TECH NOUS This is Personal

It’s not very often the media goes into frenzy over new technology product release, especially in this country. After all, product launches happen with monotonous regularity and we Kiwis prefer to aim much of our excitement at our favourite sporting codes.
But the recent press conference in Seoul, Korea to unveil HP’s first-ever global marketing campaign – which I was privileged to attend – had paparazzi-style appeal. As each presenter took to the stage, he or she was greeted by flurry of popping flash bulbs and raised handycams. And this was before any new products were revealed.
It would be easy for me to simply assume that the South Koreans, lovely people that they are, still get genuinely excited about new technology. But as the wraps came off the new products (to much fanfare), I could see that this was indeed significant release for HP, and its campaign theme, “The computer is personal again”, is indeed compelling one.
It is clear that Hewlett-Packard Asia Pacific had its eyes fixed firmly on the emerging mega-markets of India and China with this event. Amongst the 11 new notebook platforms and 17 new imaging and printing products (LaserJets, Office-jets and Scanjets) released, there were entry-level products specifically targeting the well-researched needs of consumers and businesses in these two countries.
And why wouldn’t they? These markets represent billions of dollars worth of potential sales.
The market dynamics and geographies of India and China require special approach. Margaret Ong, vice president HP business imaging & printing group, Asia Pacific/Japan, explained that the humid, non-air conditioned environments of such emerging markets need to be factored into products. This then benefits countries such as New Zealand as greater degree of robustness ultimately makes its way into the products we buy here (and you thought HP already had an excellent reliability rating).
The Seoul launch was an absolute standout, not just because of the well-executed programme but also for the powerful marketing message created by HP’s San Francisco advertising agency.
Manufacturers have allowed the PC to become just commodity, and this launch is move to personalise mass-produced product.
As result, HP’s new consumer notebooks, the Pavilion dv2000 Series Entertainment Notebook PC and Compaq Presario V3000 Series, both have remarkable new robust high-gloss finishes, called HP Imprint. This is advanced in-mould laminating technology with unique in-laid motif and scratch-resistant finish that leaves traditional paint process exteriors for dead. The subtle wave pattern on the Pavilion is said to conjure “a gamut of personal references such as Japanese Zen garden, the ocean’s waves, or sound waves”, while the Presario’s ‘digi-code’ imprint has “a minimalist feel” to match the fast-paced consumer lifestyle.
All very nice, and I can see these sleek silver and black creations – with their futuristic single-touch “capacitive buttons” (for launching media applications) – being big hit with notebook users around the world.
But now down to business. The nine new Intel-powered business notebooks displayed plenty of innovative new features to enhance security, ease of use, and reliability – from the ultra-portable HP Compaq nc2400 and 4400 series, through the mid-range nx6320, nc6400 and nx7400, and on up to the high performance 8400 and 9400 series. (All model series are to be released in New Zealand.)
Security features on HP’s latest business models (under the HP ProtectTools banner) include an all-in-one integrated key lock solution; multi-factor authentication; Drivelock technology that protects the hard drive from unauthorised access even if removed from the PC; plus new device access manager for controlling port access; disk sanitiser which erases data right down to bios level; and for the nc6400 model, privacy filter that narrows the viewing angle of the screen so people sitting either side of you – eg, on an aircraft – see just dark, blank screen.
New battery technology was also unveiled at Seoul. All-day computing is now possible with the 8-cell extended life battery and new 12-cell ultra capacity battery doubling and tripling battery life respectively.
On the reliability front, the liberal use of magnesium-alloy along with in-mould lamination takes care of the wear and tear. There’s also new 3D mobile data protection system – three-axis digital accelerometer that safely parks the hard disk when it senses sudden movement (as in fall) – and HP’s new backup and recovery manager provides simpler solution for data backup and recovery.
HP’s global campaign is off to flying start and it’s good to see that things are getting personal again.

• Glenn Baker is regular contributor to Management.
[email protected]

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