processor. Both should be available starting today.

HP EliteBook 2560p 2760p

Next up, the HP EliteBook 2560p and EliteBook 2760p are convertible tablet PCs that can be used like a traditional notebook or flipped around and used as a tablet. EliteBook 2560p offers a second-gen Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor, a 12.5-inch 1,366 by 768-pixel display driven by Intel HD graphics, 4 GB of RAM and 320 to 500 GB hard drives (a 160 GB SSD is also an option). The EliteBook 2760p systems sports second-gen Core i5 or Core i7 processors, a 12.1-inch, 1,280 by 800-pixel display (again, driven by Intel HD graphics), 320 GB hard drives, and 4 GB of RAM. Both systems sport 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth wireless networking; the 2560p has space for an optical drive; the 2760p can be used as a tablet either with a stylus or a finger. The EliteBook 2560p starts at $1,099 and should be available later this month; the 2760p is available now with a starting price of $1,499.

HP also announced it’s getting into the pre-paid connectivity business—in partnerhip with Peregrine Network—with HP DataPass, enabling users to purchase data service on Sprint’s 3G network for their notebook computers at a fixed rate with no contract or setup fees. The service is distinctly oriented towards business users, with access starting at $5 for up to 75 MB of data transfer in a five-hour period, and scaling up to $30 for data transfer up to 1 GB. HP DataPass might not appeal to people who regularly need mobile broadband, but for folks stuck in a rare situation where they have to download some important documents in a hurry, it might be an appealing option.