HP Woos Business Faithful with ProBook Notebooks

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Hewlett-Packard—now the top computer maker in both the world and U.S. PC markets—has taken the wraps off its new ProBook line of notebook PCs, targeting small and medium-sized businesses with a scaled-back, chic look, a wide variety of configuration options, and competitive price tags—and HP is even offering a Novell SuSE Linux option as a pre-installed option, marking the first time HP has offered Linux as a pre-installed option in the business market.

“The stunning HP ProBook s-series delivers exceptional style and aggressive pricing that will captivate small and medium business users,” said senior VP and general manager for HP’s global notebook business unit, Ted Clark, in a statement. “But it’s not just about good looks or low cost, the HP ProBooks deliver the right blend of features and professional innovations to provide a great user experience.”

The ProBooks will be available with 14, 15.6-inch, and 17.3-inch displays, and feature a spill-resistant keyboard with keys raised about the surface of the notebook so the keyboards are easier to clean and maintain. Selected notebooks will also be available with HP Mobile Broadband using Qualcomm’s Gobi technology, enabling the notebooks to tap into different mobile broadband technology from disparate operators. HP is also offering the ProBooks with a non-boring color option—merlot—come June, for business types who dare to shake things up a little.

The ProBook 4410s and 4415s will feature a 16:9 14-inch display, a choice of Intel integrated graphics or ATI mobility Radeon HD 4330 graphics, an optional Blu-ray drive, HDMI output, and a choice of Intel or AMD CPUs. The ProBook 4510s and 4515s will sport 15.6-inch 16:9 displays and an integrated numeric keypad, while the 17.3-inch 4710s features ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 graphics with 512 MB of video memory and Intel Core 2 Duo processors—but sadly, the 17-inch model won’t be available with the merlot color option.

Prices for the ProBooks start at $529, although, of course, if customers pile on options the price goes up: a ProBook 4710 with 4 GB of RAM, a 2.5 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, and a 500 GB hard drive runs $1,099.

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