It’s raining ultrabooks at CES. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for any individual manufacturer to stand out from the crowd. There was one that caught our eye, however – the HP Envy 14 Spectre.
We’ll go in to the specifications in a moment because they’re not what separate the Spectre from the crowd. It’s the design that commands attention. Instead of using an aluminum lid like most competitors HP decided to use lightweight black glass. This instantly distinguishes the laptop from anything else on the market. While most ultrabooks look like MacBook Air clones, the Spectre is unique at first glance.
UPDATE: We have a video walkthrough of the new HP Envy 14 Spectre Ultrabook for you!
You’d think scratches would be a concern, but the scratch-resistant glass used on the lid appears reasonably tough. In fact, it will likely prove more durable than plastic (which tends to scratch) or aluminum (which tends to dent). The only unavoidable issue will be smudging. The floor model had more than a few fingerprints on it.
Once opened, the Envy 14 reveals a more conventional silver metallic (the palmrest is glass-covered, but remains a metallic silver color) interior similar to the rest of the Envy line. A Beats Audio analog volume knob (along with Beats Audio speakers) ties it in with the new Envy 15 and 17.
Although just 20mm (.78) thin, the Envy 14 Spectre seems to offer keyboard feel on par with its larger and thicker cousins without sacrificing the backlight. There’s also a ton of palmrest space and a large touchpad. Multi-touch gestures are among the smoothest available on a Windows laptop. Perhaps the only downside is weight. At 3.79 pounds, it is noticeably heavier than most competitors. While this contributes to the laptop’s luxurious feel it could reduce the convenience of on-the-go use.
HP plans to ship the Envy 14 with Core i5 and i7 low-voltage processors, 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and 128GB or 256GB solid state hard drives. A 1600x900 display will be standard. Also included is an NFC chip that will allow for short-range wireless sharing. It’s not a stretch to speculate it could also eventually work with the wireless payment features Intel showed during this morning’s ultrabook conference.
Battery life is projected to be 9 hours, and while this will no doubt end up being generous, it’s far better than the 6 hour estimates given by most competitors. Battery size may be the reason for the extra weight.
The Envy 14 Spectre will be on sale in February or March at an introductory price of $1399. That’s a lot of money, but initial impressions suggest that laptop is worth the price of admission. Quality is quite possibly better than the MacBook Air. If the display and performance proves to be as good as promised this pricey laptop could be a hit.
PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 11, 2011 - 03:52 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: webOS, open source, hp
Sure, this title is little more than a series of bad puns. That said, HP’s situation has recently seems like little more than a series of bad jokes itself. Over the last year, HP appears to have been their own biggest public image disaster: they purchased Palm to release a tablet without much platform support; they shut down and liquidate the tablet after seven weeks; they flirt with disbanding their entire profitable division and draw intense media discussion over the death of the entire PC industry; and they sharply change their mind and keep their division long after the media damage ends. Despite that spiraling-out-of-control story, HP has just recently made a surprisingly sensible decision: Open Source WebOS.
WebOS… Web Open Source… I get it now!
Obviously, we cannot tell exactly how good of a long-term decision it is for HP to support WebOS as an open project with the details we have now. A number of questions, not the least of which being about what open source license HP will use for their operating system, shroud the fate of WebOS as an open source platform. While I will not get excited yet, as I will not assume sensibility on the part of HP, it is entirely possible that HP can displace Android and Meego as the open mobile operating systems. Then again, it is entirely possible that HP can just crumble under Android and its other competitors and go back to cramming drops of ink into plastic containers and building large servers for corporate clients.
Depending on the license, as well as other factors, what do you think of WebOS as the open platform of choice?
Subject: General Tech | November 22, 2011 - 01:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: memristor, hp
One of the new technologies we have been keeping an eye on is the memristor, a transistor whose resistance can be altered and used as a storage medium. The development of this new technology has been headed by HP and they have some new results to announce, which you can catch at Nanotechweb. We have already seen a recent game changer, with SSDs based on non-volatile flash memory bringing never before seen data access speeds to the desktop. Memristors could be the next step, bringing storage access speeds measured in picoseconds not nanoseconds and usable lifetimes of a trillion cycles as opposed to flash which is at best measured in hundreds of thousands. They may also make volatile flash obsolete as the speeds are faster than current DRAM and SRAM, or perhaps see memory and storage unite into one unit.
"Memristors are promising candidates for future high-density nonvolatile memories given their demonstrated desirable properties such as endurance on the order of 1 trillion cycles, electroforming-free operation, compatibility with complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) processes, and the ability to be integrated in high-density cross-bar arrays. Other envisioned applications include digital logic, synaptic and hybrid circuits. For many of these applications evaluating the high-speed dynamical properties of memristors, including the switching speed, is paramount."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel’s analog shrink is for real @ SemiAccurate
- Smartphone component makers penetrate ultrabook supply chain @ DigiTimes
- AMD smacks Xeon 5600s with Opteron 6200s @ The Register
- 2011 Holiday Buying Guide @ Hardware Secrets
- Hard drive prices drop as SSD sales get a boost @ kitguru
- HIS Desperate Upgrade GPU Giveaway @ XSReviews
Subject: General Tech | November 16, 2011 - 12:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: xeon e5, xeon, servers, opteron, knights ferry, knights corner, interlagos, hp, dell, bulldozer, acer
As you would expect, no sooner does AMD release news on its new line of Bulldozer era Opterons, Intel follows suit with news on their next generation of server chips. AMD hit the news and the server room first thanks to interest shown by Dell, HP and Acer. These vendors have based a series of 2U servers on AMD's new chip as well as a family of blade servers. Dell's Poweredge C6145 was probably the most ambitious, with 4 sockets you can have 128 cores and 1TB of DDR3 in a 2U rack mount server and FusionIO was suggesting the inclusion of their 1.2TB Iodrive Duo card to ensure your storage media can keep up.
Intel also spoke with The Inquirer and other news sites about their new Xeon E5 processor family as well as providing more information about Knights Bridge. Intel has reached out to a different set of clients for the new Xeon, focusing on NVIDIA's latest target market of High Performance Computing (that HPC acronym you see hanging around Fermi). They tout over 10,000 chips sold, some of which are sitting pretty in the TOP500. Also on display was their Knights Ferry accelerator board, again targeted for the HPC crowd that NVIDIA has been courting.
So this processor generation we have Intel and NVIDIA fighting it out for HPC customers, while AMD seems to be without major competition in high density computing, although ARM has certainly been making inroads into that market.
"AMD's partners have shown a small but impressive array of Bulldozer Opteron kit. Dell's 2U eight socket beast was arguably the most impressive of the lot on show in Munich, but AMD will know it needs more than just one vendor in its fight against Intel. Thankfully it has the might of HP also showing that its traditional rackmount and blade servers can make use of AMD's Bulldozer silicon."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD kills Wichita and Krishna @ SemiAccurate
- Canada CRTC Rules Against Usage Based Billing @ Slashdot
- CarrierIQ: Most Phones Ship With "Rootkit" @ Slashdot
- Google will ignore your Wi-Fi router ... if you rename it @ The Register
- Making aerogel at home @ Hack a Day
- HP unveils business ultrabook @ DigiTimes
- Microsoft moving embedded systems to Windows 8 @ The Register
- Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS Review @ TechReviewSource
- Griffin Helo TC RC Helicopter Review @ TechwareLabs
- TechSpot Holiday Gift Guide 2011
- The Antec Giveaways: Part 1 @ AnandTech
- Real World Labs And Cooler Master Joint Contest
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | November 6, 2011 - 08:32 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tablet, slate 2, psg, hp, business, atom
Not long after HP reconsidered spinning off the PC manufacturing arm of the company, it has begun prepping two new business computers. The new PCs are aimed at business, education, healthcare, and government users and include a tablet and notebook. Specifically, HP is releasing the HP Slate 2 tablet computer and a lightweight notebook dubbed the HP 3115m.
The HP Slate 2 is a dark gray and silver accented slate style tablet computer weighing in at 1.5 lbs and a 8.9” (diagonal) screen. Running Windows 7, the computer offers both pen and touch input using its capacitive multi-touch display. To make up for the absence of a hardware keyboard, HP is including a new Swype keyboard application which will likely be well received as a notable improvement over the default Windows 7 on screen keyboard. As it is aimed at business users, several security enhancements are baked in, including a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip, HP ProtectTools, and Computrace Pro BIOS level security software.
On the hardware side of things, the HP tablet is powered by an Intel Atom Z670 processor and a mSATA compatible SSD. A front facing VGA camera is available for video conferencing, and a second 3 MP (megapixel) camera is located on the back providing photo and video capture. Further, the tablet features SRS Premium Sound, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, optional 3G mobile broadband, an SD card slot, and USB 2.0 ports. HP is further designing a docking station, integrated Bluetooth keyboard tablet case, and a Point of Sale (POS) attachment that adds a magnetic card reader to the tablet for processing credit card payments.
For those that would prefer a hardware keyboard instead of a tablet PC, HP is also releasing a lightweight notebook. The company claims that the new HP 3115m laptop will offer up to 11.5 hours of battery life. The PC features a 11.6” LED-backlit HD display, an HP webcam, and Beats Audio. Powering the laptop is a AMD E450 dual core Fusion APU. The APU features AMD Radeon HD 6320 graphics hardware, which should easily meet the needs of road warriors and business professionals.
Both the HP Slate 2 and 3115m will be available later this month. The HP Slate 2 will be available worldwide towards the end of the month while the 3115m will be available November 11th in North and South America only. More photos can be found here.
Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2011 - 03:58 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: webOS, software, hp, hardware, computers
In a move by HP that is becoming less surprising by the day, the company has reconsidered (yet again) its position on WebOS and will be keeping WebOS hardware and software around for the foreseeable future (or at least until their next announcement).
Although several tech sites reported last week that WebOS would soon be getting a final nail in the coffin and abandoned by HP, Vice President (for the Personal Systems Group) Todd Bradley stated the exact opposite sentiment in an interview recently.
3 heads of a dragon all going different directions... sound familiar HP?
Specifically, Mr. Bradley appeared on the television show Bloomberg West to talk about the company’s plans to keep the PSG (Personal Systems Group) part of the company. When questioned about WebOS, he stated that the various reports on HP shutting down the WebOS division were “unfounded rumor(s).” He further stated that HP is in fact continuing to invest in WebOS software and WebOS hardware. You can see a video of the full interview here (fair warning: the video is set to auto-play on the site).
Speaking of WebOS, Best Buy has recently snagged Touchpads while HP itself has depleted its inventory. Unfortunately, Best Buy is only willing to sell the HP Touchpads to customers who also purchase a HP or Compaq laptop or All-In-One computer, at least if you want a reasonable price on the units. More information on that can be found over at Maximum PC.
Any bets on how soon it will be before HP changes directions yet again and I have to eat my words?
A few months ago, there was talk coming from Hewlett-Packard regarding their Personal Systems Group, which is the OEM/PC Manufacturing aspect of the company. Management talked and seemed to decide that they would pull and IBM and sell off their PC division to become a services company. This plan was pushed by the (now) former CEO Leo Apotheker who came from a services background. The company stopped rolling out WebOS devices including the HP Touchpad, and was further considering getting rid of the whole PC division.
A surprising "whoops" emanated from HP today as the new CEO Meg Whitman reversed the previous plans to spin off the PC or Personal Systems Group division. According to Ars Technica, HP’s PSG isn’t going anywhere any time soon. The site quoted the new HP CEO in stating “it’s clear after our analysis that keeping PSG within HP is right for customers, and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees.” She believes keeping the Personal Systems Group makes HP stronger.
Not only is HP keeping the OEM aspects of the company alive, they are planning on expanding their current lineup in the mobile space with, and you guessed it, an ultrabook of all things! While this is likely much to the chagrin of our own Jeremy Hellstrom who would rather have 2 X79 motherboards duct taped together than an ultrabook, consumers and fans of a certain other fruit flavored slim form factor computer will likely appreciate some more competition in the ultrabook space to bring down prices a bit.
HP’s Executive Vice President over the PSG, Todd Bradley, has been quoted by several sites in a conference call yesterday as saying an HP Ultrabook is coming very soon.
"We’re very focused on having a suite in that ultramobile space. And you’ll see that very soon."
-via Maximum PC
What do you think of this move? Does HP need a lesson in moderation in a time when they are either all on or all off on decisions (that are further flip flopping back and forth), or will jumping into the Ultrabook game be a good thing for the company?
Subject: General Tech | October 27, 2011 - 12:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: arm, hp, servers, Calexda, MIPS, Godson
There have been many discussions as of late on the eventual arrival of ARM in the server room, with AMD and Intel suffering the losses. A company called Calexda has made the possibility into reality with their own custom designed ARM chips. They figure on cramming 120 of the processors into a 2U box with incredibly low power draw; in the neighbourhood of a 90% reduction. AMD's customers may stay with an architecture that they know, however Intel stands to lose power conscious customers if Calexda can provide performance and compatibility. SemiAccurate also touches on Lenovo's investigation of building servers based on a MIPS design called Godson.
"According to a report from Bloomberg News Service HP (NYSE:HPQ) will start manufacturing servers based on the ARM architecture in a sharp departure from its previous Intel-only design philosophy.
The processors for the HP servers will come from the startup Caxeda, which is partly owned by ARM. Caxeda is planning a quadcore processor based on the ARM Cortex-A9 design."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Now pictures on the Internet can be faked @ Hack a Day
- Inside Google Plus @ Wired
- Official "Firefox With Bing" Released @ Slashdot
- Youtube will launch its own video channels @ The Inquirer
- Asustek, Gigabyte to miss motherboard shipment targets for 2011 @ DigiTimes
- Avira anti-virus labels itself as spyware @ The Register
- Linux 3.1 Enhances Sandy Bridge, Preps For Ivy Bridge @ Phoronix
- Hybrid PhysX Mod 1.05ff @ NGOHQ
- Final BlizzCon 2011 Coverage @ Legit Reviews
- Real World Labs And Sandberg Joint Contest
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | October 25, 2011 - 10:17 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows 8, webOS, touchpad, tablet, slate, hp
The HP Touchpad was tablet that ran HP's WebOS mobile operating system. It was also a tablet with an extremely short lifespan, one that was ended long before its time according to the sentiments of many enthusiasts. The tablet's demise was a casualty of the company's former CEO Léo Apotheker getting rid of HP's PC division, and it started going for fire sale prices only a few weeks after its initial release.
There may yet be hope for the tablet, however. According to Fox News, an HP employee has told them that a team within the company is playing around with the (not so) dead HP Touchpad tablets by replacing the WebOS operating system with Windows 8 Developer Preview.
It seems as though the idea of a Windows powered slate may be something that HP is willing to try out. Although slates nor convertible tablets have never really caught on (at least in the US) due to Windows not being the most touch friendly interface, with the rise in popularity of tablets and Microsoft beginning to put a bit more care into a touch friendly UI, HP may be weighing the odds of a Windows 8 powered slate computer. If; however, HP goes ahead with the previous plans to ditch the PC division, the idea of a HP Touchpad reincarnation may be moot anyway.
If the souce turns out to be true; however, there may be hope for a new HP Touchpad in the future sans WebOS. Do you think HP will go ahead with the plan to follow in the footsteps of IBM, or will it give its PC division and(/or) touchpad tablet line a second chance?
Subject: Mobile | September 14, 2011 - 03:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hp, hp touchpad, ubuntu
If you are like Scott and think that the cut rate price of the HP Touchpad is just too good to resist you might want to put on an OS that you know will still be around in a year or two. Techware Labs have written a guide on how you can install Ubuntu on your touchpad in addition to WebOS so you don't have to wipe out the Touchpad's original functionality. Make sure you back everything up however as you will be spliting the storage media into two partitions, one for WebOS and one for Ubuntu. Happy modding.
"You have your Touchpad in hand and are feeling adventurous, where do you go from here? Into the wide world of Linux of course! In this tutorial I walk you through how to install Ubuntu on your HP Touchpad so that it can run along side the existing WebOS operating system."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Kensington launches Ipad and Iphone security products @ The Inquirer
- Dell Vostro 3550 Review @ Tech-Reviews
- ASUS N53SV Laptop Review @ HardwareLOOK
- Sony VAIO S Series: All Day Consumer Computing @ AnandTech
- Asus G74SX-A2 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Evercool Battle Hero Review @ HardwareLOOK
- Enermax Aeolus Notebook Cooler Review @ HardwareLOOK
- Cooler Master NotePal U Stand Notebook Cooler @ Tweaktown
- Motorola XOOM Wi-Fi + Verizon Wireless Tablet PC Review @ Legit Reviews
- HANNspree HANNSpad 10.1" Android Tablet Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Lenovo K1 Honeycomb Tablet Review @ t-break
- Motorola Droid Bionic Hands-On Impression @ TechSpot
- Owning the stack: The legal war to control the smartphone platform @ Ars Technica
- Smartphone season has kicked in @ t-break
- Hornettek Vader Aluminum iPhone 4 Case Review @ ThinkComputers
- Otterbox Defender Series for iPhone 4 Review @ Tech-Reviews
- iPad App of the Week – Crimson: Steam Pirates @ t-break
- Apple iPhone 4 Sound Amplifier Review @ TechReviewSource
- LG Optimus 3D vs HTC Evo 3D head to head @ The Inquirer
- Samsung Galaxy S 2 (International) Review - The Best, Redefined @ AnandTech
- Motorola Droid Bionic - A Quick Preview @ AnandTech
- Thermaltake DH 202 Touch Review - HTPC with Touch Panel @ HardwareHeaven