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.
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.
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.