Hewlett-Packard is going after business travelers with three new ultra-portable laptops.
The lineup, according to HP, includes a 1.3 kilo semi-rugged notebook, a machine that can convert from a notebook into a pen-based tablet and an inexpensive Compaq laptop.
"It's good to see HP get into this market and bring some competition to Lenovo, Sony, and Apple," said Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group. "Even better, it looks like they've really looked at what business travelers need and want, concentrating on keeping the size down and battery life up. Moreover, they did it while still providing a usable 12.1-inch screen size."
The HP EliteBook 2530p is the smallest and lightest HP laptop that contains a built-in optical drive. Weighing in at 1.3 kilos, the machine sports an HP DuraCase made of a brushed, anodized aluminium combined with a magnesium alloy. The case is designed to pass military-standard durability tests for extreme temperature, dust and humidity.
Olds said it's a good move for HP to come out with a small form factor laptop that could take a beating that road warriors are sure to give it.
'It's good to see more durable cases in these systems," he added. "They're made to travel and will certainly get bumped, bruised, and bent on the road. While they don't have the absolute lowest weight, they do have some interesting feature combinations, including integrated optical drives, which some of the other ultra-portables don't have."
The HP EliteBook 2730p is an ultra-thin convertible machine that can go from a laptop to a pen-based tablet that is 27 mm thick -- just by rotating the screen. New features, according to HP, include an integrated touchpad, tablet buttons and a jog dial. An optional ultra-slim battery accessory offers up to 12 combined hours of battery life.
The new EliteBooks, which are slated to be available in early September, support Intel Core 2 Duo ultra-low-voltage or low-voltage processors. They also feature an optional integrated 2 megapixel webcam with business card reader software, and an integrated HP NightLight that shines on the keyboard to improve visibility in low light.
HP calls the third ultra-portable that HP released a "value-priced" HP Compaq 2230s. The 1.8 kilo laptop has a 12.1-inch diagonal widescreen display and a satin, reflective, black-on-black surface.