HP announces new mobile devices

With a flurry of new product and service announcements, HP used the World Telecom 2003 conference and exhibition in Geneva to show enterprises, network operators and other IT partners that mobility is a top priority.

"Every physical analog process will become digital, virtual and mobile," said Carly Fiorina, HP's chairman and chief executive officer, in a speech at the telecommunications event, which is organised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an agency of the United Nations (UN).

Fiorina did not directly comment on HP's mobile vision for the future, instead zeroing in on new products that enterprises and network operators can use now to improve their operations. Bluetooth and wireless LAN (WLAN) technologies play big roles in many of these products.

HP used the Geneva event to announce the iPaq Pocket PC h4150, which it claims will be the thinnest and lightest Pocket PC on the market to include Bluetooth and WLAN (based on the 802.11b standard) connectivity.

It also introduced the iPaq Pocket PC h4350, featuring an integrated backlit keyboard in addition to the wireless capabilities.

Both products include enhanced security technologies, such as support for Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), Lightweight Extensible Authentication Protocol (LEAP) and 802.1.x.

Customers can purchase the iPAQ h4150 online now for $US449; the h4350 is due out in November at a price of $US499.

HP also launched a redesigned Tablet PC TC1100, which offers wireless connectivity via Bluetooth and WLAN based on the 802.1a, b and g standards. The tablet incorporates Intel's low voltage Pentium M processor and is due to begin shipping in mid-November at a starting price of $US1849.

On the PC front, HP rolled out new notebooks and a mobile workstation, with all of the products also equipped with Bluetooth and WLAN supporting 802.1a, b and c standards, as well as the latest security standards, such as Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA).

Its nc6000 and nc8000 businesses notebooks and nw8000 portable workstation also feature HP's ProtectTools array of security systems. Security is a critical issue for enterprises that recognise the advantages of mobilising their workforces but are worried about the risk of exposing their networks to intruders, senior vice-president and general manager of HP's mobile computing and personal systems group, Alex Gruzen, said.

"Embedded in these new products are some new hardware and software security technologies that provide enhanced protection against unauthorised use," he said.

Estimated pricing starts at $US1649 for the nc6000 and $US2049 for the nc8000. Pricing for the mobile workstation starts at $US2999. All three products are immediately available.

HP also announced a string of new mobile imaging and printing systems, including a variety of printers with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities. A new HP software platform, the Mobile Printing Application Software for Series 60 Imaging Phones, allows Bluetooth-enabled Series 60 phones from Nokia to print to HP printers.

For the network carrier market, HP launched in Geneva its cx2600 Integrity server, which it claimed is the first 64-bit Itanium platform aimed specifically at carriers and other telecommunication service providers. The server, which supports multiple operating systems including Linux, is designed to carry heavy loads in carrier networks. No pricing was available.

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