HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4

If you thought laptop / tablet mashups were trendy, we can think of at least one other theme you’re going to see repeated ad nauseam over the coming months: PC makers putting touchscreens on things that didn’t used to have them. That’s right, in addition to all those funky-looking hybrids, you’re going to see lots of familiar-looking laptops get upgraded with touch in time for the Windows 8 launch. Exhibit A: HP, which just announced two conventional notebooks with touch. This includes a finger-friendly version of the 14-inch Envy 4 Ultrabook, as well as the Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook, a 15-inch version of the Spectre XT announced earlier this year. Both will be available during the holiday season. That’s the short version, but if you follow past the break, we’ve got a lot to talk about in the way of specs. Join us, will you?

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HP Envy Spectre XT: a sleek and speedy Ultrabook

The HP Envy Spectre XT ultrabook comes with a 13.3-inch 1366×768 display and is powered by 3rd generation Intel Core processors. At 0.57 inch thickness at its thinnest point, the HP Envy Spectre XT is one of the thinnest ultrabooks out there, though not quite as sleek as the Samsung Series 9 Ultrabook introduced earlier this month.

The HP Envy Spectre XT ultrabook boasts of an all-metal design and is one of the rare ultrabooks that does not look identical to the MacBook Air. HP looks to have spent some time and effort in designing this ultrabook, as is evident from the different hinge and speaker design. The HP Envy Spectre XT comes with SSD storage and 4 speakers with Beat Audio, that certainly offer above average sound output for its class.

The HP Envy Spectre XT 13-2001TU is powered by an Intel Core i5 3317U processor clocked at 1.7GHz and can go up to 2.6GHz through TurboBoost. The HP Envy Spectre XT comes with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, a full-sized HDMI port, SD card reader, headphone-cum-mic 3.5mm port and a “spring-loaded” Ethernet port. It also comes with dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. That’s pretty much all the bases covered.

HP’s Envy Ultrabook was launched in India earlier this year in June.

HP’s first Ultrabook, the HP Folio 13 | Hands On!

HP introduced its first business Ultrabook on November 16, 2011, which features a thin and light design, strong security options and a responsive solid-state hard drive for the ultimate mobile experience.

With the battery life to get them through the workday, users are no longer saddled with carrying power adapters to charge their notebook PCs. Plus, a wide array of ports, including Ethernet, eliminates the need to carry dongles. Mobile professionals can now stay productive and get through their entire business day – from home to business and back home – with only the HP Folio 13. Continue reading

The 2010s

On April 28, 2010, Palm, Inc. and Hewlett-Packard announced that HP would be acquiring Palm for $1.2 billion in cash and debt. In the months leading up to the buyout, it was rumored that Palm was going to be purchased by either HTC, Dell, RIM or HP.

On August 6, 2010, CEO Mark Hurd resigned amid controversy and CFO Cathie Lesjak assumed the role of interim CEO. On September 30, 2010, Léo Apotheker was named as HP’s new CEO and President. Apotheker’s appointment sparked a strong reaction from Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison, who complained that Apotheker had been in charge of SAP when one of its subsidiaries was systematically stealing software from Oracle. SAP accepted that its subsidiary, which has now closed, illegally accessed Oracle intellectual property.

On August 18, 2011, HP announced that it would strategically exit the smartphone and tablet computer business, focusing on higher-margin “strategic priorities of Cloud, solutions and software with an emphasis on enterprise, commercial and government markets”.   Continue reading

The 2000s

HP logo used from 2008 to 2012

On September 3, 2001, HP announced that an agreement had been reached with Compaq  to merge the two companies. In May, 2002, after passing a shareholder vote, HP officially merged with Compaq. Prior to this, plans had been in place to consolidate the companies’ product teams and product lines.

In 1998, Compaq had already taken over Digital Equipment Corporation. That is why HP still offers support for PDP-11, VAX and AlphaServer.

In the year 2004 HP released the DV 1000 Series, including the HP Pavilion dv 1658 and 1040 two years later in May 2006, HP began its campaign, The Computer is Personal Again. The campaign was designed to bring back the fact that the PC is a personal product. Continue reading

The 1980s

HP logo used from 1981 to 2008

In 1984, HP introduced both inkjet and laser printers for the desktop. Along with its scanner product line, these have later been developed into successful multifunction products, the most significant being single-unit printer/scanner/copier/fax machines. The print mechanisms in HP’s tremendously popular LaserJet line of laser printers depend almost entirely on Canon’s components (print engines), which in turn use technology developed by Xerox. HP develops the hardware, firmware, and software that convert data into dots for the mechanism to print.

On March 3, 1986, HP registered the HP.com domain name, making it the ninth Internet .com domain ever to be registered.

In 1987, the Palo Alto garage where Hewlett and Packard started their business was designated as a California State historical landmark.

HP and Oracle lawsuit

On June 15, 2011, HP filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court in Santa Clara, claiming that Oracle had breached an agreement to support the Itanium microprocessor used in HP’s high-end enterprise servers. On June 15, 2011, HP sent a “formal legal demand” letter to Oracle in an attempt to force the world’s No. 3 software maker to reverse its decision to discontinue software development on Intel Itanium microprocessor. Continue reading

The 1970s

HP logo, mid-1970s

The HP 3000 was an advanced stack-based design for a business computing server, later redesigned with RISC technology. The HP 2640 series of smart and intelligent terminals introduced forms-based interfaces to ASCII terminals, and also introduced screen labeled function keys, now commonly used on gas pumps and bank ATMs. The HP 2640 series included one of the first bit mapped graphics displays that when combined with the HP 2100 21MX F-Series microcoded Scientific Instruction Set enabled the first commercial WYSIWYG Presentation Program, BRUNO that later became the program HP-Draw on the HP 3000. Although scoffed at in the formative days of computing, HP would eventually surpass even IBM as the world’s largest technology vendor, in terms of sales. Continue reading

Spying scandal

On September 5, 2006,David O’Neil Newsweek revealed that HP’s general counsel, at the behest of chairwoman Patricia Dunn, contracted a team of independent security experts to investigate board members and several journalists in order to identify the source of an information leak. In turn, those security experts recruited private investigators who used a spying technique known as pretexting. The pretexting involved investigators impersonating HP board members and nine journalists (including reporters for CNET, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal) in order to obtain their phone records. The information leaked related to HP’s long-term strategy and was published as part of a CNET article in January 2006. Most HP employees accused of criminal acts have since been acquitted.