Hewlett-Packard (HP) presented a special sneak preview of a number of upcoming products on the evening of April 18 at Studio 450, near Penn Station in Manhattan. Most of these products are officially premiering now or in June, but HP provided an elegant showcase to whet the appetites of consumers and professionals alike, with a variety of simulated environments ranging from a college dorm room to an elaborate in-flight setting. At this particular event, even the food was high-tech, with Nova Catering & Events providing a variety of delicious offerings, including a caprese salad hors d’oeuvre speared on a small capsule of vinaigrette which is then injected directly into the mouth.
The new products on display were every bit as impressive as the catering and, of course, the demo environments in which they were presented. One of the more popular environments was the “cafe” setting, wherein a variety of stylish new HP ENVY laptops were displayed, including the Sleekbook and its slightly larger counterpart, the Ultrabook. Both are made of natural materials and designed to be thin and lightweight, without sacrificing connectivity, usability or high quality picture and audio. In fact, despite being as thin as 19.8 mm and weighing less than four pounds, these laptops are equipped with Beats Audio and feature subwoofers for top sound quality. The HP ENVY Spectre, also displayed in the cafe setting, is even thinner and lighter at only 14.5 mm and 3.07 pounds; made entirely of aluminum, it is the younger cousin to the all-glass Spectra, launched in January.
The very impressive “frequent flyer airline cabin” setting also showcased a number of new HP laptops, including the EliteBook 8470p/8570p (expected to be available June 4), as well as a new mobile printer, the HP Officejet 150 Mobile All-in-One. Purported to be the world’s first inkjet mobile all-in-one, this handy device weighs in at only 6.8 pounds and features built-in Bluetooth and a 2.36 inch color touchscreen to manage print, scan and copy tasks. Coupled with the EliteBook or one of HP’s other new laptops, this device gives the user an entire portable office weighing only 10 pounds, and the copy quality is surprisingly sharp, with very little degradation from the original.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the least popular demo environment was the standard office setting, despite an elaborate set-up that included a large San Jose Sharks banner (presumably the HP staff didn’t’ have time to switch it out for New York Rangers memorabilia). The home office “where I work” simulations fared better, and perhaps the most impressive product that I saw all evening was the HP Z1, an all-in-one workstation with an eye-catching display that snaps open and shut using a hydraulic system, and that allows the user to swap out parts and make upgrades without the use of any tools. As spokesman Jim Christensen said of his own fast learning curve with the workstation, “If even a marketing guy can figure it out, it must be user-friendly.”