HP buys VoodooPC to boost gaming strategy

HP Thursday unveiled new digital media products and bought VoodooPC to boost its gaming strategy.

As HP's top executive testified before a Congressional committee about an ongoing spying scandal, other company executives were in New York to announce new products and a key acquisition for its strategy to enrich digital lifestyles.

"Considering what's in the news, we are delighted you are here with us today, as we have many positive things to share," senior vice-president of global marketing for HP's Personal Systems Group, Satjiv Chahil, said. "As they say on Broadway - and I think it's a very good tradition - on with the show."

As part of that show, HP unveiled a key acquisition to make it competitive in the high-performance gaming computer market. It agreed to buy VoodooPC, a designer and manufacturer of personalised gaming systems.

Following the close of the transaction, HP will form a separate business unit within its Personal Systems Group focused on the gaming industry, the company said.

VoodooPC co-owner, Rahul Sood, will become chief technologist for the unit and VoodooPC co-owner Ravi Sood will become the unit's director of strategy. Both will report to Phil McKinney, who will become general manager of the gaming business unit while maintaining his current role as CTO of HP's Personal Systems Group.

Computer gaming is becoming an increasingly important market for PC makers, and they now see the importance of making high-performance computers that offer gamers a premium experience. HP's purchase of VoodooPC follows one earlier this year by Dell, which bought Alienware.

On display at HP's event at New York's Manhattan Center were products to help consumers take advantage of the digital lifestyle, something the company believes is in its DNA, vice-president of marketing for HP, John Dayan, said.

"We have a long history of doing the kinds of things that give you a high-definition experience. We're just extending that to TVs and other devices," he said.

One product HP launched was the HP HD-DVD ROM, the first HP product to support the HD-DVD video format. The product also supports CDs and regular DVDs. HP also will eventually offer a drive for the competing Blu-ray format. The company offered an HD-DVD drive first because there were more titles available for that format, Dayan said.

HP also unveiled new notebook and desktop computers in its HP Pavilion line. The HP Pavilion dv9000t Series Entertainment Notebook PC features a 17-inch Ultra BrightView display and has an Intel Core 2 Duo processor. Its counterpart, the DV9000z Series, is based on an AMD processor and features a 17-inch HD BrightView display.

The HP Pavilion a1600n Series Desktop PC is designed to provide an optimum experience for digital photographs, while the HP Pavilion Slimline s7600 Series PC had high-definition media features in a smaller size than an average PC, HP said.

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Elizabeth Montalbano

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