HP unleashes a host of new computers at CES

At the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas, Hewlett-Packard is unveiling a broad line-up of new computers that have all of the latest components and features to keep consumers in a shopping mood.

HP’s line-up isn’t just a pile of me-too computers. They are well-designed machines that have the latest features, from the latest Intel processors to touchscreen displays. HP typically adds new features to one machine and then rolls them out across the line-up over time. That’s what it’s doing with this launch.

Based on HP’s line-up, it looks like both Intel and Advanced Micro Devices have scored a lot of design wins in HP machines. That’s a big deal since HP is the world’s largest computer maker.

The top of the line is still the HP Envy 17 (pictured), a laptop designed for enthusiasts who want something that can compete favorably with Apple’s thin MacBook Air laptops. HP has been making this model for a few years and the latest has CoolSense cooling technology, new Intel Core processors, and newly released AMD Radeon switchable graphics (which can put the machine into a power-saving mode when advanced graphics aren’t needed).

The CoolSense feature measures heat levels and cools the machine off to your preferred temperature. It has HP’s Beats by Dr. Dre audio, a 17.3-inch high-definition display, and the Intel Wireless Display, which allows you to view your laptop’s screen on your TV via a wireless connection. The Envy models will include a stereoscopic 3D screen that you can view with 3D glasses. Pricing and availability are to be determined.

HP has also relaunched a bunch of consumer laptop, netbook, and desktop models. All feature cool exterior designs. The new HP Mini 210 netbooks (pictured) feature a plaid design with matching accessories. With models such as these, HP isn’t going after just geeks. It’s going after women and others who appreciate how a machine looks. The HP Mini 210 will be available on Jan. 9 in “iceberry” for $349 while the raspberry version will be on sale on Jan. 23 for $329 at Best Buy stores only.

The HP Pavilion dm1 is a functional laptop in a compact case. It has an 11.6-inch display and measures less than an inch thick. The dm1 is one of the first machines to use Advanced Micro Devices’ Fusion Accelerated Processing Unit, or APU. That chip combines a microprocessor and a graphics chip on a single piece of silicon, allowing for both fast 3D graphics and power efficiency. The Fusion chip goes up against Intel’s Sandy Bridge combo chips. The results are pretty good; this machine can display DirectX 11 3D graphics (based on Microsoft’s most-advanced 3D standard) and can run up to 10.75 hours on battery. The HP dm1 will be available Jan. 9 in the U.S. for $449.

Starting Jan. 9, a number of HP’s touch-enabled machines will be able to download a new version of HP’s TouchSmart touchscreen user interface, which features a “carousel” design that lets you browse through apps by swiping your finger sideways across the screen. HP has some new business TouchSmart all-in-one computers (pictured), but it updated most of its TouchSmart consumer PCs in the fall. HP has adopted an update center modeled after the Apple App Store, where you can download an app at a touch and get regular updates without hassle.

On the business side, HP also has a bevy of new desktop computers, thin-client computers, and monitors. The thin clients are especially popular these days in businesses, given the trend toward running virtualization software, which allows a client to tap powerful software running on servers, even though the machine itself is relatively modest in hardware capability. The new HP t5500 series thin clients will go up against the latest machines from Wyse Technology and NComputing.

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