HP expands mobility lineup

Hewlett-Packard on Monday announced a slew of new mobile offerings, sending the message to buyers that mobile computing is finally coming into its own.

The Mississauga, Ont.-based company has come out with new iPAQs and Tablet PCs, which it said are designed to take complexity out of mobile computing, and give users a true anytime-anywhere usage model.

HP announced three new iPAQ models, ranging from small business to enterprise functionality based on the Microsoft Corp. Pocket PC operating system. The h2210 iPAQ Pocket PC, priced at C$579 (US$426), includes 64MB of RAM, the Intel Corp. X-Scale PXA255 applications processor and is the smallest handheld on the market to offer dual slot expansion, allowing for increased storage on the fly, the company said.

The h1940 also comes with 64MB of RAM, but features the Samsung S3C 2410 266MHz processor. The h1940, listed at C$439, includes an SDIO expansion slot that enables the use of memory cards, wireless cards and digital cameras.

On the more feature-rich side, the h5550 iPAQ Pocket PC comes with integrated Bluetooth wireless functionality and comes with 128MB RAM in addition to integrated biometric security, wireless local area network (WLAN) access, as well as up to 17MB iPAQ File Store -- non-volatile flash storage. The h5550 starts at $999.

For the notebook space, HP has cooked up two new models designed to give enterprise functionality to the small and midsized (SMB) market. The new nx9000 series feature 15-inch LCDs, AMD processors, along with optional integrated 54g WLAN technology. The notebook works with wireless specs including 802.11b and the newest approved protocol 802.11g. The nx9000 series starts at $1,399.

For the graphics-intensive user, the HP nx7000 series, priced at $2,399, features a wirelessly-enabled 15.4-inch widescreen and comes fully integrated with Intel’s Centrino mobile technology.

According to Ken Price, marketing manager in the personal systems group at HP Canada, there have been three drivers fuelling the wireless and mobile computing market for HP. Price explained that due to the appreciation of the Canadian dollar in recent times as well as the falling cost of components, HP is able to offer better price points than many of its competitors. Secondly, the company is keeping its customer in mind, designing form factors that offer wide-aspect ratio displays, while keeping the weight of its systems to a minimum. Lastly, he said that wireless is finally maturing allowing for interoperability between devices, enabling wireless networking and is becoming mainstream in the office and in the home.

"These are the drivers that we can take advantage of," Price said. "We design around customer requirements, which gives us more flexibility. We are able to offer solutions that are interoperable across different kinds of devices and we are in a position to allow our services to help businesses sort all this out."

According to IDC Canada Ltd. statistics, HP holds approximately 16 per cent of the global market for notebook PCs. The company’s share is 24 per cent of the Canadian market.

The HP iPAQs and notebooks will be available mid-July.

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