The Many Moods of Mobility

The seemingly endless stream of notebooks arriving on the market today reflects the simple fact that about the only thing mobile workers have in common is their mobility. Beyond that, their computing needs are as individual as, well, individuals.

Today, HP announced a portfolio of five different notebook series designed to appeal to all kinds of mobile workers — from frequent fliers who value lightweight portability, road warriors who demand high performance and anyone in between.

Ted Clark, HP’s senior vice-president and general manager, said in a public statement, “Mobile connectivity is a must have for today’s business professionals, but the means to achieve this varies between organizations and each individual.” HP’s goal, he added, is to provide business customers with “the widest range of mobile products at virtually every price point and performance level.”

As with any notebook series, each family offers a slew of hardware configuration options such as dual-core processors, integrated biometrics (i.e., fingerprint scanners), mobile broadband, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The company also offers power adapters and docking stations that work with any model within the five notebook series.

HP calls the business notebooks “Windows Vista capable,” a fairly ambiguous phrase. A closer look at the fine print doesn’t do much to clear things up: “This system may require upgraded and/or separately purchased hardware, drivers and/or software to take full advantage of Windows Vista functionality.” We think it’s fair to say that any computer you buy today will require some kind of upgrade to handle Vista — whenever the much-anticipated operating system arrives.

Here’s a listing of the main features within the different series including the base price and availability. For more information and detailed configurations, go to HP‘s Web site.

HP Compaq nc2400
HP designed this notebook with the most frequent fliers in mind. It claims that the nc2400 is the company’s thinnest and lightest business notebook with an integrated optical drive. The ultra-light notebook weighs in at less than three pounds and measures less than one inch tall. It also features 12.1-inch widescreen display, full-size keyboard and wireless connectivity options. An optional HP 2400 Series Docking Station offers port replication and cable management.
Base Price: $1,599
Availability: Mid-May

HP Compaq 4400
You can use this computer as either a notebook PC or as a tablet PC. HP designed the ultra-light 4400 to adapt to the way people work. It features dual-core processors, a 12.1-inch XGA display (HP offers an optional outdoor viewable panel), an integrated biometric fingerprint reader and a TPM security chip, which is designed to prevent unauthorized access to the notebook.
Base Price: $1,649
Availability: early June

HP Compaq nc6400
This widescreen notebook offers what HP calls modular mobile broadband capabilities — a feature that lets you upgrade to select future wireless networks (CDMA, EVDO or, coming later this year, UMTS/HSDPA) by changing out wireless modules. The nc6400 — a thin and light notebook — also features dual-core processors, a 14.1-inch widescreen display and 3D graphics.
Base Price: $1,549
Availability: Mid-May

HP Compaq nx7400
Aimed at people for whom budget ranks as a main concern, the nx7400 is designed to balance price, performance and mobility. It features dual-core processors, a 15.4-inch widescreen, and a lightweight, magnesium-alloy design.
Base Price: $749
Availability: Mid-May

HP Compaq 8400
Designed to provide desktop performance in a mobile package, the 8400 series offers dual-core processors, high-performance ATI graphics, a 15.4-inch widescreen with anti-glare and widescreen technology and a full-sized keyboard.
Base Price: $1,599
Availability: Mid-May

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of

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