Hewlett-Packard's top CES 2013 product announcement is about a display. That's right: Not a laptop, not a tablet, but a relatively pedestrian PC display. Now, perhaps, we can see why the company didn't rent any booth space in Las Vegas this year.
That HP considers its new Envy 27-inch IPS Monitor with Beats Audio (shown above) its marquee product for CES is likely a sign of the ongoing turmoil and uninspired product mix at the Palo Alto, California, tech giant.
The company also is announcing several new, low-cost laptops, portable media storage, and a streaming device called the HP Pocket Playlist.
It's not a portfolio designed to foster confidence in a company's innovation.
Eclectic mix or muddled mess?
HP's CES announcements seem like an odd mix for a company that desperately needs to position itself as an innovator in the PC space. Once you get beneath the admittedly elegant appearance, the monitors are all pretty standard fare.
HP isn't pushing resolution or pricing, although the broad support for better LCD panel technologies beyond TN LCD is welcome. The new laptops don't break new ground, either, other than price; although they are thinner and lighter than past low-end consumer laptops from HP.
The Pocket Playlist is probably the most intriguing device. By allowing time-shifting for multiple devices simultaneously, the Playlist is positioned to take advantage of consumers' increasing reliance on mobile devices for their content consumption. Collecting your content via the DVR without impinging on the precious data caps inherent in most mobile phones and tablets could be a winner, but the PlayLater app may require ongoing fees, depending on whose content you're recording.
Monitors lead the way
The $499, 27-inch Envy IPS Monitor is super-thin, which adheres to the overall Envy aesthetic, but the resolution is a pretty stock 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels (FullHD.) Users expecting a touch display from HP to better support Windows 8 will be disappointed; the Envy 27-inch display and other HP monitors that will be shown at CES lack multitouch support.
In addition to the Envy display, HP is announcing a line of Pavilion monitors, including the 22xi, 23xi, 25xi, and 27 xi desktop monitors. The new Pavilion monitors also use IPS panel technology, with wide viewing angles and improved color fidelity. All support FullHD resolution with the exception of the 20xi, which offers 1600-pixel-by-900-pixel support. The new monitors include VGA, HDMI, and DVI connectivity. Prices range from $130 to $340.
The final product in HP's desktop monitor line is the 24-inch x2401, which is an extremely thin display--thinner than the Envy 27--which uses MVA (multi-domain vertical alignment) LCD technology. The $249 x2401 is tuned for accurate colors and contrast when playing video content.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.