January 6, 2010 - HP arrived at CES 2010 with a bevy of new and upgraded products, including a new and improved touch tablet, an exciting line-up of portable workstations and netbook computers, an upgraded series of desktop computers, a brand new cost effective and powerful workstation, some new high performance displays, an upgraded SkyRoom web collaboration tool, and one of my favorites, the Notebook Projector Companion.
I had a chance to experience all these new and innovative products and have selected my six favorites to overview here.
The HP Z 200 Workstation and Displays
Great performance at compelling price points
The Z 200 is the newest addition to HP’s workstation lineup and meets the needs of those looking for an entry level workstation solution at a price point that rivals traditional desktop computers. The Z 200 starts at just $769 and brings with it the power and efficiency of the new Intel®Nahalem cpu architecture with the enterprise-class Intel® Xeon 3400 series chipset. These latest Intel innovations include an integrated on-board 2D graphics controller so, for the first time, you can buy a workstation class product without having to buy a discrete graphics card. If you’re a CAD or digital content developer you can optionally add an FX 4800 NVIDIA graphics card that’s optimized specifically for rendering and shading , extend the memory to 16GB, load up to 4.5 terabytes of internal storage, and choose either dual or quad-core processing. The price and performance of this machine is right on the money and ideal for the government, education and small business segment, for designers using Autodesk® AutoCAD®, photographers using Adobe Photoshop, and for power office users.
When you couple the Z 200 with one of HP’s new 22” or 24” burnished aluminum-trimmed color displays you’ve got a real hotrod. I was really impressed by the super fast, motion blur-free response times of these two displays that start at $289 for the ZR22w 22” and $425 for the ZR24w 24” display. Both displays are 8 bit capable and perfect for displaying digital content and editing and, to sweeten the pot, both displays rotate easily to portrait mode using HP’s innovative quick release technology.
The HP SkyRoom
HP’s SkyRoom, introduced last year, is far and away the best video conferencing and collaboration platform that I’ve ever experienced. I’ve watched drop-free 24 fps streamed video and real-time 3D model manipulation that is so smooth you’d think it was running locally rather than being streamed over the net.
SkyRoom’s latest release offers Windows 7 support and also gives everyone in a SkyRoom conference the ability to collaborate interactively on a shared application using key and mouse inputs. DreamWorks, for example, is taking advantage of this powerful tool by deploying it across all their facilities; two studios in California and one in Singapore. With SkyRoom they can have an animator in Northern California, a lighting expert in Singapore, and a colorist in Southern California all collaboratively and interactively editing a sequence regardless of the application they’re using.
The current release is tailored for intranet use where all participants are behind the same firewall, but since web bandwidth is not an issue HP plans to offer an open internet version in the not too distant future.
The HP TouchSmart tm2
This consumer 12.1 inch diagonal tablet boasts a stylish metal etched body and the versatility of both keyboard and touch pad. The touch pad responds smoothly to the built in digitizing pen or to multi touch finger commands and comes bundled with Corel® Paint it! TouchTM software. It also includes Hulu, Twiter, and HP Music Store powered by Rhapsody plus exclusive games such as Tug of Words and Photo Hunt to add an element of fun to this multi-functional and powerful tablet computer. Under the hood the tm2 sports the latest low power Intel® Core TM Duo processors, and with a 64 bit processor it can accommodate up to 8GHz of RAM.
I picked up this little wonder and at 4.8 pounds the tm2 felt like it was floating in my hand. I could see it being used by students who need to take classroom notes with drawings, by creative artists, or by small or medium sized business who need to be portable. A real estate sales person for example, could use the t2 to show their client a selection of homes and calculate their mortgage payment, or an architect could review and mark up construction drawings right on site, or a delivery person could get your signature when he or she makes the delivery. This is one versatile machine with 101 uses, and with a battery life of around 5 hours, it’s truly portable and at a starting price of $949 it’s really affordable.
HP EliteBook Mobile Workstations
I looked at two of the EliteBook mobile workstations being introduced at this year’s CES - the 14” 8440w and 8540w 15” models. Both mobile workstations are finished in brushed aluminum bonded to an aircraft grade magnesium chassis that makes the units light, strong and rigid without any flex. These rugged portable workstations are built to meet or exceed MIL-STD 810G military environmental and durability testing and can withstand extreme temperatures, shock, vibration, dust, and drop impact.
Weighing in at around 6.5 pounds, the 15-inch 8540w has a nominal battery life of 5 hours depending on processor and graphics card options, and features USB 3.0 with backwards compatibility to USB 2, four memory slots accommodating up to 16 GB of RAM, and optional high end graphics card support.
The 14-inch 8440w, HP’s first 14” mobile workstation, can squeeze out around 10 hours of battery life with the internal and optional extended power pack.
With outstanding workstation-class graphics and Intel® Core TM and i7 processors everything you can do on a desktop workstation can be done on these two machines - they’re perfect for CAD and design work and other compute intense applications. And, starting at $1,499 (8540w) and $1,249 (8440w) they provide a rugged cost effective solution for the professional on the go.
HP Notebook Projection Companion
I make many in person presentations during the year and I wish I had had one of these little marvels with me when I did. This 4” x 3” slim and compact projector slips easily into your pocket or portable computer bag to deliver a 100 lumen 60-Inch presentation from 8 feet away. It comes with a collapsible tripod, carrying case, and rechargeable batteries. And, the bulb is rated at 10,000 hours, or around 5 years of use. This is a must have for anyone who wants to make a persuasive presentation on the fly, and at around $500 it will pay for itself after the first presentation.
If you’re in Las Vegas at CES hunt down HP and check out these and the other new products they’re introducing, or if you’re like me, sit back in front of your browser, relax, and type in www.hp.com.
By David Heller
David Heller has written more than twelve technical and fiction books published by Addison-Wesely, Simon & Schuster, Prentice-Hall, McGraw Hill, and more, was a technical writer and professional columnist, and has devoted the past fourteen years to Internet business.