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HP Launches Laptops, Netbooks

Among the new offerings are two premium laptop models to rival Apple's MacBook Air and Dell's Adamo.

HP Envy
(click image for larger view)
HP Envy
Hewlett-Packard has introduced a line of premium laptops to take on Apple's MacBook Air and Dell's Adamo, and has also launched a couple of thin and light notebooks and two netbooks.

HP launched the systems on Tuesday, in what analysts say is a slowly improving PC market brought on by a more stable global economy.

Among the new laptops were two premium models under the sub-brand Envy. The 13-inch model with an aluminum and magnesium case and etched-metal palm rest is less than an inch thick and weighs under four pounds, making it competitor to the Macbook Air and Dell's Adamo.

However, the Envy 13, which is powered by a 1.86 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, is more expensive than its rivals, starting at $1,700 versus $1,500. As a differentiator, HP has partnered with rapper Dr. Dre's Beats company in developing audio software for producing better sound. The system is available with an extended life battery for up to 18 hours of power.

For consumers seeking a faster system, HP launched an Envy laptop with a 15.6-inch display, an Intel Core i7 processor, and an ATI Mobility Radeon 4830 graphics processor from Advanced Micro Devices. The Envy 15 has a magnesium alloy casing, is an inch thick and weighs just over five pounds. Prices start at $1,800.

Both laptops are scheduled to be available Oct. 18.

The HP ProBook 5310m is a lower-priced system for mobile professionals; the Pavilion dm3 is a lower-cost option for consumers. Both systems have a 13.3-inch screen and are less than an inch thick. However, the dm3 is about a half pound heavier, 4.2 pounds versus 3.7 pounds.

The ProBook 5310m is available with a Core 2 Duo processor or a less expensive Intel Celeron dual core chip. The dm3 is available with either an Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Neo Dual Core processor.

Both systems are scheduled to be available starting Oct. 22 with Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system. Prices for the dm3 start at $549 with an AMD processor and $649 with an Intel processor. The ProBook 5310 starts at $699 with the Celeron dual core and $899 with a Core 2 Duo.

Finally, HP unveiled the Mini 311 and Mini 110 netbooks. The Mini 110 is designed by Dutch artist Tord Boontje and is aimed at the youth market. The Mini 311 is being marketed as offering better graphics than other mini-laptops through an 11.6-inch high-definition widescreen display and Nvidia Ion graphic processors. The system sports a keyboard that's 92% of full-size, a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor and up to 3 GB of system memory.

Both systems are scheduled to be available this fall and have a starting price of $400.

In launching all the new systems, HP is in line with a couple of trends in the PC market. First is the popularity of netbooks, which have been the fastest growing segment of the PC market; and the growing popularity of low-priced thin and light laptops that are more mainstream than netbooks and have full-size keyboards.

In addition, HP and other computer makers are refreshing their product lines in anticipation of a stronger PC market. Global PC shipments rose 1% in the second quarter from the previous quarter, joining a number of other indicators that point to the start of a market recovery that's expected to continue through the rest of the year, according to researcher iSuppli.

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