HP’s New Work Center: Power, Style and Convenience

Back in May, HP and Microsoft teamed up — extending their already close relationship — to attempt to revolutionize the way business computers are designed. The result of the partnership is the “Athens” project, which is centered on building a new PC prototype that deeply integrates hardware and software.

The new products introduced this week are HP’s first steps toward fulfilling its vision of PC-making in the future. Randall Martin, HP’s PSG Commercial PC Design director, likened the development to the way the auto-making industry has changed over the years.

“At first, automobiles were just something that got you from one place to another,” Martin said, “then consumer expectations changed. Now, people want to drive in style and comfort, adding greater convenience to the way they travel. It’s a lot like that for computer makers today. It’s not just a matter of processing speed and capacity anymore, it’s about computing in a manner that integrates voice devices with data and video. But we’ve got clutter where we need convergence, and that’s what the HP Integrated Work Center is all about — power, style and convenience.”

The HP Integrated Work Center offers businesses the option of using an ultra-slim HP d530 desktop PC and a 17- or 15-inch flat panel monitor integrated into a single space-saving unit. The HP Desktop Access Center provides easy access to drive space and USB connections. It rests snuggly and securely under the Integrated Work Center, combining the communication functions of a user’s PC and phone in a single device that takes up less space than laptop computer.

Martin said HP went back to the drawing board to create this new, more efficient office workspace.

“We spent a great deal of time researching the user environment,” Martin said. “We looked at office workstations with the cables, phones and PDAs setup to synchronize with a PC. We researched the environment and focused on desktop ergonomics that need to be integrated into an efficient workspace in order to solve real-world business problems.”

Consequently, the HP Integrated Work Center and Desktop Access Center are designed to improve user comfort and help clear clutter from the desk, creating a more orderly, efficient work environment to help increase office productivity.

Flexible Components
The innovative design of the HP Integrated Work Center makes the average office sleek, sexy and space saving. HP’s Integrated Work Center consists of different components, the most interesting of which isn’t the CPU — it’s the flat panel display stand that costs just $99.

The entire stand swivels and allows users to easily turn the display panel 90 degrees to portrait orientation, as well as tilt and slide the panel vertically to allow for a variety of height adjustments. The versatile stand allows a 5-foot 2-inch employee to setup a comfortable line of sight with the screen as readily as a 6-foot 2-inch employee can — it’s nearly as flexible as a slinky, only built to be far more sturdy.

The stand also allows businesses to upgrade PCs and monitors separately — a far more cost-effective proposition than upgrading “all-in-one” PC and monitor designs. Designed for compatibility with the Video Electronics Standards Association’s flat panel mounting standard, users can switch from a 15-inch flat panel display to a 17-inch display by popping out four screws at the back of the stand.

Speaking of monitors, HP also released two new flat panel displays this week. Both the HP L1530 and HP L1730 are available as part of the HP Integrated Work Center or as stand-alone products. The monitors are designed for businesses that need high-quality, space-saving displays with maximum ergonomic adjustability. Priced at $329 and $449, respectively, the 15- and 17-inch monitors feature a slim, stylish design, as well as reduced power consumption, which is never bad news when it comes to operating costs.

Rounding out HP’s Integrated Work Center solution is the HP Compaq d530 ultra-slim business desktop computer. The d530’s slim form factor and powerful computing capabilities makes a natural fit with the space-efficient work center. Starting at $749, the HP Compaq d530 offers a variety of configurations. Businesses can choose from a range of processors — 2.2 GHz Intel Celeron to 3.2 GHz Intel Pentium 4 with HyperThreading — as well as various cache, memory and hard drive specifications.

But the computing capability of HP’s Integrated Work Center doesn’t stop at the CPU.

With four USB 2.0 ports, a flexible optical or hard drive bay, headset connection, speaker volume control and optional Bluetooth connectivity, the HP Desktop Access Center eliminates cumbersome cabling, further streaming the workspace. The HP Desktop Access Center also allows for easy access to ports to connect USB and audio devices such as digital cameras, HP portable drive key storage and Pocket PCs.

Priced at $99, the HP Desktop Access Center can be used with most flat panel monitors or in conjunction with the HP Integrated Work Center to provide easy desktop access to the connections and devices customers use most — creating more work space for users by allowing them to distance the PC from the work area. The Desktop Access Center also complements the L1530 and L1730 monitors, fitting securely under the monitor base with no additional desk space required.

Business customers can purchase an entire solution that includes the HP Integrated Work Center, HP Compaq Business Desktop d530 ultra-slim desktop and HP Desktop Access Center starting at an estimated U.S. street price of $1,257 with a 15-inch monitor or $1,377 with a 17-inch monitor. The products are scheduled to be available on Oct. 1 direct from HP or through authorized resellers.

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